Chibougamau hosted 150 people for the Regional Quebec 2011 Tourism Awards Gala on March 10. Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come was on hand to congratulate the winners. Also attending were Oujé-Bougoumou Chief Louise Wapachee and Mistissini Deputy Chief John S. Matoush, Ungava MNA Luc Ferland, Lebel-sur-Quévillon Mayor Gérald Lemoyne (also Mayor of the infamous Municipality of Baie-James), Chapais Mayor Steve Gamache and, last but not least, the host, Chibougamau Mayor Manon Cyr.

Everyone agreed that both James Bay Tourism and Eeyou Istchee Tourism made the night one to remember.

The winners were: Rocky Neeposh, fishing guide for Awashish Outdoor Adventures in Mistissini; Sylvie Cauchon, owner of the Gîte de la Rivière, Dulieux Lake; Dany Girard, personality of the year in tourism as volunteer for the Festival du doré Baie-James; Thomas Coon and René Savage, co-presidents of Eeyou Istchee / Baie-James ACCORD Tourism Niche Committee; Dany Aubin and Patrick Bélisle, chef and assistant chef at Le Bistro restaurant in the Chibougamau Hotel; and Gaston Cooper of Oujé-Bougoumou, communication and marketing officer at the Cree Native Arts and Crafts Association.

Six special mentions were awarded to individuals and enterprises involved in tourism. The mentions went to Annie Berthelot, Anie Morin and Éric Simard, the three volunteers who initiated La Petite Séduction project in Lebel-sur-Quévillon; Rose Blackned, manager of the Kanio Kashee Lodge in Waskaganish; the city of Chibougamau for the Stevenson Lake trail in Obalski Park; and finally to the Economic Development Corporation of Chapais, for the Campbell Lake trail.

Marie-Christine Mailhiot, the president of Baie-James Tourism, and Sherman Herodier, the president of Eeyou Istchee Tourism, would like to congratulate the award winners and special recognition recipients.

Again this year, several sponsors were present and their contributions made the evening a success: Caisses Desjardins, main sponsor of the gala, Tourisme Québec, the Baie-James Development Society, the SADCs of Northern Quebec, the City of Chibougamau, Oujé-Bougoumou Eenouch Association, Oujé-Bougoumou Eenou Company, the Cree Nation of Mistissini, Nemaska Development Corporation, Hydro-Québec, Ungava MNA Luc Ferland, the Baie-James Municipality, the City of Chapais, the City of Matagami, the City of Lebel-sur-Quevillon, the Baie-James Conférence régionale des élus, the Cree Construction and Development Company, the Cree Nation of Eastmain, the Cree Nation of Waswanipi, the Cree Nation of Wemindji, the Cree Regional Authority / Board of Compensation, Air Creebec, the magazine the Nation / Beesum Communications, the Air Creebec Destinations magazine, Le Jamésien newspaper, La Sentinelle newspaper, Planète Radio 93.5, CIAU FM Radisson and CHEF Radio 99.9.

Such an outstanding contribution from regional organizations illustrates their continued interest in tourism. With their renewed support and presence, year after year, these sponsors demonstrate the importance of rewarding excellence and of recognizing the innovation and know-how of the men and women who weave the fabric of our tourism industry.