The Empire Club of Canada’s Nation Builder of the Year Award wasn’t awarded to a specific person this year—instead, the honour went to all of Canada’s front-line workers as a whole. From doctors and nurses to grocery workers, delivery drivers and more, the award ceremony paid tribute to all the front-line workers who have kept the country going during the pandemic.
The award recognizes an individual, group or organization that has shown “outstanding leadership in bringing Canadians together to build a stronger, more unified Canada.”
Politicians such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and Toronto Mayor John Tory spoke at this year’s virtual event, along with Canadian celebrities including film director Atom Egoyan and opera singer Charlotte Siegel, football star Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, and many more.
Trudeau thanked Canada’s front-line workers for “going above and beyond for Canadians across the country. I’m talking about all of our essential workers who have stepped up and put themselves at risks to keep our hospitals operating, food on our grocery shelves and our towns and cities moving.”
To pay tribute to grocery workers specifically, Empire president and CEO Michael Medline was on hand. “Front-line heroes are the rightful choice to claim this year’s Nation Builder award from the Empire Club,” said Medline. “I’m honoured to recognize and thank everyone on the front lines in Canada’s grocery industry. This year, all grocery stores were faced with an immense challenge, and the heroes in grocery retail rose to the occasion.”
Presented at a virtual event on Dec. 10, this was the second annual Nation Builder of the Year Award. The inaugural award went to the Toronto Raptors, who were celebrated with a large in-person ceremony in Toronto last December.