The late Dave Snow, a lover of nature and the Newfoundland landscape, was the recipient of the legend award at the City of St. John’s 2016 annual tourism awards.
The honour is presented to an individual or organization in recognition of their significant contributions towards enhancing tourism in the capital city.
After spending time as a high school science teacher and a freshwater ecosystems educator at the Suncor Energy Fluvarium and with the Salmonid Association of Eastern Newfoundland and the Atlantic Salmon Federation, Snow founded Wildland Tours and went on to become a pioneer of environmental tourism in the province.
Snow, who died earlier this year, was the first tour operator to realize the potential of the cruise ship industry in St. John’s and at other ports throughout the province, and he converted a rundown heritage building in downtown St. John’s into Wild Things, a gift shop and home for his tour company.
“The late Dr. Jon Lien was a mentor and friend, and Dave’s love of whales led Dr. Lien to champion the census of humpback whales off the shores of our province,” stated a news release from the City of St. John’s.
“Dave was perhaps the first to notice and track the return of the orca to the waters of Newfoundland and Labrador.”
His children Alan, Angela and Jennifer accepted the award on behalf.
The legend award was one of six presented at city hall on Thursday.
The other winners were:
Event of Year: Royal Canadian Legion Provincial Command 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel.
Provincial command executive director Paul Hillier and his team went above and beyond their annual Memorial Day event by inviting ambassadors from Belgium, Turkey and France as well as Australia and New Zealand to join with representatives from the Canadian Armed Forces.
The group’s greatest coup was having Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal, Colonel in Chief of The Royal Newfoundland Regiment, Princess Anne attend the memorial celebration.
Victoria Wagon Award: Mike Edmunds, McCarthy’s Party
Following 30-plus years in the province’s education system, Edmunds turned to guiding tours of St. John’s in his retirement, delighting guests by sharing the city’s and province’s history through stories, anecdotes, music and expressions.
The award is presented to the taxi, coach, bus or tour driver who exemplifies the spirit of exceptional customer service.
Signal Award: Gord Dalton
Like Edmunds, after a lengthy career in education, Dalton turned to the tourism industry in retirement and has spent 14 years as part of the city’s ambassador program, carving out a reputation for being a welcoming face for passengers disembarking from cruise ships.
In recent years, Dalton’s vision has worsened to the point where he is now legally blind, but he doesn’t let it stop him from greeting and directing cruise passengers with practiced expertise.
The award is presented to an individual, group or company in recognition of their significant contributions towards the evolution and sustainability of the cruise ship industry in St. John’s.
Discover Award: So-Full Food Tours
After taking in a food tour in New York City, Christa Willar returned to St. John’s and started her own in downtown St. John’s, enlisting local restaurants and retailers such as the Newfoundland Chocolate Company, Tavola, Rocket Bakery, Yellowbelly and O’Reilly’s.
The award is presented to an individual, business, attraction, event or community organization that offers a new or innovative tourism product, service or activity.
Sport Tourism Award: St. John’s Soccer Club
For five days in October, the club hosted 574 out-of-province athletes and guests for the Soccer Canada senior national club championships — the women’s Jubilee Trophy and the men’s Challenge Cup.
Since 2006, when the King George V Park reopened, the club has hosted seven national youth and senior tournaments, five Atlantic, two Eastern Canadian and 14 provincial tournaments.
The honour is presented to an individual, group or organization that made contributions to the tourism industry through hosting a sporting event.