Gail Church and Rachelle Lecours receive Mayor’s City Builder Award

Published on
November 9, 2022
Council, committees and City Hall
Home and community

Mayor Jim Watson, with Councillor Catherine McKenney and Councillor Catherine Kitts, recognized Rachelle Lecours and Gail Church’s dedication to the community at today’s City Council meeting by presenting them with the Mayor’s City Builder Award. 

Gail Church is recognized as a city builder for her contributions to the national capital region as a financial and professional volunteer. She has been a strong advocate for more affordable housing and she is recognized for her commitment to social justice. In the 1980s, Ms. Church became manager of finance and administration at the Cooperative Housing Federation of Canada – an organization that played a vital role in bringing affordable, community-controlled housing to a quarter of a million Canadians. She later became director of finance and administration with Somerset West Community Health Centre, where she remained for 20 years. 

Since moving to Ottawa 40 years ago, she has also been a leader in developing local and national organizations, including the Ottawa Community Credit Union, Abiwin Co-operative, the Ottawa Community Housing Corporation, the Funeral Cooperative of Ottawa, and Cooperative d’Appartements des Jardins in Chinatown. Throughout her life, Ms. Church rejected invitations to pursue a more lucrative career, choosing instead to reserve her talents for our community. She has been a fierce advocate for more affordable housing, and her commitment to social justice has been prominent and unwavering. 

Rachelle Lecours has been a passionate advocate and volunteer in her community for more than 14 years. After retiring from public service in 2000, Ms. Lecours became involved with the Portobello South Community Development Association (now the Greater Avalon Community Association). She became its secretary in 2008 and has been chair since 2018. In her various roles with the association, Ms. Lecours has organized many community-building events, including the local community barbeque and the Fête FrancOrléans, organized as part of Franco-Ontarian Day. Other community initiatives that she has been instrumental in implementing include yoga in the park, the maintenance of two popular outdoor rinks, community garage sales and Cleaning the Capital events. 

Ms. Lecours is also recognized for her passion and efforts to improve the neighbourhood through environmental initiatives. In 2020, a grant from the City of Ottawa allowed her to work with École secondaire publique Gisèle-Lalonde students to plant vegetable gardens and fruit trees. More recently, she worked with Councillor Kitts to save the Nantes Forest in Avalon. In June of this year, City Council unanimously approved a land exchange with Regional Group to preserve this cherished urban forest, a positive outcome that would not have been possible without Ms. Lecours and the Greater Avalon Community Association. Through her knowledge and experience in the neighbourhood and her tireless advocacy, she has demonstrated exemplary commitment to the well-being of her community.  

The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour, created to recognize an individual, group or organization that, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements. 

Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by Members of Council or the public. 

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