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Joyce Brennan Award

Annual Joyce Brennan Award for outstanding contributions to  the local arts and culture sector by an individual.

 History of the Joyce Brennan Award

This annual award was inaugurated in 2011 and is given in honour of the late Joyce Brennan, a founding member of the Rideau Canal Museum Board and the Heritage House Museum, a town councillor and a founding member of the Smiths Falls & District Arts & Culture Council board.

In 2019 SFDACC expanded the Joyce Brennan to two categories of awards, one to recognize a young person’s (18 and under) contribution and one to recognize an adult’s contribution to arts and culture.

Our Previous recipients

 Award for 2019
Susan Richards

Susan Richards was the recipient of the award for years of contributions to many of artistic and cultural experiences primarily the Celebration of Lights and Movies Under the Stars.


“Susan always finds ways in which she can better her community either by taking charge of projects or working behind the scenes," s.aid Lynda Daniluk of the SFDACC


Richards told the Record News. “For me, whether it is offering support to a parent of

a child with a disability, sitting on a committee, providing free outdoor movies or

Christmas light displays, helping someone on Facebook to find a product or service,

or sharing information about an upcoming event on my Community Events page, i

t is always about helping others in some way.”


Richards said the Celebration of Lights and Movies Under the Stars are two of her

favourite events. “I know (they) had an impact on tens of thousands of people over

the past eight years,” she said. “Seeing that smile on someone’s face as they enjoyed

our event is all the recognition I needed, but it is an honour to be recognized by the

Smiths Falls & District Arts & Culture Council for my contributions to our


 Youth Award for 2019

Seth Philion

This year we are thrilled to have Seth Philion receive the inaugural  Joyce Brennan Youth Award. SFDCI staff nominated Seth Philion, in fact they stated that staff unanimously felt he was the most deserving of all the students for this Arts & Culture award. 


Seth is a very strong academic student, in fact, award winning. He excels in music and he continues to make wonderful contributions to the music program while being himself a most talented pianist.  He always is one of the first to become part of the school band and volunteers his talent in the school’s fundraiser cafe's and other music presentations. He is a recognized leader by his peers for his commitment and talent. In fact, not only does he volunteer to play at these events he continually encourages other students to get involved.


But there is more, Seth is incredibly passionate about his music, not only is he a talented classical pianist, he can also play more contemporary music, such as that of Frank Sinatra or Dean Martin. But he does more than just learn to play pieces of music, he goes much deeper always doing in-depth studies into the history of the artists, whether the aforementioned “Frank” or “Dean” but also Mozart and other classical geniuses always wanting to know why they wrote a particular piece of music. He is consummate fan of Opera and is learning other instruments beside piano, such as French Horn to round out his repertoire.


Seth is a strong public speaker and he tutors French to other students. Oh, and he is also an athlete, school football defence Captain. It’s easy to see why SFDCI staff chose to nominate this Grade 12 student for the Joyce Brennan award, for his positive contributions to the arts and culture of school and community and always being willing to share his artistic talent as well as actively working to broaden the artistic experiences of his peers.

Susan Richards and Seth Philion, 2019 Recipients of the Joyce Brennan Award



If you don't already recognize the name Peter Au, you are missing out. Peter is a real force in this town. Both supporting of arts in multiple forms and showcasing many of the town's cultural aspects.


He was instrumental in the formation of REAL in 1989. REAL is responsible for maintaining the presence of Evergreen Avenue which honors residents who have made substantial community contributions. Other organizations Peter volunteers his time to are, the Rideau Roundtable and Trinity United Church, where he is also a member of the choir and other groups within the church structure.


The Rideau Roundtable is an incorporated, not-for-profit, association of individuals, community organizations and government agencies that focuses on the environment, the history and the cultural significance of the Rideau River, the Rideau Canal Waterway, the Cataraqui River and their respective watersheds. The focus of their programs include heritage tourism,  cultural and natural landscape conservation, new options for Waterway governance, outdoor education, recreation and much more.

As if that wasn't enough Peter is also a member of the Chinese Community Association and the Local Immigration Partnership and "lastly" he is co-chair of Paddlefest, an annual cultural event celebrating the Rideau, with live music, activities, food and door prizes.


Peter's tireless promotion of the town and involvement in multiple organizations that showcase local arts & culture, including providing opportunities for youth involvement make him the perfect choice for this year's Joyce Brennan Award.


 Award for 2018

Peter Au

Emily Duberville is the mother of two who has lived in Smiths Falls with her family for the last 28 years. Her “day job” for 20 years was teaching at our local Nursery Rhyme daycare, where she used “free exploration” of multimedia.

She proudly explained this method saying,

“They explore the materials and do what they want to do.”

Each child was encouraged to create their own personal style and as a result many of her former students have won awards for their art work in later years and attribute this, in part, to those
early experiences.

Emily, an artist in her own right, was one of the original members of the Smiths Falls and District Arts Council serving on the executive for several years as its secretary.

It seemed to be a natural fit for Emily to volunteer her talents at the local Station Theatre and we know the Smiths Falls Community Theatre was lucky to have her as she applied her considerable skills in so many areas; directing, costuming, scenery, set dressing, makeup.

In short, whatever was needed to help with a production.

Her real love is working with young people.  This lead to her directing the theater's annual Christmas pageant with great success. The show nearly sells out every year.

As if this wasn’t enough, Emily is also a playwright. FORT HEMLOCK is an adaptation to a Smiths Falls legend using a child friendly point of view and is her first produced play which was very big success. 
The Smiths Falls Community Theatre showcased it at the Station Theatre the summer of 2017. It filled the seats, received high praise and was enjoyed by all ages.

Here is a sample of what audiences members said:
"Hats off to everyone for a fabulous premiere!"
“The sets were wonderful – transforming a street scene to a
hotel was amazing to watch,” said Nancy Grundy from North Gower, “And the kids were
really fun.”
It is time for our town through this prestigious award, to recognize the theatrical and visual arts.  It is very fitting to have the recipient for 2017 be Emily Duberville.


 Award for 2017

Emily Duberville

 Award for 2016

Nancy Keech

In 2016, Nancy Keech was recognized by this award for her many contributions to the arts community such as developing a vibrant theatre program at SFDCI and initiating several course units that involve outreach in the community such as the Grade 11 children’s theatre show with students writing and producing plays that address character education, and then performing throughout the Smiths Falls region. Her former students continue to acknowledge how she has benefited them in their career endeavours and love of the arts. She is also an accomplished playwright, having written musicals over many years for SFDCI students to have the opportunity to participate in.

 Award for 2015

Karen Schecter

In 2015, Karen Schecter received this award for her tireless efforts in the area of art and culture which include innovative programming at the library, providing high quality international films for Smiths Falls and heading up the Smiths Falls component of Film Night International. 

 Award for 2014

Anne Shropshire

In 2014, in appreciation of her work to bring the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario into the forefront as a successful facility, and for her contributions on the local Municipal Heritage Committee, the award went to Anne Shropshire. She also sat on the Smiths Falls Arts and Culture Task Force in 2011 which led to the establishment of our arts council. 

 Award for 2013

Bill Hamilton and Nancy Berthiaume

In 2013, Bill Hamilton and Nancy Berthiaume were handed the award for a decade of work at the Station Theatre, public library and many other places. It was presented at the Kinsman Community Pavilion in Lower Reach Park

 Award for 2012

Pat Foulkes

In 2012, Pat Foulkes won the award. Due to Pat’s ongoing illness, her husband Tom accepted it on her behalf at the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario. A past president of the Canadian Federation of University Women, Pat founded the Volunteer Fair and the Friends of the Library. Friends of the Library runs the Film Night International film series running currently at the Station Theatre. She also was a stalwart supporter of the Station Theatre project and ongoing contributor of theatre productions in Smiths Falls. 

 Award for 2011

Joyce Brennan

In 2011, the first Joyce Brennan Award was presented posthumously to Joyce Brennan. It was accepted by her son, Councillor Jay Brennan, at the newly-built Smiths Falls Memorial Community Centre.

Peter Au
Emily Durberville
Susan Richards
Nancy Keech
Karen Schecter
Anne Shropshire
Bill Hamilton and Nancy Berthiaum
Pat Foulkes
Joyce Brennan
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