The Board of Directors of Inspire Awards officially announced the 2018 nominees and recipients for the 8th annual INSPIRE Awards at a recent press conference at Toronto City Hall. Watch the video of the conference here.

INSPIRE Awards was founded eightt years ago and the Awards have become a cornerstone of celebrating and bringing the community together here locally in Toronto with a very warm and joyous annual event. The Awards mission from the start is to celebrate good work, preserve the stories and history of those who do good work, and remind our youth and next generations of the incredibly inspiring work it took, and still takes, to create a community.

The categories are:

  • Lifetime Achievement Awards
  • LGBTQ Person of the Year
  • RBC LGBTQ Youth of the Year
  • LGBTQ Positive Business of the Year
  • Inspiring Community Organization of the Year
  • LUX Award for the Arts
  • Charles Roy Award for Activism in HIV/AIDS
  • TELUS LGBTQ Innovator of the Year

Annually the Awards celebrates and honours nominees and recipients in the following categories LGBTQ Person of the Year, Youth of the Year, Positive Business of the Year, Inspiring Community Organization of the Year, Innovator of the Year, Charles Roy Award for Activism in HIV/AIDS, LUX Award for the Arts, Lifetime Achievement Award, and International Icon Award. Next for INSPIRE Awards is working with the City of Toronto on the construction of a Walk & Monument of Heroes for Toronto’s local LGBTQ community.

INSPIRE Awards is a not for profit organization, governed by a board of directors, and a number of sub committees. The work of the awards continues on expanding as more community organizations join the awards as Community Partners. INSPIRE Awards are presented by Community Partners PinkPlayMags & The Pink Pages Directory, Pride Toronto, AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT), Spearhead, Community One Foundation, Ontario Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Fife House, The Imperial Court of Toronto (TICOT), and Toronto Trans Alliance. The work of the INSPIRE Awards is also supported by Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, in the US (GLAAD).

Board President, Antoine Elhashem, stated, “An example of expanding our work is a project this year to create a booklet to be given to guests at the event on May 25th, that encourages volunteering, and lists our community organizations, what volunteers they are looking for, and how to contact them. For the last few years, the INSPIRE Awards had a theme for each celebration tied up to a special presentation on our stage at the event. We have had Sporting Heroes, Trans Heroes, and We Are Family themes. This year with so much talk about immigration, border walls, and travel bans we wanted to show how Canada stands in the world as a very welcoming country, that embraces the diversity and richness that immigrants and refugees bring, so with that in mind it was decided that our theme and special presentation this year is: #EmbracingNewcomers. On stage we will here some of the stories of those who recently came to Canada.”

Councillor Wong-Tam then took the podium. “I have the pleasure of reading to you the 2018 list of those who will be celebrated on May 25th, at Hart House, at the annual night of magic and celebrations that brings our LGBTQ community, families, friends, and allies together.”

LGBTQ Person of the Year NOMINEES are:

Jill Andrew

James Forrester

Alan Kunkel

Leonard Benoit

Dakarayi Chigugudhlo

RBC LGBTQ Youth of the Year Award NOMINEES are:

Adam Lake

Bri Gardner

Tai Hope

Sylvan Tang

Meha Patel

LGBTQ Positive Business of the Year NOMINEES are:

Pretty Munny Productions

DJ Dallas

Corporate Specialty Services

Dudley’s Hardware Paint & Décor

Bulldog Coffee

Inspiring Community Organization of the Year NOMINEES are:

Rainbow Railroad

Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (AASAP)

YMCA Sprott House

2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations

And Red Dress Productions


The following are RECIPIENTS in their respective categories:

Recipient for “Charles Roy Award for Activism in HIV/AIDS” is:

Keith Hambly

Recipient for “TELUS LGBTQ Innovator of the Year Award” is:

Scott Stirrett

This year the INSPIRE Awards selected three recipients for “Lifetime Achievement Award” due the wide spectrum that their individual contributions cover:

Mykel Hall aka DJ BlackCat

Savoy Howe

Dave Hingsburger

And lastly but not the least, INSPIRE Awards is honoured to celebrate the work of this individual with International Icon Award:

Author, multi awards winner, an integral member of the BlackLivesMatter USA movement, and a respected activist locally and internationally: Darnell Moore

The 8th annual INSPIRE Awards take place on Friday, May 25, 2018

TICKETS $100 VIP $40 General

Doors Open
6:30PM General 

Ceremony Starts:
Garden Party & Buffet 9:30PM

Facebook Event Page


INSPIRE Awards is a not-for-profit organization with the mission of facilitating an annual event celebrating the contributions that groups and individuals have made to the LGBTQ+ community in the Greater Toronto Area. It is an inspiring celebration of past and present heroes to ensure we never forget the work it took and still takes to build a community. It is to recognize the contributions many make for the betterment of their community and the world around them.

The honourees of each category are chosen through community nominations and awarded by a judging panel formed of representatives of the Awards Board of Directors, Presenting and Community Partners, and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.