Ace Burpee's Top 100 Most Fascinating Manitobans for 2016: Part 2
More of our province's incredible people — as selected by Ace Burpee, Metro Winnipeg columnist and radio DJ.
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This is the second part of my 2016 list of fascinating Manitobans — I hope you enjoy meeting these people. Again, all the best and thank you to the names below for being you and calling Manitoba home.
62. Skylar Park: She earned her black belt in taekwondo at age 7. Fast forward 10 years, and the Winnipeg teen is now a world champion. She claimed the title at the World Taekwondo Junior Championships this year in Burnaby, was also named female MVP of the entire tournament, and has her sights set on the 2020 Olympic games.
61-60. Andrea and Paul Tetrault: You’ve all seen their creativity at one point or another in Winnipeg from various billboards or other campaigns. The pair run Tetro Design, and their stuff is amazing. This year, Canada Post unveiled a commemorative stamp on International Women’s Day to honour the 100-year anniversary of women’s suffrage. Andrea and Paul were chosen to design the stamp, and they nailed it.
59. Danielle Sicotte: Sicotte, 22, founded the University of Winnipeg chapter of Jack.org, a national network of young people working to end the stigma of mental illness. In October, she was one of 19 Canadians invited to speak on that same subject with William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
58. Amber Balcaen: Amber, 24, made history this year as the first Canadian woman ever to win a NASCAR-sanctioned race. She’s a great person and her family is super cool and supportive, and she’ll continue to chase her race dreams in North Carolina.
57. Kienan Lafrance: He started his football career as a Sturgeon Heights Collegiate Husky, then he was a Manitoba Bison, now he’s a Grey Cup champion. Lafrance was a key part of the Ottawa Redblacks offence that knocked off the massively favoured Calgary Stampeders in Grey Cup 104. He’s also a great dude with an incredible work ethic. He deserves it. Congrats pal.
56. Kyle Monkman: This. Dude. Is. Smart. He won the University of Manitoba’s open mathematics competition, has a 4.33 GPA in electrical engineering, scored near the top of national math competitions the past two years and people are noticing. Kyle is the 2016 recipient of the Manitoba Aboriginal Youth Achievement Award in Senior Academics. Yeah, no kidding. A bright young man. For good measure, he also plays guitar in the U of M Jazz Band.
55. Bernadette Smith: A strong, passionate voice both in our province and nationally for pursuing justice for Canada’s murdered and missing indigenous women. Since her sister Claudette went missing in 2008, Bernadette has remained one of the leading voices in the country on the subject. She is a 2016 recipient of The Order of Manitoba, and a beautiful soul.
54-53. Charla Smeall & Chandra Kremski: Both are great champions of local makers, artisans, farmers, and other small Manitoba businesses. They’ve made the Third + Bird Christmas Market into a massive event providing an exceptional platform to showcase, sell, and grow ideas and businesses.
52-51. Amie & Johanna Seier: They’re cousins, and they’re both as motivating and inspiring as it gets when it comes to fitness. Amie has an ability to somehow make cardio fun, and Johanna has built a huge network online supporting and motivating women in fitness. Keep it up. This stuff works.
50. Mary Beth Taylor: One of the most passionate, positive and tireless philanthropists in Winnipeg. Be it raising money, volunteering her time, or lending her extensive knowledge to an initiative, Taylor does it all. She was the 2016 recipient of Outstanding Professional Fundraiser Award at the Manitoba Philanthropy Awards. Keep being you, Mary Beth.
49. Bradley Keefe: I love this story. After three third-place finishes and two second place ones in 13 tries, Keefe finally won the Manitoba Marathon. “For the rest of my life, this day, which a lot of people will forget, I will never forget this, even when I’m very old.” Keefe said. I love it.
48. Gordon McPhee: A farmer from Dauphin, he is heralded as a zero-tillage pioneer in Manitoba. He’s been lauded over the years for championing soil preservation, and this year was inducted into the Manitoba Agriculture Hall of Fame.
47. Mike Keane: Not one team in hockey used a draft pick on Mike Keane. All he did was go on to play over 1,100 NHL games, another 440 in the AHL, captain the Montreal Canadiens, and win three Stanley Cups. This year, Mike was inducted into the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame. He’s a beauty.
46. Lindsay Shearer Nelko: Born, raised and trained in Winnipeg, Lindsay has put together an incredible career in dance and choreography. She’s represented Canada internationally in dance, choreographed the dance on Taylor Swift’s Red tour, Fox’s So You Think You Can Dance, X Factor, and tons more. She’s killing it.
45. Matt Reimer: A Killarney-area farmer, Matt was the winner of the best new invention award at Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon. He (Reimer Robotics) invented a self-driving tractor. He took the auto-pilot out of a radio-controlled drone and installed it in his tractor, which he uses to pull his grain cart at harvest. He could harrow and swath at the same time as combining and said he had his most productive fall ever. So cool.
44. Romi Mayes: One of the hardest working, most talented songwriter/musician/artists we’ve ever been lucky enough to claim as a Manitoban. She’s just freaking awesome. A nod this year as Blues Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards was a no-brainer, with all due respect to the other nominees. Go see her live. You will not be disappointed. I guarantee it.
43. Tyler Harper: Winnipeg’s Citizen Equity Awards are given out every year to those 15 to 24 years of age in the spirit of building a harmonious, vibrant, multicultural, and inclusive society. Tyler was the senior achiever recipient this year. Arriving fairly recently to Winnipeg from Redsucker Lake First Nation in north-east Manitoba, he’s the perfect choice. He involves the community in sundances and sweat lodges. He sings and drums in the Loud Thunder Singers, Warrior Eagle, and Thunderhorse Singers. He volunteers with the Bear Clan. An exceptional young man who proudly shares his heritage with others.
42. Leanne Muldrew: Competed at the Rio Paralympic Games in sitting volleyball. It was Canada’s first ever sitting volleyball team in the games, and it’s an incredible sport. Punch it in to YouTube. Leanne is simply an amazing person, athlete, and I’m lucky enough to know her.
41. Michelle McHale: Through backlash and controversy, McHale organized and pulled off an immensely popular and first ever Pride March in Steinbach. 5,000 people showed up. She’s a true champion of sexual orientation and gender identity instruction. Keep being you Michelle.
40. Chris Funk: Known as “The Wonderist”, Chris Funk is crushing it right now. As a magician, he’s performed around the world, on the Vegas strip, wowed Penn & Teller on their Fool Us show, and was a huge hit on America’s Got Talent. He’s mega talented and is an engaging and very funny performer.
39. Catherine Metrycki: She’s the founder of a new online floral business. Her start-up, Callia, was the winner this year in an incredible field of other new start-ups at Innovate Manitoba’s Pitch Day.
38-37. Adam Brooks & Matthew Kennedy: They made a freaky, funny and fun horror film called The Editor. It’s played at the Toronto International Film Festival, and cleaned up at the Winnipeg Film Group’s inaugural Windy Awards this year, celebrating the best in Winnipeg film.
36. Tracie Leost: This past May I presented Tracie with a Young Humanitarian award courtesy of the Manitoba Teachers Society. She’s a truly amazing young woman. She ran 115 kilometres raising awareness for Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women while raising money for the Families First Foundation. After losing two friends to suicide in the span of four days this year, she led and implemented mental health programs in her school, Garden City Collegiate. Recently she was the subject of a Vogue video about her work for MMIW called Run Sister Run..
35. Tim Jones: He’s taken what was at first a boutique artist management and record label into a multi-faceted company now known as Pipe & Hat Music Group. As president, Tim now oversees an incredibly cool and diverse group that now not only manages talent and releases awesome records, but also produces live shows, mentors young artists, offers creative services, and more. He’s making things happen. Cool things.
34-33. Kyle Matheson & Marc Priestly: They are the co-owners of Nuburger, and they’re on fire. Their stuff is really great, and from their start as Unburger in The Village, they’ve grown steadily and now have three spots— the latest having recently open at The Forks. Continued success to you both.