Here's The 2016 PTBOCanada.com Awesome List

Lots of amazing stuff happened in 2016 here in the Electric City and Kawarthas. In no particular order, here are 35 people, places and things that made this year fantabulous all around...

1. Lock 'n Paddle
At this epic Lock 'n Paddle in June at the Lift Lock (aka Lock 21) in Peterborough as part of National Canoe Day celebrations, an amazing 138 canoes and kayaks crammed into the Lift Lock, breaking the previous record of 101. It was an awesome community day. Let's fill both locks next year!

2. Coach Williams
When the co-founders of the Peterborough Huskies special needs hockey team were charged with fraud, rather than folding the team, Coach J-Boy Williams took it upon himself to save them—knowing how much this team meant to these special needs kids. He rallied a community behind them, rebranded the team to Electric City Maroon & White to give it a fresh start (the Petes lent them their practise jerseys while the new ones were being made), and helped save the Special Needs International Hockey tournament set for next March. Coach Williams has become not only a coach and mentor to these kids but a hero—and gives true meaning to being resilient in the face of adversity.

Dogs being looked after at Peterborough Airport hangar

Dogs being looked after at Peterborough Airport hangar

3. 59 Dogs From Big Trout Lake First Nation Arrives In Peterborough
In what was an amazing collaboration among many organizations, in early October a plane carrying 59 community dogs in search of new homes arrived at the Peterborough Airport from Big Trout Lake First Nation in an effort to help address the pet overpopulation concerns in that community. Upon arrival at the airport, the dogs were triaged by a team of volunteers from across the province, including veterinarians and veterinarian technicians.

4. Syrian Refugee Toboganning For The First Time
The above video of a Syrian Refuge toboganning on Armour Hill went viral for good reason. It gave hope to these refugees and countless others who have been displaced and are starting new lives here in Peterborough, Canada through the help of the community and wonderful organizations like New Canadians Centre and Safe Haven for Refugees. It also shows fun is a universal language.

Noble cause

Noble cause

5. Adam Noble
The Peterborough-based inventor leads the start-up Noblegen—an advanced biomaterials company dedicated to developing specialty microorganism-based products for a wide range of consumer and industry sectorsth.

"We see algae differently," he says. "We want to create a more sustainable future. We are going to change the way the world treats water and we want to do that right here in Peterborough."

Noble is a name you'll be seeing more and more in circles far and wide in the coming years.

Overhead view of Serena Ryder at Musicfest

Overhead view of Serena Ryder at Musicfest

6. Peterborough Musicfest's 30th Anniversary
Musicfest has become a huge part of Peterborough over the decades, drawing tourists and musicians from all around. Keifer Sutherland played there this year—their 30th anniversary season—and mentioned it on Live With Kelly.

Kiefer Sutherland pictured with PTBOCanada's Scott Arnold on the day he played Musicfest

Kiefer Sutherland pictured with PTBOCanada's Scott Arnold on the day he played Musicfest

About 121,000 attended this free festival this season. Musicfest was first launched in 1987—learn more about its amazing history here in our "30 Cool Tidbits About Peterborough Musicfest".

7. The Amazing Hidden Note At Chapter's
A Peterborough girl named Kiana was at Chapter's on Lansdowne Street in May when she made a neat discovery behind a book: an inspiring note (see above) that someone had left in a white envelope. It was an empowering message she will never forget, and one she plans to pay it forward.

8. Peterborough Double Rainbow
We know Peterborough is beautiful but with a double rainblow over it? Just wow. A stunning panoramic image over the downtown captured by this Instagram user was one of our fave photos of the year.

9. Luke Heard
The 27-year-old is well known in the community for his Halloween Haunted Houses which give back to charities. In October 2013, he was a hero, pulling a woman from a burning van in Peterborough. Heard is battling lung cancer, but his spirit, humour and positivity in his Facebook posts and Facebook Live videos is inspiring, teaching us to appreciate what we have and live in the moment. His favourite quote is this:

"Heroes didn't leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn't wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else's. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back."

The 3rd Floor in Innovation Cluster

The 3rd Floor in Innovation Cluster

10. 3rd Floor, VentureNorth Building
As Peterborough transforms itself into a city of innovation and entrepreneurship, the epicentre of that might just be the 3rd Floor of the creative economy hub VentureNorth building at the corner of King and George in downtown Peterborough. Inside, a bunch of young entrepreneurs with big dreams—of which can be realized from right here in the tech era—are being mentored by the Innovation Cluster. Basically, a whole generation of entrepreneurs and startups coming through Trent and Fleming and elsewhere can develop and stay right here in the city as we incubate and retain our talent.

OMG opening

OMG opening

11. Mohammad & Randa Alftih
A year ago, Mohammad and Randa Alftih made the harrowing decision to flee their home in war torn Aleppo, Syria, and move their family to Peterborough to start their lives over. Recently, the couple opened a new restaurant in downtown Peterborough called OMG (Oasis Mediterranean Grill). The family's resilience—and the community support—has been amazing to watch.

12. The Zoo gets a new Totem Pole
The original Totem Pole was erected in 1973 and was a fixture at the zoo but had to come down in 2014 due to damage by carpenter ants. But in October, there was a Totem Pole Re-Dedication Ceremony to celebrate the brand new totem pole that was put up as a continuing symbol of friendship between communities and an going symbol of the area's diverse heritage. It was hand-carved and painted by local artist Jody Paudash of Hiawatha First Nation, and will now create new memories for generations.

13. Brad Sinopoli
The Crestwood grad received the Outstanding Canadian player award in the Grey Cup, helping lead his Ottawa Redblacks to a dramatic 39-33 overtime victory in the Grey Cup game against the Calgary Stampeders. This picture of him will now be housed in the Peterborough Sports Hall of Fame for months to celebrate his accomplishment.

14. Terry Guiel
The Executive Director of Downtown Peterborough—aka Mr. Downtown—shows a tremendous passion for showcasing our beautiful downtown and continuing to innovate, whether it's through the rapidly expanding Peterborough Pulse event, the downtown Pokémon party, Win This Space and much more. There is no greater advocate for building a sustainable downcore than Terry.

Theo Fleury speaking at Landsberg & Friends event in Peterborough

Theo Fleury speaking at Landsberg & Friends event in Peterborough

15. An Evening With Landsberg & Friends
Over 450 people jammed into Trentwinds International Centre in Peterborough in November for an Intimate, special night called "An Evening With Landsberg and Friends" in support of Sick Not Weak and Dave Pogue's Team 55 Tackles Suicide Awareness. Celebrities such as Michael Landsberg, Theo Fleury, Jennifer Hedger and Clint Malarchuk spoke with raw honesty to the crowd about their mental health struggles in what was one of the most powerful mental health nights ever here or anywhere.

(Learn about the mental health resources available in the Peterborough area by visiting the Canadian Mental Health Association's local chapter here.)

Elwood: Rock star of local historians

Elwood: Rock star of local historians

16. Elwood Jones
To know where you're going, you have to know where you've been. And prominent local historican/archivist Elwood Jones follows this adage, documenting and archiving local history like no one else at Trent Valley Archives in Peterborough. Elwood's passion for local history shown through his books, pamphlets, articles, social media posts and other publications will ensure that this and future generations have something to look back on as a guide to moving forward.

17. Meg Murphy
The actress/comedian/writer/radio host added "documentary filmmaker" to her CV this year with her inspiring documentary Murphy's Law that captivated so many. The autobiographical doc chronicles Meg's journey as she retraces her father's 1973 solo bike journey through Ireland. The doc has screened at a film festival in Ireland among many other places, and is screening more in 2017.

Kind words on cup lid written to police officer

Kind words on cup lid written to police officer

18. Tim Hortons Note to Peterborough Police Officer
Small gestures go a long way, and it didn't go unrecognized by a police officer who tweeted thanks to the awesome staff on Crawford Dr. for writing "Have a safe shift".

Restored merry-go round

Restored merry-go round

19. GE Peterborough
General Electric in Peterborough originally donated the Merry-Go-Round to the Riverview Park and Zoo in 1986, and have refurbished it several times over the years. They did so again for free this year, showing once again how this iconic business continues to give back to community.

20. Gabe Pollock
Pollock is one of the finest longform journalism writers in Peterborough—Exhibit A: his recent profile on Roboteyes—producing terrific pieces and reviews on music and culture for Electric City Magazine.

21. Citiots
Peterborough without the Citiots is like NBC without Saturday Night Live. Every few months, this brilliant improv troupe—which has become an institution in the city—plays to sold-out crowds at the Gordon Best Theatre on Hunter Street and it's magical, hysterical fun.

22. Stop For Turtles signs
In April, someone created excellent signs along Mount Pleasant Rd. in the Cavan Swamp Wildlife area to encourage motorists to watch out for turtles. We loved it.

The Hawk, Kristofferson & Lightfoot

The Hawk, Kristofferson & Lightfoot

23. That Magical Session On Stoney Lake
In May, music legends Ronnie "The Hawk" Hawkins, Gordon Lightfoot and Kris Kristofferson gathered at The Hawk's sprawling Hawkstone Manor Estate overlooking majestic Stoney Lake in the Kawarthas for a secret recording session in the Hawkstone studio. Many local musicians—including the Weber Brothers, James McKenty from The Spades, Melissa Payne and Karl "Kawartha Karl" Lawson—were there. The secret project was later unveiled to be "Me & Bobby McGee".

24. Faceless Doll Project
Students from St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School and St. Peter's and Holy Cross Catholic secondary schools took part in an outreach Thursday to learn about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. They heard first-hand accounts about the issues from members of Curve Lake First Nation before taking part in the Faceless Doll Project, crafting hundreds of felt dolls to represent those voiceless missing and murdered women. The students learned this is a Canadian issue, not an Aboriginal issue.

25. Underwater Dining At The Lift Lock
We were part of a beta experiential tourism experiment called "Underwater Dining" at the historic Lift Lock. Put on by Peterborough & The Kawarthas Tourism with the Canoe Museum and the Lift Lock, the Voyageur canoe ride, tour inside the Lift Lock and meal under the lock were a hit. We hope to see this program launched to tourists from around the world in 2017.

Grant Jr. being presented with a key to the city by Mayor Bennett (Photo by Scott Arnold)

Grant Jr. being presented with a key to the city by Mayor Bennett (Photo by Scott Arnold)

26. John Grant Jr.
The lacrosse legend—who has been playing in the Lakers system since he was 4 years old—retired from the Peterborough Lakers, and was given a key to the city. Grant Jr. won five Mann Cups as a member of the Lakers, and won MVP twice. John, thank you. You rock.

Bobcaygeon loving the Hip. Photo by Kawartha Adventure Rentals

Bobcaygeon loving the Hip. Photo by Kawartha Adventure Rentals

27. Boycaygeon Rocking Out To The Hip
11.7 million Canadians watched CBC's three-hour broadcast of Tragically Hip's last show—and that included thousands of people on main street Bobcaygeon—the place from the Hip's beloved song "Bobcaygeon".

28. Peterborough Chamber
In the modern era, the Chamber shows relevance and currency with its all-star team, use of social media, advocacy for businesses, and events ranging from Breakfast Club, Lunch Box Learning, PBX and Power Hour to its recently launched Next Level PTBO that features inspiring people and businesses. The Chamber's innovation and approach to strengthening business is not going unnoticed, as they won two National Awards this year at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce held in Regina, Saskatchewan.

29. Jim and Jodie Mulder
The Mulders created and have run the Peterborough Zoo Fun Run for the past seven years with their kids and countless others, raising approximately $20,000 for Riverview Park & Zoo.

Mya

Mya

30. Mya Pare
The 9-year-old filled her giant Crayola bank with donations to the amazing YWCA, which helps so many women and children in need in the community. Her Mom, Nicole—Associate, Annual Giving and Events at YWCA in Peterborough—says Mya often heard her talking about all of the amazing stuff donors make possible in the community, so Mya acted upon it.

Cop Shop

Cop Shop

31. 10th Annual Cop Shop
For the 10th straight year, a Cop Shop event was held at Lansdowne Place Mall, where police officers are paired up with kids who were chosen by their school based on good school citizenship, school, volunteer or academic achievement. They were picked up at their schools in a limo courtesy of Welsh Limousine, given a $200 gift card courtesy of Lansdowne Place and shop with the police officer they are teamed up with. For many of the officers, this event is a highlight of their year.

Sylvia

Sylvia

32. Syliva Copeland
The St. Catherine Catholic Elementary School teacher won the 2016 Canadian Family Teacher Award, recognized for her kind and loving nature. Her teaching philosophy focuses on encouraging her students to take risks, be charitable, and to love and respect all. Her caring nature is also demonstrated through her annual fundraisers where she raises awareness and foreign aid funds for children threatened by malaria.

33. The Misfits Band At PRHC
PRHC has a volunteer staff band that plays for patients once a month. It's made up of people from departments such as Building Services, Physiotherapy, Social Work, Laboratory, Mental Health and Finance. They bring joy to patients—many of whom respond to music even when other memories are gone, easing their anxiety and relaxing them.

Bottom row: Tilly pictured second from left at Parliament Hill

Bottom row: Tilly pictured second from left at Parliament Hill

34. Tilly Stimpson
Tilly was one of 25 children from across Canada selected to attend Kids for a Cure Lobby day at Parliament Hill. During her two day visit there, Tilly met with Members of Parliament and Senators to show them the face of diabetes, share her personal journey with them about living with diabetes, and ask them to invest in clinical trials to help find a cure. The Tilly family has raised more than $20,000 for JDRF over the past five years with the tremendous support of the giving community in Peterborough.

Gotta Have Faith

Gotta Have Faith

35. Faith Dickinson
When she was only 9 years old, Lakefield's Faith Dickinson created Cuddles for Cancer, which makes signature fleece tie blankets for cancer patients going through treatments—hoping they provide some comfort, warmth and love. Over the past four and a half years, the 14-year-old Grade 9 student at TASSS in Peterborough has now made over 2,500 Cuddle blankets for adults and children around the world.

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