The Cree Village Ecolodge in Moose Factory has bragging rights for the next year.

The MoCreebec business won the national Air Canada Business of the Year Award in the single unit category on October 24 from the Tourism Industry Association of Canada.

“We were pleasantly surprised,” said MoCreebec Chief Randy Kapashesit. “These awards are national in scope and not Aboriginal-specific. So we weren’t sure we’d be able to win, but are honoured.”

The category was judged on the following criteria:

1. Excellence in the field of endeavour

2. Contribution to Tourism

3. Sustainability of Tourism

4. Description of accomplishments

5. Objectives and Evaluation

6. Visitors’ Expectations

7. Human Resource Management

8. Professionalism and Image

As the first Indigenous Ecolodge in North America, the 20-room (total capacity 44 guests) Ecolodge offers many firsts in the hospitality sector with emphasis on energy efficiency, organic and natural products throughout.

When asked what the award means to the MoCreebec people, Kapashesit said, “The award means the most to the people who work at the lodge, the employees who put in the effort throughout the year. We’re proud of them and their efforts.”

“(The award) means we have something to look forward to throughout the year. This is a measuring tool, that’s the message we take from it.”

Kapashesit credits Kathleen McIntyre, a journalist who came up in the winter and summer to experience the area, with opening their eyes to the award.

“She nominated us and because of her efforts, we won,” he said. “She went winter camping in the area, took part in summer activities and interacted with

elders and that’s what convinced her to nominate us. She essentially made others aware that we exist. It was fortunate for us that someone took the initiative to do this.”