Awards of Excellence presented by Digby area board of trade

John DeMings
Published on June 29, 2014

Digby and Area Board of Trade continues to grow. Started 10 years ago, this year’s gala dinner on June 23 presented awards in 11 categories in which 64 businesses, individuals and non-profits received a total of 173 nominations.

Some received multiple nominations and many were nominated in several categories.

Nominations were received from the community and traveling public, with the largest number of nominees in hospitality and customer service.

Municipal Affairs Minister Mark Furey was guest speaker at the dinner in Digby Hall at the Pines Golf Resort and Spa.

Categories and winners were:


Hospitality: Graham’s Pioneer Retreat

For eight of the last nine years, Graham’s has been nominated by guests for their exemplary service to the travailing public. Nominators stress that the accommodations a comfortable, clean and incredibly peaceful, but they all insist that the experience although wonderful would not be the same without the gracious presence of their hosts. One nominator put it very clearly that he had sent the same nomination on two previous years and implored us to get it right this year.

Tourism Excellence: Bay Ferries Ltd.

Through all kinds of weather, our aging Princess has traveled the water highway to Saint John. Said one nomination: “Through adversity and uncertainly, the service has continued to office this vital route between the city of Saint John and Digby,” and another stated the reason he decided to settle in Digby had more to do with the hospitality he was offered on the ferry than anything else.

Community contribution (business): Digby Subway

Nominators were very clear that they felt that Mike Bartlett and Subway were underappreciated by the community of Digby. Mike has been active in many voluntary associations including the fire department. and has served on town council for many years. One nominator was overwhelmed by the number of charitable and worthy cause that receive donations from Subway.

Community contribution (non-profit): Transport De Clare

Founded in 1996, Transport de Clare was the first non-profit, community‑based transportation service in Nova Scotia. Based in the Municipality of Clare, Transport de Clare now operates two divisions, comprising all of Digby County. The service helps folks who have no other option to run necessary errands and in many cases on a non-profit or profoundly reduced rate.

Ian Russell Entrepreneur: Digby Print & Promo

Three of the businesses that owner Rick Foote has helped put promotional material together for were sincere in their assertions that they were successful because he helped them make it happen. His ‘Spring into Summer’ event has opened doors and made all of us aware of how vibrant our business community is. Spring into Summer is a premier Buy Local Event.

Customer service: Croft Care Ltd.

Croft Care provides coincidental in-home care for seniors and disabled individuals. This newly established Digby business had already made a difference in the lives of so many. Nominators spoke of the kind compassionate service provided by staff and executive director Dr. Tina Watson.

Environmental Awareness Award: Pizza Delight

It is obvious that we have some real issues in our environment and that we need more businesses to make the phenomenal effort that Pizza Delight has made to ensure appropriate disposal of waste from their business operation. This was recognized by Waste Check, but the board was given this information as well from another source.

NSBI Trophy for Business Excellence: Shoppers Drug Mart, Digby

Health care has challenges in Nova Scotia, but one underappreciated professional group are our pharmacists. Digby had many folks who have complex health needs remark that without the counseling and guidance of the Pharmacy team, they would be lost.

Export achievement: Acadian Seaplants Ltd.

The company has five marine plant processing plants in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island and operates a seasonal rockweed harvest in Maine. Acadian Seaplants is the largest independent marine plant processing company in North America and recognized globally as a technically superior leader in its diverse niche markets.

Rising Star business award: Thian Carman

Thian, who lives in Barton, is the youngest registered farmer in Nova Scotia, has cracked the code to chickens laying bigger eggs: classical music. His project won first place overall and snagged the agricultural award at a regional high school science fair in Yarmouth, and he represented the province at a national competition in Windsor, Ont., May 10‑17 where he won silver.

Life Achievement: Tom O’Neil

Tom O’Neil spent the better part of 40 years growing and running one of the largest seafood operations in the Digby area, and has also supported the business community by sitting on a variety of local boards over the years, most recently as one of the founding members of the Digby Harbour Port Association. He was instrumental in the acquisition of the wharf and provided a lot of support with his own staff in the years leading up to the association taking over the port.