UTSC has partnered with Centennial College, the Scarborough Health Network (SHN), and the Toronto Zoo to create the first-ever Scarborough Hero Awards to honour exceptional community groups, businesses, and individuals who have made a difference in the community during the pandemic. 

The Scarborough Hero Awards winners were scheduled to be announced on April 17 at an in-person event at the Toronto Zoo. However, since Ontario was moved into a province-wide lockdown that started on April 3 and limited outdoor public events to five people or less, no alternative plans have been announced. Citizens were able to nominate individuals, businesses, or groups in Scarborough until April 4. 

Nomination and selection process

The awards are categorized into seven categories: community action/service; health, honouring frontline health workers; education; environmental; good neighbour; outstanding youth leader; and outstanding organization/business leader.

The nominations will be condensed to five nominees per category by a panel. U of T Vice-President and UTSC Principal Wisdom Tettey is part of the panel currently deciding the recipients. Other panel members include representatives from Centennial College, SHN, and the Toronto Zoo.

Once the nominations have been narrowed down, a jury panel consisting of Scarborough City Councillors will determine the final winners for each category. The Scarborough Business Association, Scarborough Community Renewal Organization, and the Rotary Club of Scarborough will also assist in determining winners for business and community categories.

Support of UTSC, City of Toronto

In a statement on the SHN’s website, Tettey wrote on behalf of UTSC, “As an institution that is proud of our amazing community and values our many partnerships in it, we are honoured to be part of this laudable community initiative and call on everyone to help give our local heroes their due recognition and to celebrate them by sending in nominations.” 

Tettey also added that the “heroic work and impactful acts of generosity by these neighbours may not always be visible, and yet they are enriching, uplifting, and changing lives for the better every day.”

City of Toronto Mayor John Tory wrote that he was proud to see Scarborough coming together to recognize local individuals who are making a difference.” 

Tory added, “During the pandemic we have seen our city and its residents come together to support each other during these difficult times. All of those everyday heroes deserve to be celebrated and acknowledged.”