TIMMINS -- It's not necessarily a joyous time for businesses in Timmins — which is precisely why the Timmins Chamber felt it important to hold its 19th annual Nova Awards.

A virtual event this year, the chamber's president, Melanie Verreault, said businesses deserve positive recognition for both their resilience and successes despite this difficult situation.

"It just made us realize that our businesses need that support and celebration," said Verreault. "It is giving them and our business community a reminder of the many ways that our businesses work together."

The independently-judged awards included:

  • Business of the Year (1-5 employees)

Winner: Porcupine Advance Printers

  • Business of the Year (6-10 employees)

Winner: The Urban Farm

  • Business of the Year (1-10 employees)

Winner: J&B Cycle and Marine

  • Lifetime Business Achievement

Winner: Wyatt Image Solutions

  • New Business Award

Winner: All About You Medical Spa

  • Best Place to Work

Winner: Bright Spot Therapy Services

Full Beard Brewing took home the "Business Contribution to the Community" award for operations with 6 to 10 employees.

Co-owner Benjie Potvin said just like there are many hairs in a beard, there are many businesses making an effort to support the community and that it's an inspiration for his brewery as well.

"We're born and bred in this town, we grew up in this town, we want to see our families stay in this town," Potvin said.

"The more we do as Full Beard, the more we're encouraged and encourage people to do also."

The Bucket Shop accepted an award for successes with Indigenous partnerships.

The company's market development manager, Jamie Pouw, said as a mining supplier for companies that often have impact-benefit agreements with First Nations communities in which they operate, it is important to build solid relationships.

"We're honoured that we're acknowledged and recognized for the work we've done," Pouw said.

"We spent the last two years, in particular, building a dedicated Aboriginal women's training program, which has really helped strengthen our partnerships with the First Nations groups."

As well, local restaurant Radical Gardens received an award for innovation, which owner Brianna Humphrey said in her acceptance speech has been especially true while she pivoted her business during the pandemic.

"For the past seven to eight years, we have done nothing but push innovation," Humphrey said.

The "President's Award" saw Verreault personally choose a business worthy of special recognition.

Her pick: Newmont Porcupine. She said the company has been a major source of support for local businesses, especially during the pandemic. The most recent joint project with the chamber was the "Business Continuity Fund."

Verreault said she hopes to keep the positive energy from the award event going, including by hosting a talk with the Porcupine Health Unit looking ahead to a regional reopening plan — which she knows businesses have been anxious about.

"It just makes me appreciate how resilient our businesses are, despite the circumstances we find ourselves in," Verreault said.