City Centre and parkland from above

The Civic Distinction Awards are awards of excellence that recognize business and community leaders who have made a major contribution to our community in their respective fields.

By recognizing this work through these awards, we foster a culture of excellence in Surrey and highlight the people and projects that are leading the way.


Key dates

The nomination period (March 1 - April 21) is now closed. Thank you to everyone who submitted nominations to help recognize those in our community doing exceptional work. Award recipients will be recognized by the City on the web and in print media and will receive their award in November.


Award categories

Beautification & Enhancement

The Beautification and Enhancement Awards recognize residents, community groups, organizations and businesses that make outstanding contributions towards the enhancement of Surrey’s many communities, including:

  • improving public spaces to be more attractive and vibrant;
  • connecting neighbours and residents; and
  • increasing sense of belonging, connectedness and community.

Award categories

  • Impactful Placemaking Project Award: Recognizes outstanding initiatives undertaken by individuals or groups to enhance the public realm through a small placemaking or improvement project.
  • Our City Community Champion Award: Recognizes the ongoing commitment to taking care of a neighbourhood or space by an individual or group.
  • Local Capacity Builder Award: Recognizes the efforts of individuals and groups that are building the capacity and skills in others to make a more vibrant and connected Surrey.


All Surrey residents, groups, organizations and businesses are eligible.  To be considered for an award the community enhancement activity must have taken place in the last four years (2020-2023).

Terms of Reference


The Environment Awards recognize people that take action in initiatives that protect and enhance Surrey’s natural environment.

Award categories

  • Individual
  • Group
  • Business


All Surrey residents, groups, organizations and businesses are eligible. To be considered for an award the project must have taken place in the last four years (2020-2023).

Terms of reference


The Heart Awards recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals and groups to promoting social equity. In particular, the award recognizes contributions that:

  • support priority populations; and/or
  • strengthen our community by building inclusion and a sense of belonging.

Award categories

  • Group: recognizes organizations or groups that are taking an innovative approach to addressing a social issue or challenge in Surrey.
  • Individual: category recognizes the outstanding contributions of an individual to the social well-being of Surrey residents.
  • Lifetime Achievement: recognizes the long-time contributions of a dedicated individual to the social well-being of Surrey residents.


All individuals, groups, organizations and businesses that serve the Surrey community are eligible. To be considered for an award, the project/initiative must have taken place in the last four years (2020-2023), with the exception of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Terms of Reference

Arts & Heritage

The Arts and Heritage Awards recognize and celebrate artists, curators, historians, writers, scholars, volunteers, community groups, organizations and businesses who are making outstanding contributions to Surrey’s heritage, culture and art.

Award categories

  • Visual Arts: Recognizes excellence in all visual art forms, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, video, conceptual art and all other visual practices.
  • Performing Arts: Recognizes excellence in dance, music, theatre, circus arts and all other performative art practices.
  • Literary Arts: Recognizes excellence in creative writing and literature, including poetry, prose and all other language art practices.
  • Heritage Education and Awareness: Recognizes the development and delivery of innovative and creative presentations, programs or special events that highlight Surrey’s history and heritage.
  • Heritage Preservation: Recognizes the protection, preservation or restoration of a built, natural or cultural asset of the city.


All Surrey residents, groups, and organizations are eligible, as well as projects and initiatives with a Surrey focus.  A project or body of work from the last four years (2020-2023) can be submitted for consideration.

Surrey's Civic Treasures

The Arts and Heritage Awards, as part of Surrey’s Civic Distinction Awards, continue the legacy of Surrey’s Civic Treasures.

Watch videos of past recipients.

Terms of Reference


The Design Awards recognize excellence in city building through architecture, landscape architecture and urban design and public art.

Award categories

  • Residential (small, medium and large-scale)
  • Commercial & Industrial
  • Institutional
  • Landscape, Public Space and Infrastructure
  • Renovation and Adaptive Re-use
  • Public Art


Projects located in Surrey and completed any time after October 16, 2020, are eligible and must match the description for the respective category of development type.

Terms of Reference

Jury Bios

Michael Heeney Headshot

Michael Heeney, Architect / AIBC, FRAIC, RI (BC) / President and CEO

Michael is a nationally and internationally recognized leader, city builder, architect, and urban strategist with over 25 years’ experience leading high-profile organizations. 

Michael was first appointed President and CEO of SCDC in 2017 where under his leadership the company developed and implemented a new strategic plan, initiating several highly impactful projects to advance the City of Surrey’s transformation into a more complete community - economically, culturally, socially, and physically.  Surrey’s Mayor and Council recently re-appointed Michael to this position in 2023.

Committed to his community personally as well as professionally, Michael is a sought-after speaker, board, committee, and jury member and has been involved with a wide variety of community and professional organizations throughout North America and Asia. Michael was awarded designation of Fellow of the Royal Architecture Institute of Canada in 2011 for excellence in contributions to architecture and community building in Canada.  Michael is a registered architect with the Architectural Institute of BC, a member of the Real Estate Institute of BC and a Fellow of the Real Estate Institute of Canada.  He is a graduate of both the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia.


Grant Brumpton Headshot

Grant Brumpton, Partner / MBCSLA, CSLA, AALA, PLA, ASLA

Grant is a registered Landscape Architect and the managing partner of PWL Partnership, a leading landscape architecture and urban design consulting firm based in Vancouver. He has been responsible for managing a growing Vancouver office in recent years while leading projects that embody forward-thinking ideals, foster social innovation, and contribute to the resilience of communities.

Grant’s project work includes large-scale private and public sector projects throughout southern British Columbia, including in Surrey, as well as in Alberta and Washington State. With extensive experience supporting a diverse group of clients, Grant focusses on collaborative approaches to design and management that bring design teams together. 

Grant earned a Bachelor of Environment Design and Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Manitoba.


Emily Kearns Headshot

Emily Kearns, Architect / AIBC/MRAIC / Principal: Ankenman Associates Architects Inc.

Emily is a registered Architect in British Columbia and managing partner at Ankenman Associates Architects Inc (AAAI) in Surrey, BC. Established in 1981, AAAI is a boutique architectural firm specializing in the contextual design of residential, commercial, industrial and large-scale master planned communities.

The firm’s roots in the community run deep, having provided positive architectural contributions to Surrey’s built environment for over 40 years. Emily is a proud City of Surrey resident and has diligently practiced her craft and fostered community stewardship for over 15 years. Proof of this is the recent ‘Women in Business Award’ in the Professional Category from the Surrey Board of Trade.


Sport Tourism

The Sport Tourism Awards recognize the outstanding contributions of individuals and organizations through the hosting of a sport tourism event in Surrey.

Award categories

  • Regional/Provincial Event
  • National/International Event


Sport tourism events are defined as those where participants and spectators are travelling more than 80 km to an event and are staying overnight. All groups that have hosted a sport tourism event in Surrey within the last four years (2020-2023) that meets the following criteria are eligible. Events that have received a Civic Distinction Award in the past must show significant growth to be considered for an award.

Terms of Reference

Mayor's Choice

This year’s Mayor’s Choice Awards recognize those who bring people together and increase the wellbeing and resiliency of the community through diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Award categories

  • Celebrating Diversity and Building Community (individual)
  • Celebrating Diversity and Building Community (community group or non-profit)
  • Celebrating Diversity and Building Community (business or institution)

Eligibility & nominations

All Surrey residents, groups, organizations and businesses are eligible.  To be considered for an award, activities must have taken place in the last four years (2020-2023).

Terms of Reference

Past recipients

View a full list of award recipients from 2020.