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2017 Civic Treasure Award Recipients

Award Recipient: Heidi Greco

  • For over 30 years, Heidi Greco has consistently contributed to the appreciation and development of the arts - especially the literary arts - through teaching, community involvement and her own writing. Having first moved to Surrey in the mid-1970s, Heidi has long been fierce about declaring her identity as "a Surrey writer."
  • Heidi’s teaching pursuits run the gamut from elementary school pupils to inmates in local prisons; from adult learners who wanted to be there to high school dropouts who didn’t. As a librarian and later as creative writing teacher, she seamlessly added a special dimension to learning by nurturing self-confidence through support and genuine caring.
  • Her colleagues have the highest respect for her as a writer, but also for her vision to increase the profile and activities of the literary arts in Surrey.
  • She has supported a variety of projects including INvision, a multidisciplinary arts fundraiser in support of the Eagle Nest Labyrinth; a presentation of contemporary Northern Irish Poets in an Irish reading series hosted by Ray and Mary Fynes; and most recently the Word-Arts Project which includes events, training, issues forums and a celebration to draw together word-artists and give a collective voice in shaping the cultural landscape of Surrey.
  • Through the local Community Arts Council (Semiahmoo Arts) Heidi successfully launched an ongoing literary program. The first phase was Readings by the Salish Sea.  Heidi organized 6 – 8 readings per year featuring writers from across Canada.
  • She established Zero – 360 Open Mic, a series that regularly attracts a creative mix of writers from across Surrey and beyond.
  • Heidi developed funding for a “Writers in Schools” program and was the moving force in establishing the Poet Laureate program in Surrey.
  • She is a strong advocate for the arts. In 2012, Greco invited Surrey into the Mayor’s Poetry Challenge during National Poetry Month. Her resulting commissioned work, Surrey – A City in Six Poems, reflects the unique heritage, geography and welcoming attitude of Surrey. When she read it at the Council Meeting she elegantly demonstrated the uplifting experience poetry can have.
  • Heidi currently has several published volumes of poetry and a novella to her name.  She contributes pieces regularly to literary magazines, anthologies and newspapers, and maintains a blog ( She is invited to read and to share her expertise at literary events here, across Canada and in the US.
  • Her most recent book, Flightpaths: The Lost Journals of Amelia Earhart, was published by Caitlin Press this past spring. Another collection of her poems, Practical Anxiety, will be brought out by Toronto's Inanna Publications in 2018.
  • Heidi is knowledgeable, candid, encouraging and brings in a wide range of experience to all of her work; she is widely respected locally, provincially, nationally and internationally.
  • A much-loved and highly valued person, her proponents stated “Heidi already is a treasure, enriching Surrey in so many ways”.


Award Recipient: Robert Gary Parkes

Robert Gary Parkes

  • Robert Gary Parkes moved to Surrey 27 years ago and settled in Port Kells with his wife Jeanette where they have raised their four daughters and established the Loafing Shed Glass Studio.
  • Robert is a professional artist with a 30 year career in glassblowing. He started working in stained glass in 1969 and eventually began a formal apprenticeship as a glassblower in 1987 at the Robert Held Studio in Kitsilano, Vancouver. Robert collaborated with Held and many other leading glassblowers over a 22 year period, developing to an accomplished "Master" glassblower
  • Robert provides tours and open houses for the annual Art in the City event organized by Surrey Tourism and the Arts Council of Surrey to celebrate Culture Days and donates glass works to local high schools to support Dry Grad events.
  • Robert is well known for his work among glass artists across Canada and Washington State. His work has been recognized with a Surrey Art Gallery/Arts Council award in the juried Arts 2013 exhibition and he was a finalist in the Surrey Board of Trade – New Business of the Year Award in 2010.
  • His sculptural glass works were presented to former US President’s Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr.  for the Surrey Economic Summit.
  • Robert’s works were provided as gifts for the keynote speakers and presenters at the 2016 Creative City Summit, and have been presented as protocol gifts to delegates from Surrey’s sister cities in China and to recognize community leaders
  • His glass bottles were purchased as props for the Steven Spielberg film Big Friendly Giant.
  • Robert has presented artist talks at the Surrey Art Gallery and offered exhibitions of his work and talks at the Historic Stewart Farm in South Surrey.
  • He has participated in the Public Art artist selection panels for the Cloverdale Recreation Centre and the Guildford Aquatic Centre.
  • He has been featured in the new Surrey Libraries “Human Library” program.
  •  For many years he participated in the Arnold Mikelson Festival of the Arts and still presents his work at the Mikelson Gallery.
  • Robert is dedicated to sharing his craft with the local community, disseminating the knowledge he has learned over three decades working with glass to younger artists.
  • He demonstrates pride in his work and his community; through his work Robert has contributed significantly to Surrey’s unique cultural character and its reputation as a city that supports the arts and artists.
  • Robert’s career exemplifies the purpose of the Surrey Civic Treasure Awards program. He is a talented artist and kind individual who cares about the citizens of Surrey and the cultural impact he can make for our community.

Award Recipient: Jim Trimble

  • Jim Trimble is a shining example of dedication to the Surrey arts community.  As a founding member of The Society for the Preservation of Vaudeville, he has brought entertainment to the entire City of
  • Surrey through the Vaudeville stage. His most recent project, "Naked Stage Productions," presents unique theatre readings featuring local talent at the Newton Cultural Centre.
  • In 2013, Jim received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of his leadership with the Vaudevillians.
  • Jim has inspired dozens of seniors in Surrey, White Rock, Delta and north of the Fraser, not just the members of the Society, but the hundreds of people each year who have attended their benefit
  • concerts. He has persuaded seniors to dust off childhood skills in music, dance and theatre - and to learn new ones.  For those who did not want to be in front of the spotlights, he set them to work behind the scenes in production support (wardrobe, make-up, set design, administration).
  • Jim was instrumental in establishing a Bursary for Performing Arts Students at Douglas College.  This perpetual bursary was named in his honour as a tribute to his foresight and tireless efforts in bringing the artistic capabilities of seniors to Surrey and throughout the Lower Mainland.  The Society for the Preservation of  Vaudeville in honour of Jim Trimble Endowment is currently in excess of $108,000.He established the Fran Dowie Scholarship Fund in 2007 with the Surrey Foundation, ensuring that one of the B.C. Junior Talent Contestants performing annually at the Cloverdale Rodeo receives monetary recognition.
  • Jim was invited to all the important events put on by Douglas College Foundation and was a favourite with the staff, attending farewell parties and award ceremonies. The annual concert was a highlight for the Foundation and an opportunity to invite board members and donors to an evening of laughter, joy and inspiration.
  • The Vaudevillians perform in about 30 venues each year, throughout Surrey and other municipalities, primarily in care homes and community centres.  "Diamond Jim" was always a focal point of the stage with his quick wit, ad libs and performance as emcee.
  • His admirer's state, "Jim has long been a treasure to hundreds of people who have had the privilege to work with him in theatre and in his philanthropic endeavours in the arts" and "I cannot think of a finer person for Surrey's Civic Treasure Award".