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Canadian Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Destination Toronto


This award, handed out annually at the Canadian Tourism Awards gala, recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution of energy, service and talent towards the growth of the Canadian tourism industry, through volunteer work, service or business accomplishments. Focusing on tourism building, the recipient demonstrates leadership, vision and innovation built on a solid foundation of strong values and sound business strategies.

Nominees for the Lifetime Achievement Award should be individuals who have:

  • Dedicated the majority of their professional career to the tourism sector;
  • Made an outstanding personal contribution to the tourism sector;
  • Helped to create growth in Canada’s tourism sector through innovation, astute business practices and the development of new opportunities;
  • Demonstrated leadership in the industry through their engagement with tourism partners at the local, provincial and/or national levels;
  • Left a positive and lasting legacy with the people with whom they have worked.

Nominees are generally retired or in the twilight of their tourism careers. 

2022 Destination Toronto Canadian Tourism Lifetime Achievement Recipient

William (Bill) Knowlton

A seasoned professional and accomplished leader with more than five decades in the industry, Bill’s storied career has taken him from tour directing for Tauck Tours in the 1970’s to becoming a partner at Jonview Canada, where he was instrumental in growing the company to become one of the country’s leading inbound receptive tour operators.

Bill served as Jonview’s EVP from 2017 to 2022, after leading sales, marketing and product development for almost three decades as VP Marketing and Sales. He pioneered the expansion of the company’s product base, introducing a new product approach to cater to the emerging market for independent travelers. Bill firmly believed that creating trusting relationships with clients and suppliers alike was critical to long term success. As such, he regularly travelled within Canada as well as attending international trade shows and spent weeks each year visiting clients in person in their offices.

Bill has also been a major contributor to tourism boards such as Destination Canada and Destination Ontario, and an active member of various committees and volunteer organizations that have led towards the improvement of the industry as a whole; including serving on TIAC’s Board of Directors from 2003 to 2009, in addition to multiple terms in the late 1980’s into the 1990’s, as well.



Past Recipients


2019 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Bob Sparrow
Bob joined the Norwood Hotel fifty years ago in 1969. The Norwood Hotel began as a neighbourhood gathering place and over time has seen a number of additions including new meeting and guest rooms. Bob was involved with the expansion of the business that now includes Inn at the Forks, Mere Hotel, the ERA Restaurant and food services for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. The company has been rebranded to Sparrow Hotels and is under the direction of Ben Sparrow (CEO), Bob and wife Diane’s son.

2018 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 

Nancy Stibbard
As owner and CEO of the Capilano Group, Nancy was inducted into Canada’s Tourism Hall of Fame in September 2007. Nancy’s vision ‘to create experiences that people are amazed by’ means she is always seeking new ways to “wow” her guests. At Capilano that has meant two major additions: Treetops Adventure in 2004 and Cliffwalk in 2011. Both are unique, state-of-the-art, thrilling attractions, giving visitors reasons to return again and again.


2017 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 

Walter Oster
Walter served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MTCC from 1998 to 2017. He dedicated 29 years to public service and to the Convention Centre from 1988 to 2017. His enthusiasm, business acumen and commitment to public service are legendary. 


2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 

Jack Robinson
Jack Robinson, past COO of the CN Tower, is quite literally a towering figure in Canadian tourism who has not only led one of our top national attractions to continued success, but he has done so in a manner that embodied the local and national spirit of partnership that has been his mark of true leadership. 


2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Don Cudmore
Don Cudmore has been Executive Director of the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island (TIAPEI) for almost 20 years and an active employee, manager, volunteer and leader in the tourism industry for 43 years.



2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Lynda & Merv Gunter
Co-owners of Frontiers North Adventures with their son John, Merv and Lynda started Frontiers North Adventures after living in Churchill for four years in the early 1980s. They have grown the company from a staff of one to employ 15 year-round staff and up to an additional 50 seasonal staff.


2013 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

David G. Morrison
David Morrison is a pioneer, builder and dynamic leader in the travel and tourism industry. Appointed President of Brewster Travel Canada in 1980, Morrison quickly positioned the company to become a leading tourism entity in Canada. 


2012 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Chris Cahill
Executive Vice President of Global Operations for Las Vegas Sands Corp.
While at Fairmont Raffles and its predecessor organizations, Mr. Cahill gained an international reputation for excellence as he led the company through several successful mergers as both president and chief operating officer.


2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Al Raine & Nancy Greene
Following their successful careers in downhill skiing, Senator Greene Raine and her husband Al were leaders in the development of Canada's ski tourism industry, including their instrumental roles in the early development of Whistler-Blackcomb and Sun Peaks in British Columbia. 


2010 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Charles Lapointe
In 1989, he became president and chief executive officer of the Greater Montreal Convention and Tourism Bureau (Tourisme Montréal), retaining the position until his retirement in 2013. In 2002, he also became chairman of the Canadian Tourism Commission.