• The nomination process is open, and submissions are encouraged from the community

Toronto, February 16, 2021 – After hearing numerous stories about individuals, community groups and businesses stepping up to help others in need during this public health crisis, the leaders of Centennial College, Scarborough Health Network (SHN), Toronto Zoo and University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) are launching the Scarborough Hero Awards. This new awards initiative aims to recognize those who have gone above and beyond to serve the local community in very substantive and impactful ways.

In 200 words or less, community members are encouraged to nominate a #ScarbTOHero deserving recognition for the extraordinary actions they have taken in the past year to support the community during COVID-19. Nominees can be an individual, group, business or organization residing or working in the Scarborough community.

Nominations are now open for the following seven award categories:

  1. Community Action/Service – Recognizing those who set-up/ran food banks, shelters, mask and other personal protective equipment distribution, etc.
  2. Health – Honouring the valour of frontline health care workers, including, but not limited to hospital, long-term care, and public health personnel
  3. Education – Celebrating those who engaged in transforming learning experiences for students in Scarborough and beyond
  4. Environmental – Recognizing those responsible for keeping outdoor spaces accessible and safe for Scarborough residents, while also nurturing natural habitats and wildlife
  5. Good Neighbour – Celebrating those who put their own needs aside to help others, such as supporting neighbours and vulnerable individuals in need of medication, supplies, and groceries
  6. Outstanding Youth Leader – Celebrating youth 19 years and under who went out of their way to make a difference within their community
  7. Outstanding Organization/Business Leader – Recognizing local organizations/businesses and/or their leaders who went above and beyond to serve their clients and/or support the local community

Each nomination will be subject to a screening process involving representatives from Centennial College, Scarborough Health Network, University of Toronto Scarborough and the Toronto Zoo. Once the pool of nominations has been distilled to a maximum of five nominees per category, a jury panel consisting of the Scarborough City Councillors will step in and determine the ultimate winners for each category. In addition, representatives from the local Scarborough Business Association, Scarborough Community Renewal Organization and the Rotary Club of Scarborough will also assist with determining the winners in the business and community categories.

The nomination process closes at 11:59 pm on March 21, 2021, and the winners will be announced at an event at the Toronto Zoo on Saturday, April 17, 2021, at 9:00 am pending public health guidelines.

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“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. I am proud to see Scarborough coming together to recognize local individuals who are making a difference. I encourage residents to nominate someone who they believe has impacted Scarborough and have been working hard during the pandemic to support their community.” – Mayor John Tory, City of Toronto

“During this past year, a tremendous amount of good has taken place right here in Scarborough. We would like to shine a bright light upon those who have gone above and beyond to ensure we are safe, well and secure, and whose acts of kindness and good neighborliness reinforce our belief in the power of the human spirit and our capacity to do so much good for others. We are truly inspired by the remarkable efforts of these everyday heroes and I, for one, am looking forward to hearing about and celebrating their selfless contributions.” – Craig Stephenson, President and CEO, Centennial College

“On behalf of the staff and volunteers at your Toronto Zoo, we are honoured to be part of this initiative to honour our many local heroes who have gone above and beyond to make our community a better place during these challenging times.” – Dolf DeJong, CEO, Toronto Zoo

“It is a great honour and privilege to take part in the Scarborough Hero Awards. There are so many hidden stories of members of this community who deserve recognition for their impactful contributions in the fight against COVID-19, and this entire initiative is a beautiful tribute to them.” – Elizabeth Buller, President and CEO, Scarborough Health Network

“On behalf of the University of Toronto Scarborough, I want to acknowledge, with gratitude, the tremendous contributions of many members of our community who are going to great lengths to support and to sustain the overall wellbeing of Scarborough in the midst of this devastating pandemic. 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. 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.” – Wisdom Tettey, Vice-President, University of Toronto, and Principal, U of T Scarborough

About Centennial College

Centennial College is Ontario’s first public college, established in 1966, primarily serving the eastern portion of the Greater Toronto Area through five campuses. It has a record of exemplary teaching, innovative programming and extensive partnership building. Centennial offers more than 300 diploma, certificate and degree programs on a full- and part-time basis in business, media, arts, community and consumer services, engineering technology, health care and transportation. The college enrolls more than 26,000 full-time students and 19,000 part-time learners annually.

About Toronto Zoo

The Toronto Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals and conservation science to fight extinction and our vision is a world where wildlife and wild spaces thrive. An iconic tourist attraction and Conservation organization, the Toronto Zoo boasts a number of leading programs for helping wildlife and their natural habitats – from species reintroduction to reproductive research. A world-class educational centre for people of all ages, the Toronto Zoo is open every day except December 25 and attracts approximately 1.2 million guests each year. Toronto Zoo is accredited by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). The Zoo has also achieved the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC) Certificate of Good Animal Practice® and is inspected by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA).

About Scarborough Health Network

Across our three hospitals and eight satellite sites, Scarborough Health Network (SHN) is shaping the future of care. Our many programs and services are designed around the needs of one of Canada’s most vibrant and diverse communities. We are home to Ontario’s largest nephrology program, as well as the designated cardiac care centre for Scarborough and surrounding communities to the east. We are proud to be a community-affiliated teaching site for the University of Toronto and partner with a number of other universities and colleges, helping to train the next generation of health care professionals. Learn more at

About University of Toronto Scarborough

The University of Toronto Scarborough is a place of energy, enthusiasm and passion. Our commitment to inclusive excellence attracts the brightest learners, scholars and employees from around the globe. Our success has been made possible by the opportunity given to us by our Indigenous hosts to operate on their territory, and we cherish our continuing partnerships with these communities.

For Information:

Katie Gray

Manager of Strategic Communications

Toronto Zoo

(416) 938-5283


Mark Toljagic

Senior Communications Officer

Centennial College

(416) 605-6012