Local champions have won The Etobicoke Guardian's Urban Hero Awards for their contributions to the community.
The honour is awarded annually to local individuals and groups whose personal efforts, sacrifices or contributions have made a significant impact to a cause, person or group in Etobicoke.
"What you do for our community - its people, its environment, its students, its seniors - in some cases tonight, its pets - that's powerful," Grace Peacock, managing editor of The Etobicoke Guardian told recipients at Monday night's awards reception at The Old Mill.
"It's a kind of power to be able to change things for the better, to have a positive impact on others. That's exactly why we call all of you heroes."
Urban Heroes who were recognized are teachers, students, family members, mentors, volunteers, leaders, innovators, business leaders and caregivers.
"What a difference each and every one of you make in our community. You make it safer, happier, healthier, more exciting, more interesting," said Betty Carr, publisher of The Etobicoke Guardian. "You are the unsung heroes...Thank you for all you do in our community. You inspire all of us."
Urban Hero Awards went to 18 individuals and three groups in the categories: Arts and Culture; Business; Community; Education; Environment; Health and Science and Sports.
Arturo Fresolone, Earla Alexander and Judith Gargaro won in the Arts and Culture category.
Elizabeth Porritt received the nod in the Business category.
The Salvation Army Lakeshore Community Church and Women's Habitat of Etobicoke shelter were recognized in the group community category.
Judy Wallace, Monique D'Sa and Cheryl Stoneburgh were individual community winners.
Jacqueline Crawley-Ewing, Jennifer Brohman and Marcia Brown received the education award.
Romana Marconi and Terry Michael Smith received accolades for their environmental work.
"The more high tech and built-up our city becomes, the more we need the restorative power of nature for our physical and mental well-being," said Smith, who works with Friends of Sam Smith Park, the Lakeshore Planning Council and Good Air, Safe Power (GASP). "Our communities and parks need lots of quiet natural spaces where we can see wildlife, where we can escape from the pressure, the rush and the concrete."
William Osler Health Centre volunteers, many of whom started with Etobicoke General Hospital 47 years ago before it was even built, gained the nod in the group health and science category.
Pia Lauretti, Jerry Higgins and Yolanda Guitar took home individual health and science awards.
Anne Colhoun, John Anga and John Tyers hit a home run with sports awards.
"It's exciting. I wasn't expecting it. It came as a great surprise," said Tyers, who won for his partnership with 22 Division Const. Ryan Drapack in launching a golf program for children eight to 18 in the Mabelle community to teach them basic golf skills, as well as social skills, respect the etiquette of the sport.
Giant Tiger at 2141 Kipling Ave., Canadian Tire at 1608 The Queensway, Humber College, Humbertown Shopping Centre, Dr. Amanpreet Chopra and Sherway Nissan sponsored the Etobicoke Guardian's 2011 Urban Hero Awards.
Visit www.urbanheroes.ca to nominate an Urban Hero for the 2012 program.