Ace Burpee's Top 100 Most Fascinating Manitobans for 2016: Part 1
Meet our province's incredible people — as selected by Ace Burpee, Metro Winnipeg columnist and radio DJ.
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I hope you enjoy the 2016 list of fascinating Manitobans. I love putting this together. It takes hours and hours, but it’s amazing to see how many incredible people there are to choose from. All the best and thank you to the names below for being you and calling Manitoba home.
100. Heather Daymond: She started Shut Your Pie Hole (delicious pies in a jar) just two years ago with a $4,000 income tax return. 2016 saw her hanging with the A-listers at the Emmys, and now literally 1000s of pies are being ordered every week. Another awesome Manitoba success story, with many chapters still to be written.
99. Kael McKenzie: Kael was named a judge for the Province of Manitoba, and his appointment to the bench was a first for us. He is the first transgender judge in our history. Congratulations, Judge McKenzie.
98. Eric Olek: From selling his Friday Knights brand T-shirts out of the truck of his car for five years, Eric’s hustle is paying off. Friday Knights can now be found in 30 Below the Belt stores in Canada, and they have their own shop on Graham Avenue. Fantastic stuff.
97. Amanda Kinden: I remember I was hosting an event years ago, I want to say it for the Green Action Centre, and they served these cookies. They were pretty much the best cookies I’d ever had, and I was told they were also vegan. The genius who made them was Amanda Kinden, who now blows minds on the daily at Oh Doughnuts. They’re as awesome as everyone says they are. Oh Doughnuts is at 326 Broadway.
96. John Kendle: A long-time music journalist and just an all-around great dude, there’s no chance John would have known what was coming when he rolled up to the what will likely be The Tragically Hip’s final Winnipeg show this past September at MTS Centre. “John Kendle, he got us our first gig. We came here, we got fired,” Downie told the packed crowd. “We were looking at six nights of gigs gone.” Downie said that the local writer wrote a letter to the paper the next day saying he liked the gig. “So all these people in Winnipeg rallied together and hired us for the next six nights,” Downie said. “It kept us going or we were heading back to Kingston and, you know, becoming the accountants that we always dreamed to be. So thank you very much sir.” Just an awesome moment.
95. Susan Thompson: A pretty epic year for the former 40th mayor of Winnipeg. The first female mayor in our history was invested into the Order of Manitoba, released a book (I read it, it’s very good), and the Administration Building at city hall was renamed in her honour.
94. Jaimie Isaac: She’s the Winnipeg Art Gallery’s Aboriginal Curatorial Resident, and much like the WAG in general, she’s crushing it. Check out Boarder X & Vernon Ah Kee on right now to see her latest vision come to life. It’s awesome.
93. Chantal van Landeghem: She’s the reigning Pan Am Games 100m freestyle champion and record holder. This past summer, the former Vincent Massey Collegiate student was a huge part of ending a decades-old drought for Canada in swimming. Van Landeghem won bronze for our country in the women’s 4 x 100m freestyle relay, the first medal in that event in 40 years.
92. Patti Kusturok: One of the most decorated fiddlers our province has ever produced. She’s won everything from multiple Canadian Junior to North American fiddle championships, and this year was inducted into North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame. She’s mega smooth and can rip.
91. Marcy Markusa: She’s the host of the popular CBC radio morning show, and a Women of Distinction recipient. She’s cool, funny, and willing to lend her voice to many in the community who could use a champion. Pure class and very talented.
90. Ruth Ann Marrie: Known around the world for her pioneering discoveries of the impact of coexisting health conditions in people with multiple sclerosis. This year, Dr. Marrie was named one of the 100 most powerful women in Canada.
89. Victoria Tachinski: A ridiculous year for Victoria. In June she ran a 2:03:58 in the 800m at a track meet in Nashville. That’s faster than any Canadian youth in history. She now holds multiple indoor and outdoor Canadian youth records, has represented Canada internationally at the Under 20 Worlds, and recently the 17-year-old from Vincent Massey Collegiate committed to Penn State University to continue her career. She will be heard from again.
88-82. Zach Vasas, Ryan Domino, Jerome Vitug, Deven San Miguel, Nick Kingsenamongkhol, Raiden Ellis Leung and Robert Esposito: Mr. Esposito is the coach, and the rest of the names make up the team. That team being “Stack OverFlow”, students in Sisler High Schools’ Cyber Academy. Stack OverFlow outperformed almost 4,000 other Canadian and U.S. teams to be the only Canadian qualifier to compete in Baltimore at resolving cyber security vulnerabilities. The work being done at the Sisler Cyber Academy is literally world class. Amazing program.
81. Charles Bazilewich: He is the creator of the Sisler Network and Cyber Security Team, so is therefore directly responsible for the names above this post. He also received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence this past May, one of only 10 Canadian educators named.
80. Diane Redsky: She is the executive director of the Ma Mawi Wi Chi Itata Centre, and this year was one of six Canadian women honoured with the Governor General’s Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case. The award commemorates five women who in 1929 fought to change the constitution to recognize women as persons.
79. Dr. Frank Plummer: One of the finest minds in the province, Plummer is the 2016 recipient of the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award, only one of which is handed out every year. The award is given to a Canadian who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science. He received the award for “his groundbreaking research in Africa in understanding HIV transmission and his leadership role at the Canadian National Microbiology Lab working in a pivotal role with SARS, influenza, and Ebola epidemics.”
78. Shane Dyck: In 2013, Dyck was given a 1 per cent chance of ever walking again after a motorcycle crash left him with 28 broken bones and the loss of five litres of blood. With a spine held together by four metal rods and 22 bolts, he not only walked again, but walked himself into the gym. Less than three years after the near-paralyzing crash that left him in a coma for weeks, Shane Dyck competed in the Manitoba Amateur Bodybuilding provincials this past March. Incredible.
77. Perla Javate: She is the president of the Philippine Heritage Council of Manitoba, a teacher, the current Filipino community liaison officer for the Winnipeg School Division, and much more. She’s a busy woman, and this year was honoured at RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards. Congratulations Perla.
76-74. Andrew Parkes, Alex Ethans, and Maciek Hunek: The first letter in their last names make up the e, p and h in EPH Apparel, and what they’re doing is working. Providing custom tailored suits at fair prices, EPH Apparel saw a gap in the market and pounced. The U of M Asper School grads hold down a space on Garry Street downtown, and now employ around 30 people. Growth is up more than 1,000 per cent over five years, good enough for top spot on Profit 500’s 2016 list of fastest growing Winnipeg companies. I love the hustle.
73-71. Sandra, Peter, and Laura Biesheuvel: Five-year-old Laura just finished her year as the official Champion Child for the Children’s Hospital of Manitoba. She’s just the most adorable little girl, and to be in her presence makes life better. Laura was born suffering from an intracranial hemorrhage and an extra fold in the brain. Brain surgery and numerous transfusions followed, and she is now happy and healthy. As parents of a champion child, Sandra and Peter were gracious with their time in sharing their story for the benefit of all children now and in the future who will require the services of our amazing Children’s Hospital.
70. Kierra Fogg: Kierra is the founder of Little Box of Rocks. They’re essentially bouquets, but instead of flowers, you send rocks. It turns out people really love rocks. More specifically, meaningful crystals and personalized notes of thanks or inspiration. Barely a couple of years in, it’s blowing up. Shout-outs online from the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Cameron Diaz don’t happen for every new business, but when it does, it can mean big things. Keep it going Kierra. Love it.
69. Laura Unruh: Just 13 years old, Laura is already one of Manitoba’s most accomplished Scottish Highland dancers ever. She repeated as the Canadian champion this year, won the USA Open Championships, the Commonwealth Championships, and is focused now on the ultimate goal: World Champion. As humble and dedicated as they come. All the best to you Laura.
68. Matthew Corrin: You know those amazing, healthy fast-food places called Freshii that have popped up all over Winnipeg? They are the brain-child of Winnipegger Matt Corrin, Freshii CEO. He started with one location called Lettuce Eatery, and now the new brand has more than 100 locations between North America, Europe, and Central and South America... with more expansion — potentially a lot more — on the way soon. A true success story.
67. Steven Onotera: You must check out his YouTube channel. This dude is awesome. He can be found at samuraiguitarist. He’s a ridiculously gifted musician who was just recently named one of 15 creators to participate in YouTube NextUp Canada. He’ll receive a grant from YouTube to purchase new equipment in addition to participating in a five-day creator camp at YouTube Space Toronto. Again, check him out.
66. Abel Dawit: A while back, a tweet from Winnipeg (courtesy of Loizza Aquino, who has been on this list) starting blowing up. The tweet was simply a dude singing acapella for about 30 seconds. Minds were blown. The voice belonged to Abel, a young Winnipegger with the most incredible voice and a massive future. His soundcloud stuff is here: soundcloud.com/abelrahttps://soundcloud.com/abelra
65-64. Zoey & Zane Espayos: Dubbed the “Hamiota wonder twins” they survived a deadly genetic blood disorder that required blood transfusions in the womb and for the first year of their lives. After one year, an International donor database found a match for the twins in California. Judiel Ennis was the match, and after the required one year of mandated anonymity, she reached out to the family from Los Angeles. Ennis’ employer offered to fly the entire Espayos family down from Manitoba, where the twins and their family were able to meet the woman face-to-face who saved their life. Zoey and Zane are now three years old and doing well. Amazing story.
63. Charcoal Collaborative: Daniel Gurevich, Sarah Gurevich, and Brett Howe are the team responsible for making Winnipeg’s Le Burger Week pretty much the greatest week of the year. They got 59 different restaurants on board this year, and burger week was nothing short of epic. Shout out to the restaurants for crushing it.