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Friendship Patch Winners

GRAND PRIZE WINNER:

Heather Saunders

Nominated by: Lisa B

Heather, aka Needlings, has been my best friend since 2009. We met through a mutual friend at the Makers Market, and basically haven't been apart since. Heather was a crafty maker inspiration for me with her cute plush owls and eye-catching outfits! Her bubbly personality and sense of humour had me instantly hooked! Our morals were perfectly aligned and we just clicked – it really was meant to be, and we didn't even know how much we would need each other yet.

The 2 of us have been through so many ups and downs over the years. She had a long-term sick father, yet was there to guide and support me through my mom's ALS diagnosis and eventual passing. She lost her step-brother while my mom was in palliative, yet still drove 3 hours to support me and my family during my mom's final days. I would be lost without Heather. After losing her father, she was then there for me again when my own dad got diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and quickly passed. Yet again, she made the 3 hour trek up to the hospital to bring me care packages while I stayed in a motel close to my dad. I don't know how I would have survived as a human without her. She got me through the 2 darkest and most difficult periods of my life.

As I am an only child with a small family, Heather and her family so lovingly accepted me into theirs and I consider her a sister – she's certainly the closest I've ever had to one.

She supports me every day – emotionally, through my traumas, through my own crafting biz – and brings such a ray of light with her. I really can't say enough beautiful things about her!

We’ve also shared so many happy times – sharing tables at shows, having tea parties and picnics, crafternoons together, road trips, collaborating on projects, you name it! We’ve walked in the rain & cried together, we’ve skipped through flower fields on sunny days laughing until our cheeks hurt!

And Heather gives the BEST hugs I’ve ever had!

People are always commenting on how lucky we are to have each other! How cute we look together, how we are #FriendshipGoals, and most recently we were described as a "Dynamic Duo" which we loved hearing! We're the perfect little pair of pals and seem to really complement each other.

We talk every single day and always go above and beyond for each other. She's so thoughtful, loving, and sweet. She's even the executor of my will because I just know she's always going to be around! She's my life long bud! I don't think there's anyone who deserves a friendship award more than she does!!! I'm so lucky she's a part of this world and of my own!!! Love her to pieces!!!

OTHER WINNERS: (in no particular order)

Kristen Woudstra

Nominated by: Em N

She has been my bestfriend for 20 years, since kindergarten. We have been through everything together, and she is always there by my side when I need her. She is kind, understanding, compassionate, and always eager to learn new things and to help out when possible. I recently came out as agender and she was the first person I told. She accepted the fact right away and asked if she could tell her family so that everyone would use my correct pronouns and prefered name. I also have been going through some health issues. She has constantly listened and comforted me as I go through testing and doctor visits. She take the time every Monday to chat with me and to see how things are going. She has been my rock through all these big changes in my life. She is my non-romatic life partner, who has helped me accept who I am. I couldn't imagine where I would be without her.

 

Christine Jensen

Nominated by: Jess A

I've never known someone who works as hard towards maintaining healthy friendships as they have. They holistically cherish and nourish their friendships!

 

Sofia McMillan

Nominated by: Natacha DS

I am nominating my daughter, Sofia. She is 12 years old and in grade 7. I wanted to nominate her for the friendship award for being such a wonderful and caring friend to her little brother Quin, who is 7. I know brothers and sisters can be close, and I have two siblings of my own that I am very close to, but I have never seen a true friendship in siblings as I see between these two. Sofia is the first to ask about how Quin's day went. She remembers if he's had an argument with a buddy, and of course always takes his side. She often tells me if there's a kid she doesn't think is a good influence on Quin...I try to remind her that they are only 7, but she is very protective. She will volunteer to read him Harry Potter for a bedtime story, and will read in a full British accent and do different voices for characters. Just the other night I realized she hadn't come down after reading to him and I went up and she was in bed asleep with him. When I woke her and told her she didn't have to do that, she said she wanted to. During the covid initial lockdown she turned our house into a shopping mall to entertain him making mall floor maps and his bedroom into a toy store where he was the manager. They'd even have staff meetings in her room, she would keep him entertained for hours, never being asked, just because she wanted to make him happy. Being a middle school teacher myself I now this is time (11-15) where a lot of changes happen and preteens and teens don't always make the right choices. It makes me so proud and my heart so full to see the kind of friend Sofia is to her brother, and I wanted to acknowledge that. Thank you.

 

Laura Hilborn

Nominated by: Nabi SB

My friend Laura is the best friend I've ever known. And not just to me- to many others! She is caring and selfless and goes out of her way ALL THE TIME to show love to her friends. She is a great listener and motivator, but she is also the bomb at making life fun. She's the spice behind every great party, and the backbone I need to get through tough times. She loves with her all, and she's not afraid to challenge her friends if she sees something that needs challenging. Laura is the friend who comes to your sibling's graduation ceremony becuase she knows it means so much to YOU. She's the friend who brings you soup when you're sick, and champagne when you're happy. She'll petsit, babysit, and/or house-sit for you at a moment's notice (and probably leave YOU flowers). She's there even when her life is hard. She's there even when she's busy. She's there even when she's sad! I love her so much and can't imagine my life without her. And I know many others feel the same way. She's just THAT amazing.

 

Meg Makins

Nominated by: Ceilidh M

Meg is one of the most incredible people I have ever known and I’m lucky enough to call her my best friend (along with lots of other nicknames like Deddy). She is incredibly thoughtful, loyal, and fun to have around. She is always open to sharing her life with others either through relationships or simply through social media. She’s always finding new ways to spread her positivity and goes out of her way to make everyone feel welcomed and loved. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t loved meeting Meg and getting to call her a friend!

 

Lena Wright

Nominated by: Stephanie M

Lena is the most outstanding person that I know! She is kind, generous, patient and always goes out of her way to uplift her friends. When I got laid off my previous job due to Covid-19, she offered to have me come stay with her and Quarantine. She generously offered to pay for groceries in exchange for my help around the house - cooking, cleaning and caring for her dog - while she worked her long shifts as a First Responder. She played it off as a mutually beneficial arrangement, but I know she came up with the idea as a way to help me out while I was in a tough spot without making it seem like a "handout". While living at her home for the first two months of the Pandemic, she helped motivate me to gain meaningful employment within the healthcare field - a field in which I am trained to work, but had been struggling to break into due to a personal set-back (which she also helped me through). Since staying with her I have been able to find an amazing job and have moved to a new city. She reached out to her brother, who has a home in the city I am now working in, and set me up with a place to live. She has been an incredibly positive influence in my life and has constantly been there to help me through both good times and bad - even when I made it difficult for her to be there for me due to my own insecurities and misplaced anger. She is so unbelievably deserving of this award, I don't know where I would be in my life without her unconditional love and support.

 

Michelle Dang

Nominated by: Jillian C

Michelle is the best friend I have ever had. She is kind, considerate, and attentive to all her friends, but this is the least of what she does. She's someone who's always there for you when you need her. She listens without diminishing your issues, and she is never judgmental. Michelle is always willing to provide you help with any problems (if you want it!), but is also ready to be an open ear if you need to vent. She's always thinking of her friends, and whenever she's out shopping or running errands, she'll buy gifts or send pictures of things she saw that reminded her of you! She is the sweetest beam of light and always brings good vibes to friend groups :)

Michelle is also an incredibly intelligent and socially responsible person. She's well informed and is always ready to teach any of her friends that want to know more! I honestly believe Michelle makes me and many of her other friends better people. I think her social responsibility also makes her a good friend to the community and to the planet. She strives to support independent businesses, and environmentally sustainable living options. She donates regularly whenever she can to various organizations. She's always ready to be a helping friend to anyone.

Michelle even reaches out in volunteer programs to be a friend to those who needed it. When Michelle went to McMaster, she participated in this volunteer peer mentoring program where she mentored a new international student (I didn't attend McMaster, so sorry I don't know the name of the program). She was a great friend to her mentee, helping her acclimate to culture in Canada, as well as helping with language barriers. Michelle also volunteered with McMaster's Pride Community Center (PCC). She used to hang out around there and provide support to other 2SLGBTQ+ people who needed it.

I believe Michelle is one of the best friends you could ever come across in life. She'll help you grow, and grow with you. She provides support and love and joy to those around her. I think its a privilege to have met her.

 

Marina Porter

Nominated by: Laura S

This is actually our 4th anniversary of becoming bffs. Literally today!!!! I interviewed Marina for a position and knew right away she was my kinda gal. The rest is herstory. We spend 44 hours per week working together yet still text each other all night! We consider each other sisters and cannot believe we found each other but are so grateful we did! She’s been a huge support in so many ways and just always knows what to say to put me at ease. We laugh SO hard together and can truly be ourselves with each other. She is my other half and my bestie forever! Marina Porter rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

Dayla Fuentes-Morales

Nominated by: Haylie D

Dayla is such a beautiful individual. From her soul to her skin, she radiates sunshine-gold energy. I’ve always thought of her as the sun; warm and smiley all year round. She likes to adventure and experience new places, even if it’s just around the block. She hates when it’s getting to that time to go to our separate homes and end our easygoing chill days. We love getting cheese and crackers, it doesn’t ever need to be a special occasion, but it is especially nice when we were both working a late shift and after could go sit by the lake to watch the moon on the waves. I never thought I would be lucky enough to find a best friend through work. We survived a friend breakup with another person who came and left our duo. That’s when it was confirmed to us how solid we were. Dayla motivates me in every aspect of my life. She had helped me grow immensely as a person, especially when I have self-doubts. She deserves this award and so much more! I appreciate her every day. We both agree that we are soul mates, or twin flames, either one of the two but really just destined to be friends. Just like the moon and sun, I shine when she’s around!

 

Amanda Wright

Nominated by: Stef D

Amanda's been my best friend for a while. Like, we've acknowledged the title. She's always been kind, supportive, loving, and not just to me but to so many people, including many who definitely don't always see it. But a few weeks ago, I was in an accident and fractured my collarbone and ended up having to have surgery. Amanda has advocated for me, cleaned my apartment, picked up supplies, helped me shower, literally helped me get dressed, fed me, and kept me sane all the way through it. Living alone with a major injury in a pandemic could have been the worst, but she has made me feel so cared for. She's an incredible business owner and health administrator and advocate and I am a better person every day because of her. I wish everyone had an Amanda.

 

Taylor Jade Andersson

Nominated by: Alexandra T

TJ and I have been best friends since 2017. We now live in different cities and due to busy work schedules and the pandemic, it is very hard for us to get together. Although that hasn’t stopped us from being each other’s rock. Talking all day, every day, for the last three years has provided me with one of the best friendships a girl could have asked for. TJ deserves the world and more for always being there for me with the best advice, but she ESPECIALLY deserves this award to treat herself to a new wardrobe

 

Valerie Preston

Nominated by: Dalí F

I met this lovely human last year when our babies were just 3 months old - and I am so beyond thankful everyday that I came across her on “mom tinder” aka the Peanut app. She has helped me tremendously through a number of difficult times - from mom life to relationships and all of the ups and downs and in betweens. She’s also my go to when I need a good food rec. in Hamilton as she knows alllll the good spots. She deserves a treat for herself because she really does carry the whole team on her back - she’s a wonderful mom, thoughtful spouse, and an incredible friend. I love this lady with my whole heart.

 

Karina Lusink

Nominated by: Emily G

Karina is a once in a lifetime and beyond friend. She inspires me to be my most authentic person. Since being her friend, she has helped me discover what it is to embrace myself even when I’m having my worst of days. That you can radiate positivity, but that it’s so normal for those bad days to get some attention too. This has been so freeing for someone like myself with anxiety and depression, and that’s been really amazing learning from her. Karina is always there for a chat about anything, she’s kind, funny, creative, real. She’s just the most genuine, well rounded gal I’ve ever met and she deserves some recognition!

 

Elizabeth Aumonier

Nominated by: Emily G

Elizabeth and I have been the best of pals for 17 years, she is the kind of friend that you joke about saying she’d “go to prison for you” or “give the shirt off her back for you” and both are very true statements. She’s the kind of person that will always answer her phone even if it’s 3am, she’s you’re greatest hype man, she’s small but mighty- just salt of the earth human. I’m so lucky to have her in my life. She’s been there for me through all my major life’s challenges having been friends so long, and has helped me through most if not all of them, and I’m forever grateful for her friendship. She makes life better.

 

Jennifer Wedlake

Nominated by: Heather S

As a new mom, and new to the area, Jennifer has been my go-to person for advice, post partum support, who comes over so I can have a shower or work out together. I’ve relied on her friendship so much thought the pandemic (being far away from friends) and I don’t know what I would’ve done without her in my life!

 

Amy McIntosh

Nominated by: Leah K

Amy's been my solid friend for 10 years now! We never fight, she always responds to my ranting texts, phone calls, and drop ins with understanding, supportive words and humour. Amy is a top notch person and I'm soooo glad she's my friend. Last spring she dropped by and gave me a giant fern just because she felt like it.

 

Emily Kosakowski

Nominated by: Kassandra M

Sometimes affection is shown in grand gestures and those are always over the top and magnificent. Sometimes it’s taking world trips together, lots of events and are together all the time. And that’s great. But sometimes it can be small intimate moments between two friends who love each other as a whole individual. Both ways to show friendship and love is valid. But -Emily is all about the small moments and the value they hold. She shows friendship by checking in at least once a week to me and her other friends and family. Opening up the communication and mind space to talk through anything if you need to. Not just a “how are you?” but a “what are you feeling this week? Do you need to talk?”. It’s moments like inviting me to her family cottage that her grandfather and family built and telling me the history and importance and making me feel like I’m apart of the memory of it by visiting it. It’s inviting me over to meet her family, being welcomed in with open arms and hearts. Being shown that family is not just who you’re blood related too. It’s the comfortability and ease of just being able to get a coffee and sit in the car together to discuss what’s new. It’s all those little moments and hundreds of more examples that makes Emily a best friend.

 

Cath Craig

Nominated by: Samantha B

I have had the hardest year, and I’ve needed a friend to lean on, but I’m afraid of being too much, leaning too hard. Cath has been there, but most importantly, been there with super healthy boundaries - she listens and cares and validates and also says, I’m so glad you have a therapist to speak to, and, is there anyone else you have shared this with? It has taught me not only how safe I am and how lovely adult friendship can be but also how to protect your own self while helping a friend. She stays in the boat, she doesn’t judge, and she doesn’t let herself come down with me. That’s worth a friendship award.

 

Fatemah Shamkhi

Nominated by: Noor S

My best friend Fatemah has the most beautiful energy and captivates everyone that crosses paths with her. She sees the different perspectives of others even when she doesn’t agree with them. She has such a passion for life and we want to explore the whole world together. She helps me work through my anxieties and encourages me to reflect. She’s the most wonderful person I’ve ever met and nobody deserves this award more than her.

 

Emily Gagne

Nominated by: Candis N

I am blessed with a great sister but I swear Emily and I were sisters in another life. I've never met anyone as caring and selfless as her. We've been friends since the first day of university (over 10 years). She will do and drop anything for the ones she loves. She remembers important upcoming dates. She has sent me several care packages during covid from my favourite shops and artists take sure I'm feeling loved even though we're apart. She got me a cameo from a Gilmore girls actress for my birthday. I could go on..not to mention how much she loves your store and every outfit matches your esthetic.


She is just a true gem of a human being who hasn't been without her own hardship as we all have. She fought to be successful in a media industry where jobs are few. Supported herself as a freelance writer to pursue her dream. Taken care of her elderly grandfather with bipolar disorder. All while managing her own mental health issues. She truly is my hero and she is now a successful writer for Hollywood Suite and had the courage to raise money to write / direct her first short film which is currently in the circuit right now.

She is lovely and punny and I honestly can't think of anyone who deserves this patch more than she does. She never judges and helps me through all my dark times and she will always be there even in the middle of the night.

I love my friend Emily very dearly, and I hope this small glimpse into her as a friend will encourage you to consider her for this award..

 

Samantha Floren

Nominated by: Laura S

Samm is the best pal ever!! She always encourages me to “live my best life.” Recently I’ve separated from my partner, and Samm has been there for me. She just gets me, and is super supportive and kind. She’s also a super star social service worker, who’s gone back to school to get her bachelor of social work. Samm always tries her very best with everything she does, and that is why she is the best friend ever!

 

Laura Sorbara

Nominated by: Samantha F

If there was a "you are absolutely my chosen family" award, Laura would get it. I am SO lucky to have Laura in my life as my friend. Laura is the most supportive person in my life - I can tell her absolutely anything and she reacts with empathy, kindness, and of course a little bit of dark humour. She encourages me every single day to remember my worth and value. Let's be real, she's my platonic life partner and absolutely deserves the friendship award.

 

Mieke Samara

Nominated by: Ciara M

I’ve always admired my good friend Mieke Samara ever since we first met through our running group four years ago. I thought she was easy to talk to and the conversation always flowed. We shared the same taste in music and books and a similar weird sense of humour.

She also had this quiet confidence. Sometimes on runs she would quietly leave our pack of runners, throw on her headphones and sprint, leaving us in her dust. She is a natural athlete and floats when she runs. It‘s really amazing to watch.

She is a Child and Youth Care Practitioner at HWDSB and works with children who need more support. She is gentle and kind and has a passion for helping people. She just has this natural ability to connect with others and to be a guiding light for those who need it the most.

These days, our usual running meet ups have turned into play dates with our kids. She cares deeply for her children, Marlowe and Hayden. I’ve learned so much from her and I try to emulate her approach to motherhood. She eases my worries about the challenges you encounter as your child goes through developmental milestones and helps me laugh about my imperfections. She gives me comfort and reassurance every step of the way as I raise my own son.

Even when she’s going through difficult periods in her life she wants to help me with issues in my life. And it’s always the best advice that gets me right back on track.

I don’t know what I’d do without her. I’m so lucky to call her my pal. She is truly a beautiful person who deserves this friendship award!

 

Emily Meilleur

Nominated by: Betta P

I have known Emily for almost 8 years now and I feel like the two of us have grown together in so many ways. Emily is always there to support me whether it is with work, art, or just being someone I can vent my problems too. I am especially grateful that Emily has been a constant during this pandemic, their FaceTime calls have truly added joy to some of my more lonely days of living alone. Emily isn't only a great friend to me but she is a great friend to so many others who I am sure would echo my sentiments and that is why I feel as though she is deserving of this award!

 

Jenna Azzam

Nominated by: Ilda A

Jenna is turning 17 this October 31st, 2020. Two years ago on her 15th birthday her older sister gave birth to twin boys.   She struggled with recovering from a c-section and the emotional rollercoaster that mothering twin boys comes with. Jenna was there for her everyday after school!! and every hour on the weekends.   The boys were hospitalized at three months and Jenna never left their side. She is the most incredible aunt and sister you can imagine. The boys are almost two now and whenever I (step-grandma) am watching them at home, Jenna always lends a hand. She is so devoted to her family and always treats everyone with love, and respect. She is everyones best friend:)

 

Amber Orr

Nominated by: Kate O

Amber deserves to win the friendship patch because she has been my best friend for 5 years. Ever since we became friends she has always been everything I have ever needed in a human. She always makes me feel like my best, funnies, happiest and most true self. We have always had a passion for cinema and comedy. Our dreams are to be a team of female directors that produce comedy. This has reflected in our friendship everyday, as we keep a journal that includes everything funny and meaningful that has happened while we are together. Amber is the person in my life who is always there for me everyday and helps me through any trouble I have. She always makes me feel as though what I'm feeling or have experienced is valid and reasonable. I'm nominating Amber because she makes my everyday life better through helping me to understand the beauty and importance in life.

 

Anasimone George

Nominated by: Dema T

She was my first roommate when I moved to Toronto. I grew up very sheltered and didn’t have the opportunity to feel beautiful and appreciative to be a woman. She helped me with self confidence, patience and learned how to take care of people around me, who then took care of me. We’ve been friends for over 7 years and I now hang out with her family and go to several extended family weddings. We’re sisters now! Go Ana!!!

 

 

Meaghan Lardie

Nominated by: Linneah T

I first met Meaghan when I was the only grade 9 student on a senior band trip and our teacher told her to be nice to me. She was either a really good student or a truly wonderful person because we have been best friends ever since. Immensely talented, funny, and kind, she is my safe place to land. No matter what I've encountered in my life - mental illness, physical illness, heartbreak, celebration, professional successes and failures, she's been there. She holds me accountable to my decisions and lifts me up when things backfire. She's introduced me to people, places, and businesses in Hamilton that have become my very favourites (including GOTW!!!). Every time I get to see her we pick up right where we left off, even after years or even months apart. She's the only person I'll share my favourite musician with because she's the only person who won't look at me weird when he makes me cry (she's also crying). For my 17th birthday, when all I wanted was a cat, she found a way to get me a pet cat in the form of a build-a-bear. Peggy the cat travelled all over the world with me as a way to keep my best friend by my side. Meaghan loves celebrating other people but honestly I can't think of anyone more worth celebrating than her. I could go on forever. Everything she is to me, she also is to other people and I think she downplays how much we all depend on her. She is the definition of chosen family and has adopted so many people. The second we need her, she's there. She carries our weight with such grace and compassion; it's an honour to do the same thing for her.
Meaghan works as a Child & Youth Worker and treats her clients with as much love as she does her friends and family, which proves how big her heart is. Most people I know don't have that capacity.She is the other half of my heart and the love of my life and I feel so lucky to know her.

Sophie Hornsveld

Nominated by: Esther H

Not only did Sophie share her entire life with me (being my twin), she has also talked me off the ledge many times, encouraged me to start new adventures, and has tagged along with some of my adventures (which I often thought would be a solo event, until she shows up).   Sophie is a fierce advocate for anyone who is going through a rough time (which during COVID- aren't we all), she is the second person I call (after my husband) when I am having a good or bad day, and she does an excellent job of calling me out on my bullshit. I honestly don't know where I would be without her support

 

Stacey Alllen-Cillis

Nominated by: Jenn S

I have known Stacey for over 30 years. She is one of the most kind-hearted, empathetic humans I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Just being in her aura is soothing and invigorating all at once.   Though Stacey has had her share of devastating curveballs thrown at her, she is always there to lend an ear or a hand. She intuitively sends a song or a love note just when you need it most. She carves time out of her insanely busy days to do things for others. Through life's peaks and valleys, she is a unwavering source of strength for her friends. 16 years ago, when my premature triplets were born, she was there when I needed her. Her love shone on me throughout my separation and first solo house-buying adventure, supporting with words, tear-wiping, vodka-fuelled dancing, and mean paint roller skills. When my sister-in-law tragically had a heart attack 2 years ago and was in a coma, Stacey dropped everything to be with me at her bedside, holding me while doctors 'pulled the plug'. A year later, she comforted me when my dad passed suddenly, and again 2 weeks ago when my aunt suddenly died. She always knows exactly what to say. She is thoughtful and loving, full of grace and goofiness.   Her 2 children have been blessed to call her mum. Some of my fondest memories are of times spent with Stacey; the full-throttle laughs, with her head tossed-back, brilliant blue eyes gleaming with mischief. Some souls are bonded in the ether; I truly believe Stacey and I will forever be a dynamic duo, on earth and in the stars.

 

 

Graziella Weldon

Nominated by: Sara B

Graz is someone who is always there for the people she loves and cares about. She is always willing to leaned a hand and help out when needed. She’s a great friend and business owner. She pours he whole heart into creating a space for people to enjoy food, drink, art and community.

I got to know Graz, at Toast, when her and Stu would stop by for a drink and a chat after work. Through these visits we began a friendship and a partnership. We chatted about our hopes and dreams for our businesses and the community in which we shared. From that sprung the Gore Park Christmas market.

We worked together on that project for three years and saw it grow to be a pretty successful event.

Through working together on this project we became great friends. When, I was making the decision to close Toast, she was there offering me support, guidance and of course a glass of wine! She helped me look at all my options and ultimately come to my final conclusion of closing.

Now I have the honor of working for her.   I get to see what a good friend she is to all her employees and to all her customers. She greets everyone with a loving hello and offers an ear to anyone who needs it. I know first hand owning a business, can sometimes wear on a person and you may even lose a bit of the love you have for that space and the people. But, Graz doesn’t seem to have lost any of that. She is one of the most giving and loving people I know.

While, I know I nominate Graz for the friendship category I do believe she could also fit into the community one as well. As, she has built a Beautiful community within her space at RedChurch, supporting her staff, customers and local artist and art programs.

 

Lara Kruzins

Nominated by: Sarah R

Lara was there for me through the scariest time in my life - at the beginning of Covid, deciding to leave my husband, my career and my home in Los Angeles to return to Canada. She even flew down to California mid-pandemic to help me and my dog drive all the way back to Toronto AND quarantined with me after.
We have been friends for nearly 20 years and she is the one friend I know I can count on to always have my back in a real put-up and show-up way. And now she is helping me navigate my new life with sage advice and unwavering kindness and support. Oh! And we create together too! We are a bit of a yin-yang to each other and I don’t know what I would do without her. She’s simply the best friend anyone could ever wish for!

 

Charelle St-Aubin

Nominated by: Émilie G

They have been with me through thick and thin. There is never any obligation to talk, no pressure for either of us to do anything, and because of that we have a very strong bond. She’s the strongest and one of the most selfless people I know, a superstar at competing with her inner demons and STILL wanting to help everyone around her. She is beautiful and kind, and has taught me so much.

 

Annie Webber

Nominated by: Ariel B-S

Annie is one of the warmest and most caring people I've ever known. From the moment that we met (I was subletting her my apartment and we immediately got on so well) I'm always inspired by her to be a more compassionate human. She is so full of life. I admire her fearlessness. She is an artist and educator, and I love that she describes herself as a children's advocate -- she has totally changed the way that I orient myself around kids and young people, and even the child in how she engages play and care. Even just a smile from her makes you feel warm and welcome. These past months have been painful without being able to hug, because she really gives good hugs too. How long can I go on about Annie?? She's the gosh darn best.

 

 

Emily Gaudet

Nominated by: Brody D

Emily is my fiancé but also my best friend. We’ve been through so much together and helped each other through more. With myself struggling w/ mental health- Emily has always been there no questions asked, doing her best to help me through the hard days. She doesn’t judge, she gives honest advice, and always wants the best for everyone she’s friends with. She inspires me to do good every day. And if you ever need a laugh, she will do any silly thing to make you laugh even if it makes her look way too silly.

 

 

Elisabetta Paiano

Nominated by: Emily M

I'm so glad that the friendship patch description asks if your nominee makes you your best self, because I'm so lucky to be able to say yes. Betta has been my best friend for going on seven years now, and your initiative makes me wish I could have given her this award every year since. We met at the end of grade 10 and became close the following year, at a difficult time for me personally. She was the first person I ever came out to aloud—on day with huge cinematic snowflakes falling, of course—and I am so grateful for her. She has shown me unwavering support for what seems like forever, and I really am my best self because of her. Her pisces energies show my gemini self how to feel things authentically, and I'm so grateful to laugh and cry and feel it all with her! She unequivocally deserves to be recognized for being my other half; I admire her and what she teaches me about friendship everyday.

 

Ashley Lalonde

Nomianted by: Andrea D

Listen here! Ashley Lalonde is a world class pal, and I’m here to let everyone know! In the past year, Ashley’s life has truly been uprooted; she has started a new position in a new community, switched her daughter’s school, and handled the daily challenges of being a teacher during the current COVID crisis. In the past month specifically, to add to her plate, Ashley’s parents suffered a detrimental house fire, which greatly effected her father’s health, and placed her parents in a hotel for the foreseeable future. None of this - and I mean, none of this - has slowed Ashley down or dimmed her sparkle. She has continued to be the friend who calls daily for as long as you need, and never feels rushed sharing her time with you; sends the memes you need to see on a crummy day to make you laugh; starts your day off with an inspirational good morning quote before you even wake up; drops by your house with a coffee and donuts because she simply thought of you; etc. She goes above and beyond, even when she rightfully has no extra to give, because she truly cherishes her friends. I want to work with Girl on The Wing to spoil Ashley the way that she not only deserves, but the way she spoils me, her colleagues, her family, and all her friends. She deserves recognition (and more!) for the pure quality she has brought to my life.  

 

Tahra Ingham

Nominated by: Ruth ML

The day we met, Tahra was wearing a flower crown and a warm smile. I had a feeling she was someone special immediately. We became roommates soon after and have been friends ever since. I had no idea how much fun we would have over the years (soooo much!). I was new to Toronto and feeling anxious. She instantly put me at ease. We spent hundreds of hours walking around the city exploring. She knew the best vintage sellers, thrift stores, bakeries and corner grocers. She backed me up when I faced overt (and covert) racism (I’m Black, she’s white). Not having to constantly explain why things were a problem was always such a relief. I can always rely on her for an honest opinion. Her sense of style is fun, wonderfully colourful and whimsical, just like Girl on the Wing. I live in Ottawa now, but we still talk everyday. We laugh until we cry regularly. Tahra is one of the funniest, most encouraging people I have ever known. I’d love her to have a moment this year to let loose and have fun. The cooler seasons are our favourite, and this would be a great way to celebrate.