Jamaica announces winner of Edith Baxter Memorial Award

(Top row from left) Dan Hamilton, Donovan White, (Bottom row from left) Edmund Bartlet, Donnovan Simon and Angella Bennett

The Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB) honoured the life and legacy of one of Canada’s greatest publishing icons during the inaugural Edith Baxter Memorial Award luncheon at Palais Royale in Toronto last Thursday.

The Hon. Edmund Bartlett, Minister of Tourism; Her Excellency Sharon J. Miller, High Commissioner of Jamaica; Lincoln Downer, Consul General of Jamaica; John Lynch, Chairman, JTB; Director of Tourism, Donovan White; and Angella Bennett, JTB Regional Director for Canada, were among the esteemed guests in attendance at the gala event, celebrating the finalists of the memorial award, which was established by the JTB in early 2021 in honour of the late founder and editor-in-chief of Baxter Publishing.

Minister Bartlett presented the 2021 Edith Baxter Memorial Award to first-place winner Donnovan Simon, President of the Jamaican Canadian Association Alberta (JCAA). Simon was recognized for his strong leadership skills in promoting Jamaica’s tourism sector and spotlighting Jamaican culture in Calgary and beyond. Through his work with the JCAA, Simon has exposed Albertans to the distinct culture, music and cuisine of the island. At the onset of the pandemic, Simon launched a weekly Facebook live event titled “What a Gwaan” where he has featured Jamaican panelists who expose viewers to Jamaican culture and encourage travel to the island.

“While she may have travelled to many places around the world throughout her impressive career, there is no doubt that Edith Baxter held a special place in her heart for Jamaica,” said Minister Bartlett during his keynote address at the award luncheon. “Under her leadership, Baxter Media played an integral role in spotlighting Destination Jamaica in the Canadian market.”

“Edith had a unique understanding of Jamaica and our people,” noted Chairman Lynch. “When she passed, we envisioned a commemorative award that would celebrate like-minded individuals who shared Edith’s passion for bringing the unique, vibrant spirit of Jamaica to Canadians. I am delighted to see that vision come to life today as we celebrate the inaugural Edith Baxter Memorial Award.”

Jamaica’s Minister of Tourism Hon. Edmund Bartlett

Four additional award nominees received trophies of recognition at the luncheon: Mary Long Bishop, a long-time community activist and philanthropist; Natasha Borota, president and CEO of It Factor Ltd. and member of the Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation; Fiona Bowen, membership manager with Association of Canadian Travel Agencies; and Caribbean product director Wayne Noseworthy.

Entries for the Edith Baxter Memorial Award were evaluated by the 2021 judging panel comprising Angella Bennett, Regional Director, Canada, Jamaica Tourist Board; Wendy McClung, Executive Vice President, Baxter Media; and Sandra Whiting, speaker, storyteller and event host.

As the grand prize winner of the Edith Baxter Memorial Award, Simon will receive a five-night all-inclusive vacation in Jamaica courtesy of award partners Sandals Resorts and Air Canada Vacations.