2020 Awards Recipients

The City of Duncan presents awards each year to residents who demonstrate excellence in the fields of arts, sports and long-term service to the community. On December 7, 2020, the annual awards were presented a little different; through electronic meeting platform.  it is available for public viewing through the City’s portal.  This year’s awards were provided to:

Duncan Volunteer Fire Hall Oath of Office

Warren Ruiter Captain
Leanne Closson Assistant Chief
Wray B. Watson Deputy Chief

2020 Perpetual Arts Trophy – Alex Gallagher

Actor, director, teacher, family man and hockey fan Alex Gallagher is more than worthy of receiving the City of Duncan’s coveted, 2020 Perpetual Arts Trophy.

For nearly three decades the Duncan homeboy has helped lead and grow the esteemed Shawnigan Players, directing a suite of its plays including The Ugly Man, Othello, and many others works spanning drama, comedy, tragedy, satire, and suspense.

Alex has also helped direct the Players’ annually popular Cowichan Valley Shakespeare Festival. It stages two of the Bard’s works each summer with some, such as Macbeth, never having been previously staged in Cowichan.

Alex, who is principal of Cobble Hill’s Evergreen Independent School, also hit the boards himself as the Players’ lead in Shakespeare’s dark tragedy Hamlet.

In fact, affable Alex’s son, William, was named by he and wife Breann to honour the Bard.

Alex appeared too in the educational troupe’s One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and many other memorable plays, including some staged by Cowichan’s The Mercury Players.

Alex also enlightened the stage as Professor Higgins in the Cowichan Musical Society’s hit music My Fair Lady, and in CMS’ Scottish treasure Brigadoon.

He is now rehearsing the Evil Queen role in the zany Christmas pantomime Snow White, a collaboration between the Shawnigan and Mercury players, and CMS.

Why Hollywood or Broadway has never discovered Alex is a mystery!

Alex joins other talented Cowichanians whether as artists, patrons, or teachers — including master painter E.J. Hughes, who earned the Perpetual Arts Award through selfless contributions to Cowichan Valley arts.

Congratulations Alex Gallagher as this year’s 2020 Perpetual Arts Award. Break a leg!

We thank the Cowichan Valley Arts Council who worked closely with the City in selecting this year’s recipient. In honour of her award, Alex was given a carved wooden box from artist Robert Andrew of Mayne Island.

2020 Perpetual Trophy for Excellence and Sportsmanship – Tom Veenstra

As the athletic director at Duncan Christian School, Tom Veenstra is tireless.

Tom puts an incredible amount of time and effort into his responsibilities, going well and above what is expected.

For a school of such a small size, Duncan Christian regularly hosts a plethora of tournaments and other events, including Island and provincial championships in volleyball, basketball and soccer, and is typically among the contenders for at least one or two Island or provincial titles each year.

This isn’t just beneficial to the school, where spirit and morale is always impressive, but also to the community, as the tournaments hosted by DCS bring hundreds of athletes and their families to Duncan and the Cowichan Valley, where they need meals and hotel rooms. Tom has also been a supporter of larger events in the Cowichan Valley, such as the North American Indigenous Games and BC Summer Games.

Duncan Christian School received the BC School Sports Outstanding School Award for 2006-2007 and remains the only school in the Cowichan Valley to receive the award.

Just this fall, Duncan Christian School took part in the BC School Sports Cross-Country Pandemic Challenge, which encouraged schools across B.C. to run their own cross-country races and report not only runners’ times but also participation rates. DCS was No. 1 in its category, with the most students participating among schools with high school populations of 175 students or fewer.

This barely begins to tell the story of Tom Veenstra’s contributions to Duncan Christian School and to the wider Cowichan Valley sports community.

Congratulations Tom Veenstra as this year’s 2020 Perpetual Trophy for Excellence Sportsmanship. Congratulations Tom!


If you would like to nominate an individual for a 2021 award, please download an application form from the Forms & Applications page.