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Our annual Women of Distinction Awards are designed to celebrate the achievements of women and give them a platform to share their stories in a way that empowers, inspires and motivates others to learn, achieve and participate. 

Women of Distinction Awards are presented locally by YWCA’s across Canada to recognize the leadership of women who contribute to the development and well-being of other women and to the overall improvement of the community.  Women of Distinction Awards are recognized across Canada as one of the most prestigious awards for women.  We reinstated these awards in 2015, held in March to coincide with International Women’s Day.  

Nominations are now open for the 2018 Women of Distinction Awards! For more information, click here!

Interested in sponsoring the 2018 Women of Distinction Awards? To view our sponsorship package, click here!


Women of Distinction Categories

  • Young Woman of Distinction - This woman, aged 18 to 30, is already making significant contributions to her community. She demonstrates leadership, maturity, innovation and inspires others to follow her example. 
  • Mentorship & Education - This woman guides, teaches, and supports others to grow and to attain the skills and success required to make a difference in the world. She inspires, encourages, and leads by example. 
  • Arts & Culture - This woman enriches lives through her contributions to the arts and cultural activities of our community. She plays a key role in ensuring our continued rich and vibrant artistic and cultural heritage. 
  • Wellness & Active Living - This woman directs significant energies to the well-being of people in her life and/or community. She provides leadership in fields relating to physical, spiritual, and/or mental well-being. 
  • Community & Social Development - This woman is helping to build a strong community by making positive change and advocating for enhanced quality of life for all, including those who face disadvantages/challenges. 
  • Public Affairs - This woman has shown leadership in the field of public service, either as an elected official or a public servant. She has shown commitment to public excellence and to improving the life of citizens. 
  • Business - This woman has achieved successes in the corporate or entrepreneurial arenas. She is an innovator and has contributed to a thriving business/industry and the economic vitality of our community. 
  • Lifetime Achievement - This woman, aged 60 or more, has made significant contributions to her community in various ways over the course of her life. She has shown exemplary commitment, courage, and leadership and her wisdom and example is an inspiration to others. 

We are proud to announce the recipients for the 2017 Women of Distinction Awards! 

Top left to right- Ann McCann (Mentorship and Education), Gail Hickey (Business), Heather Modlin (Community and Social Development), Joan Dawson (Public Affairs). Bottom left to right- Linda Ross (Lifetime Achievement), Lindsey Hynes (Wellness & Active Living), Margaret Walsh Best (Arts & Culture), Sarah Brown (Young Woman of Distinction).

To learn about all of the inspiring 2017 nominees, click here.


Past Recipients

Women of Distinction 2016                              Women of Distinction 2015

Mackenzie Dove (Young Woman of Distinction)                                              Dr. Fern Brunger

Holly Foley (Wellness & Active Living)                                                              Rosemary Hedderson

Clara Rendell (Public Affairs)                                                                              Kyra Rees

Jillian Hand  (Mentorship & Education)                                                             Joan Aucoin

Helen Murphy (Community & Social Development)                                        Lois Brown

Andrea Maunder (Business)

Ruth Lawrence (Art & Culture)

To learn about all of the amazing 2016 nominees, click here

Women of Distinction 2002

Elizabeth Penashue

Deborah Fry

Karen Alexander

Zoiey Cobb

Women of Distinction 2003

Dorothy Robbins

Linda Rimsay

Lucy Stoyles

Candace Critch

Women of Distinction 2000

Laura Jackson

Debbie Powers

Grace Sparkes

Lisa Saunders

Women of Distinction 2001

Susan Shiner

Shannie Duff

Melba Rabinowitz

Krysta Rudofsky

Women of Distinction 1998

Margo Reid

Susan Knight

Debbie Prim

Women of Distinction 1999

Andrea Gillies

Norah Browne

Carol Devine

Women of Distinction 1996

Elizabeth Davis

Marie White

Marcella Gregory

Women of Distinction 1997

Shirley Newhook

Donna Jeffrey

Barbara Barrett

Jacinta Sheppard

Women of Distinction 1994

Susan Capps

Nancy Creighton

Dorothy Riach

Women of Distinction 1995

Jane Green

Paula Buckle

Marilyn Pike