Skip to content

Business notes: 2022 Cowichan Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award goes to Denise McKinlay

The latest from Cowichan’s business community
Denise McKinlay is the recipient of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award. (Submitted photo)

Denise McKinlay is the recipient of the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce’s 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award and will be honoured at the chamber’s Black Tie Awards in May, 2023.

McKinlay has a long list of contributions to supporting the people and organizations in the Cowichan region going all the way back to the 1960s.

She started her volunteering career by organizing the signatures needed to help create the Cowichan Bay Fire District.

McKinlay was just getting warmed up.

From the 1960s onward, she has served as a volunteer or board member at the Duncan Curling Club, the federal and provincial Liberal Party, Duncan Dabber Bingo, Cowichan Golf and Country Club, the BC Winter Games, the BC Seniors Games, as the Cowichan Valley’s representative at the Vancouver Olympics bid announcement, the Cowichan Hospice, and Our Cowichan Communities Health Network, to name a few.

McKinlay is probably best known for her 31 years on the board of the Cowichan District Hospital Foundation.

She has been recognized more than once for her many contributions over the years, including the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Commemorative Medal in 2003 and the City of Duncan Scroll of Honour in 2013.

Chamber president Julie Scurr said McKinlay’s contributions as a volunteer in the Cowichan community have been wide reaching and extraordinary.

She said her time and commitment to many events and causes have had, and continue to have, a lasting effect in making the Cowichan Valley a better place for everyone.

“Denise is a true lifetime achiever, and I cannot think of a more deserving recipient for the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award,” Scurr said.


In related news, the chamber of commerce is now accepting nominations for deserving businesses, individuals, and organizations across the Cowichan Valley for its Black Tie Awards, now in its 23rd year, that will be held in May.

Originally founded on the Customer Service Award, Black Tie has since expanded to include awards for Volunteer of the Year, Young Entrepreneur, Art In Business and Green Business, Non Profit Organization as well as three Business Achievement awards that are subcategorized by number of employees.

Island Savings is, once again, reprising its role as presenting partner for the event.

“We are very pleased to continue our partnership with the chamber and the Black Tie Awards, which is a special event that recognizes the community’s outstanding contributors,” said president of Island Savings Kendall Gross.

“We’re so proud of the businesses and individuals that help make the Cowichan Valley a great place to live, work and play. We look forward to celebrating this season’s crop of Black Tie nominees, finalists and award recipients.”

The Black Tie Awards will be held at the Chemainus Theatre in May, and tickets will go on sale in March.

Nominations for the nine Black Tie Award categories will remain open until midnight on Jan. 31.

Visit to submit a nomination.


Alistair MacGregor, MP for Cowichan-Malahat-Langford, is inviting everyone to join him in celebrating the holiday season on Dec. 20 in Duncan.

MacGregor is looking forward to connecting with his constituents at his annual holiday open houses in Duncan and Langford.

Friends and family are welcome to enjoy complimentary snacks, refreshments, and holiday cheer.

The Duncan open house will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Duncan United Church, located at 246 Ingram St.


A local business in Duncan has a powerful and famous advocate.

Queen Latifah, an Emmy Award-winning and Oscar nominated actor, producer, recording artist, label president and entrepreneur, encouraged people on an Instagram post to drop in on PlentiFILL Refillery & Sustainable Living Store, located at 163 Kenneth St.

“(PlentiFILL) is just one of many small businesses benefiting from help from (Lenovo) Evolve Small and me, the Queen of Small,” Latifah said on the Instagram post.

Latifah is the face and partner for the Evolve Small initiative, a project begun by Lenovo, a manufacturer of personal computers, smartphones, televisions, and wearable devices, to help champion and promote small businesses like PlentiFILL.


Lake Cowichan’s Sheila Service is the new vice president of the Canadian Federation of University Women.

Service was elected to the position at the CFUW’s AGM in August.

Service is a retired nurse administrator who is the past chair of the Cowichan Valley CFUW Club.

Additionally she has served two terms as the regional director for the Vancouver Island clubs.

Service has also chaired the CFUW National Study group on the Rights of Elders.

CFUW, founded in 1919, is a national, non-partisan, voluntary and self-funded organization with 95 clubs across Canada.

With more than 6,000 members, CFUW works to improve the status of women and to promote human rights, public education, social justice and peace in Canada and abroad.


Mosaic Forest Management’s annual Season of Giving campaign is an opportunity to give back to charitable organizations in British Columbia.

This year Mosaic has announced it will donate $40,000 to local community and school food programs.

Now in its third year, Mosaic’s Season of Giving campaign supports local organizations helping to provide access to nutritious food to those in need.

More than 30 organizations will receive support this year, including Cowichan Lake Community Services, Cowichan Valley Basket Society, Nourish Cowichan Society, Lake Cowichan 50+ Activity Centre, Lake Cowichan School and Ditidaht Community School.

“With the rising cost of living clearly impacting food prices, it’s clear that food banks are serving more people while seeing the purchasing power of their donation dollars diluted,” said Mosaic’s president and CEO, Rob Gough.

“Our annual Season of Giving campaign provides support to organizations that are doing the important work of reaching those in need in the communities where we live, work and play.”

Lori Hryniuk, principal at Lake Cowichan Secondary School, said the school truly appreciates Mosaic’s support for the students who benefit every day from its school food program.

“With this donation, our food program can continue to provide all our students access to nutritious meals, and no child is left hungry,” she said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Robert Barron

About the Author: Robert Barron

Since 2016, I've had had the pleasure of working with our dedicated staff and community in the Cowichan Valley.
Read more