Tourism Industry Awards of Excellence


Stay tuned for finalists to be announced in the Fall.

2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Winners

The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) is proud to announce Guy Lamarche and Ian McMillan as the recipients of the 2019 Tourism Industry Award of Excellence’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Their exceptional contributions to Ontario’s tourism industry are vast, and although individually they have each done so much for the tourism industry, collectively they have been unstoppable.

The careers of Lamarche and McMillan have been linked since they first met in 1983 and ever since they have been collaborating to promote Northern Ontario as a destination of choice. After being the youngest person hired in Ontario in an executive capacity under the Ontario Travel Association Program, Lamarche has been taking the tourism industry by storm. Guy’s strategic marketing plan and programs have not only led to an increased ridership on Northlander, Little Bear and Polar Bear Express, but his vision and success of a Kayak Festival in Timmins has been a template for others to use in the development of similar events around the region. In his current role as Manager of Tourism and Events with the City of Timmins, Guy has re-branded the City of Timmins as a must-see outdoor adventure destination, causing four new national brand hotels to open their doors in the city.

Over the course of his expansive career, McMillan has celebrated many successes and built strong economies in Northern Ontario. Bringing a passion to everything that he does, Ian continues to be a champion for Northern Ontario internationally and at his current role as International Marketing Specialist for Destination Northern Ontario. Whether it was promoting attractions like the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Museum or the Agawa Canyon Tour Train, helping to implement one of Ontario’s earliest Destination Marketing Fees which led directly to major investments in sports tourism infrastructure, or continuing to press CN Rail to invest in the Tour Train and helping it become a Canadian Signature Experience, Ian has a verifiable history of success.

Tourism Innovator of the Year

Recognizes an organization or individual that created a new innovative product, policy or service to promote and enhance tourism in their local community, region or the province of Ontario.

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Tourism Event of the Year

Presented to a festival or event that exemplifies industry best practices in all aspects of its operation. Entries are open to many different types of events: cultural, historical, musical, arts, sporting, culinary, literary, amusement, general interest, etc.

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Tourism Champion of the Year

Given to an individual who embodies the spirit of tourism in Ontario. This person should be directly involved with the industry (as an employee, business owner, volunteer, advocate, etc.) and be able to give evidence of their contributions.

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Tourism Employer of the Year

Recognizes an organization that has developed an admirable reputation as a great place to work, and that has established itself as an upstanding example of Ontario’s tourism industry.

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Sustainable Tourism Award

Recognizes an organization, individual or initiative that has made a viable and maintainable contribution to the practice and promotion of sustainable tourism in Ontario.

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Accessible Tourism Award

Acknowledges an organization that operates an outstanding accessible hospitality and tourism business that complies with Ontario Accessibility standards and is recognized by employees and customers as a leader in providing an inclusive experience for all visitors. Areas of interest include the provision of accessible service, employment, built environment and accessible information and communications.

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Indigenous Tourism Award

Recognizes an organization, individual or experience that has demonstrated a commitment to the development and promotion of authentic, cultural Indigenous experiences for visitors to Ontario.


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