History

In 1953, the Associated Canadians Travellers (ACT) initiated the first awards dinner called the ACT Sportmens Dinner, honouring 16 amateur athletes with assistance from the Eastview Lions Club and the Eastview Recreation Centre.

The event continued to be known as the ACT Awards until 2003 when it was regenerated and expanded as the Ottawa Sports Awards.

In 2019 the Ottawa Sports Awards celebrated its 67th continuous year of recognizing athletic excellence in Ottawa. We are now the largest amateur sport recognition event in Canada, and the most comprehensive and inclusive amateur sport recognition program in Canada.

Each year we recognize and award the best amateur athlete in Ottawa in 65 different sports – from Athletics to Wrestling. Recent winners include Erica Wiebe who won Olympic gold in wrestling, Rachel Homan the current world curling champion, and Vincent De Haitre a cycling and speed skating athlete. View our history of award winners here.

A major highlight of the recognition ceremony is the awarding of the Mayor’s Cup for outstanding contribution to sport in Ottawa over a prolonged time. We also present three Lifetime Awards: the Brian Kilrea Lifetime Achievement Coaching Award, the Lifetime Achievement Award for Technical Officials, and the Lifetime Achievement Award for Sports Volunteers/Administrators.

The Spirit of Sport Award is given annually by sportswriter Martin Cleary and recognizes positive experiences giving back to the community.

Each year we help a smaller sport group with an Ottawa Sport Endowment Award to give them a chance to succeed and prosper.

In conjunction with the Ottawa Nepean Canadians Sports Club, we give the Howard Darwin Memorial Scholarships to local university or college students.

We award six major trophies each year. They are;

  • Kristina Groves Female Athlete of the Year
  • Male Athlete of the Year
  • Female Team of the Year
  • Male Team of the Year
  • Female Coach of the Year (dedicated to Jack Donohue)
  • Male Coach of the Year (dedicated to Jack Donohue)

Provincial Championship teams are also celebrated, bringing in a large number of participants from many age groups. The dinner and awards show, with 650 athletes, coaches, parents and friends, is now held annually in the last week of January, and hosted at Algonquin College.