2022 Best of Atlantic Canada Readers’ Choice Awards
Posted on December 16, 2021 | Atlantic Business Magazine | 0 Comments
It’s our second annual Readers’ Choice Awards, where we reveal how Atlantic Business Magazine readers graded their favorite business-to-business suppliers.
Over the past year, readers cast their ballots online for Atlantic Canadian companies that help them do business. This year, we received 963 votes across 18 categories. From the best accounting firm to the best place for a business traveller to eat when they’re on the road, these business-to-business service providers have been judged by Atlantic Business Magazine readers as the best in class across the entire region.
The selection process is really very simple: it’s all about the numbers. The nominee with the most votes wins the category. If the top candidates are separated by a vote margin of less than five per cent, we declare a tie. You’ll note that some categories have a Winner and an Honourable Mention. The latter is only awarded when the second-place nominee has at least 75 per cent as many votes as the category winner.
The ballot itself is open-ended: we deliberately don’t limit the voting to a pre-determined shortlist of candidates. It’s up to readers to tell us their ‘Best of’ nominees in each category.
Finally, we do not reveal the results as they come in. That way, superfans aren’t tempted to cast multiple ballots to artificially inflate results for their favorite nominees. No one knows who the winners are until we download the final results and share them in our January issue.
Speaking of which, without further ado, here are the results of our second annual Readers Choice Awards!
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST ACCOUNTING FIRM
With 639 full-time and part-time employees in 28 offices across Atlantic Canada, Grant Thornton LLP has been active in the region since 1939 (that’s 83 years and counting). It describes itself as a “purpose-driven” accounting firm whose “talented advisors are dedicated to helping our clients, colleagues, and communities thrive.” For the second year in a row, Atlantic Business Magazine readers agree—congratulations!
Coming in a close second (with 85 per cent as many votes as Grant Thornton), Deloitte has provided audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory, risk advisory, tax and related services to public and private clients throughout Atlantic Canada for over 40 years. From our readers to all 481 employees in your five regional offices: job well done!
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTION
Founded in Halifax in 1864, RBC has grown to 3,500 employees in 140 offices across the region (111 branches, five commercial centres, 16 wealth management offices, five insurance offices and three specialized advice centres). Asked what they stand for, they replied: “we believe in the power of people and their ideas, and that we have a pivotal role in harnessing them to help our clients thrive and communities prosper.”
The first credit union in Atlantic Canada opened in Nova Scotia in 1932. Today, they have 1,379 employees and 131 offices in 30 communities across the region. As co-operative financial institutions, credit union profits go back to their members and communities—which may explain why they were such a close runner-up in this category (80 per cent of the votes compared to the overall winner).
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST LAW FIRM
You don’t get to be Atlantic Canada’s largest full-service law firm—566 employees in Halifax, Moncton, Saint John, St. John’s, Charlottetown and Fredericton—unless you are doing a lot of things right. For Stewart McKelvey, which has operated in Atlantic Canada for 31 years, that means “providing the legal expertise and innovative solutions clients need to move forward confidently.” And, earning the confidence of Atlantic Business readers along the way. Congratulations on your win.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST HEALTH INSURANCE PROVIDER
Medavie Blue Cross
This all-in-one national health services partner provides health, dental, travel, life and disability benefits to over a million cardholders. They also administer various government-sponsored health programs, including Veterans Affairs Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. As a not-for-profit organization, their annual net income is directed into investments that enhance the client experience and an annual social dividend intended to advance the health of Canadians.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST VEHICLE INSURANCE PROVIDER
With offices in St. John’s and Corner Brook, Wedgwood is Newfoundland and Labrador’s largest independent insurance broker, providing home, auto and business insurance advice. Founded over 40 years ago, they have grown to 62 employees and earned the admiration of enough Atlantic Business Magazine readers to win a Readers’ Choice Award—for the second year in a row.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Institute of Corporate Directors
Let’s face it: work is getting ever more demanding, and people are busier than ever. Which means any activity that takes time out of your day has to be well worth the investment. Atlantic Business readers say that professional development through the Institute of Corporate Directors delivers the ROI they need. In addition to their ICD.D designation, they also offer continuing education, informal sessions and networking events.
With 77 per cent of the votes of the first-place finisher, Memorial University’s Gardiner Centre is a worthy competitor in the Best Professional Development category. Established 41 years ago, and currently located at the Emera Innovation Exchange (Signal Hill Campus), the Gardiner Centre “connects organizations and individuals with learning experiences that advance leadership and business excellence.” From our readers to your entire team: job well done.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST INDUSTRY ASSOCIATION
Fredericton Chamber of Commerce
Under the direction of CEO Krista Ross, the small but mighty six-person team at the Fredericton Chamber of Commerce is punching well above its weight class. In operation since 1874(!), they “believe in building a stronger community through business prosperity by providing our members with high-quality advocacy, events, member benefits, and networking opportunities.” Suffice to say, Atlantic Business readers are impressed. Congratulations on your win.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST TELECOMMUNICATIONS PROVIDER
Just 23 short years ago, four provincial telephone companies (MT&T, NBTel, Island Telecom and NewTel Communications) merged to form Aliant. In 2006, the merged entity received a new name under the Bell Canada banner: Bell Aliant. Today, it is a leader in communications services for residential, business and public sector clients—as well as a Readers Choice Award winner.
Established in Atlantic Canada in 1990, Rogers is relatively new to the regional telecommunications scene, but that hasn’t stopped it from making a big impact (and earning 91 per cent of the votes as the category winner). It has 1,616 employees in 19 offices across the region, establishing a reputation as “Canada’s largest provider of wireless communications services and a leading provider of cable television, high-speed Internet, information technology, and telephony services.”
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST MARKETING/ADVERTISING FIRM
Four agencies are tied for first-place in this category.
This 24-years-young agency and its 22 employees believe it takes curiosity, creativity, critical thinking and craft to create meaningful brand identities and experiences. “The kind that people notice and remember. The kind that matter.”
This bilingual, integrated, award-winning agency is focused on helping clients get from where they are, to where they want to be. They say that since they were founded roughly 10 years ago, they and their 20 employees have tried to use their creative energies as a force for good.
M5 Marketing Communications Inc.
As one of the largest independent agencies in Canada (110 employees in five cities across the region), m5 believes in “the power of creativity to propel organizations forward and unearth their true potential.”
During its eight years in operation, Ray and its 19 employees have grown into “a wildly creative and collaborative ad agency that believes in the power of a well-matched partnership.”
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST OFFICE SUPPLIES
When it comes to outfitting today’s smart office, Atlantic Business readers agree that the bigger the selection, the better. And Staples, with almost 700 associates in 29 locations across Atlantic Canada, is continually expanding their product offering. They recently transformed their brand to The Working and Learning Company. “We’re happy to continue inspiring people to work smarter, learn more and grow every day.”
Dicks and Company
With an impressive 75 per cent of the votes earned by the first-place finisher, this locally owned 182-year-old Newfoundland company has been doing a lot of things right for a very long time. Their main distribution centre and head office in St. John’s is a 30,000 sq. ft. facility with over 8,000 products in stock. And, they have competitive pricing, thanks to their membership in Basics Office Products—Canada’s largest group of independent office products retailers.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST TRUCKING/TRANSPORTATION PROVIDER
Family-owned and operated for 32 years, Hunt’s provides full-service transportation, warehousing and distribution services throughout North America. “If you need it stored, moved, or managed, we’re your one-stop logistics solution.” They have 32 full and part-time employees—and the confidence of Atlantic Business readers. Congratulations on your win.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST COMMERCIAL CONSTRUCTION/RENOVATION CONTRACTOR
For over 40 years, Marco has been building on a solid foundation. They have leveraged their core values (integrity, teamwork and commitment) to construct the commercial and industrial sectors of Atlantic Canada. From our readers to your 88 full-time employees in St. John’s, N.L. and Dartmouth, N.S.—job well done. Read more on Marco Group
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST HOTEL FOR BUSINESS TRAVEL
Life on the road can be stressful and unpredictable. That’s why it’s so important to have a reliably productive and comfortable place to work and sleep. And that’s why business travellers are loyal to Marriott. From their high-speed internet and well-equipped fitness centres to their rigorous cleaning protocols and extensive loyalty program, Marriott provides weary road warriors with a safe place to land.
With décor that has as much personality as its name suggests, Jag is a boutique hotel in downtown St. John’s, N.L. This musically inspired property provides a guest experience that aims to be “as rich and as colourful as the community surrounding it.” Atlantic Business readers (82 per cent compared to the category winner) say you’re playing their song.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST CORPORATE RETREAT
The Algonquin Resort
Situated in the elegant town of St. Andrews by the Sea, N.B., The Algonquin Resort is described as a “historically chic” property that has been a preferred choice for groups, events and retreats since 1889. With 100 full-time and 61 part-time employees, The Algonquin is well staffed to provide the gracious hospitality that is its trademark. Read more on The Algonquin Resort
A technically equipped executive conference centre located on a wooded hillside overlooking Trinity Bay, N.L., Fisher’s Loft has been in operation for 24 years. A highlight of a Fisher’s Loft event is the freshly prepared food served in their elegant, award-winning dining room. Atlantic Business readers approve—congratulations.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST RESTAURANT TO IMPRESS A CLIENT
For those times when you want to show a special client how much you value your business
WINNER | NEW BRUNSWICK
Little Louis’ Oyster Bar
Celebrating its 20th year of operation, this Moncton resto offers an award-winning dining experience that combines comfort and sophistication to perfection. They are known for using local seasonal ingredients interpretated with classic and modern techniques, paired with a local and international wine list.
WINNER | NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
A popular fixture in downtown St. John’s for over 22 years, Oliver’s delivers a reliably impressive experience in a casually upscale setting (think elegant, without being stuffy). Highlights include fresh local ingredients, a spectacular wine list and warm, attentive service.
WINNER | NOVA SCOTIA
Stories Fine Dining
When Atlantic Business readers want to write a happy ending for a business deal, they take their clients to Stories, adjacent to The Halliburton Hotel in downtown Halifax. This “casual fine dining” establishment boasts an innovative menu featuring food from Indigenous farmers, foragers and fishers.
WINNER | PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
The Pilot House
Impressive from beginning to end, The Pilot House offers unpretentiously delicious fresh and organic food surrounded by the architectural splendour of one of Charlottetown’s historic buildings. Bonus: if you’re looking to host a small group, their Queue bistro can be reserved for private functions.
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST RESTAURANT TO EAT ON A PER DIEM
For business travellers looking to make the most of their travel allowance and eat alone without being lonely
WINNER | NEW BRUNSWICK
Offering a broad menu of good pub-style food at reasonable prices (the most expensive item is a 12 oz striploin and side for $26), plus award-winning craft brews and a lively atmosphere, Moncton’s Pumphouse Brewpub is popular with locals and visitors alike.
WINNER | NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR
Duke of Duckworth
The Duke of Duckworth has been a St. John’s institution for over 30 years. A cozy establishment in ye olde style, it has more than 20 beers on tap, six big screens showing top sports events, and some of the best fish and chips in the province. Ideal for a pint and a chat, you never know who you’ll meet at The Duke.
WINNER | NOVA SCOTIA
Hopyard isn’t just a place to eat: it’s a full sensory experience. Think local rotating craft beer and cider that pairs with their monthly menu featuring local and global flavors. They also host music, comedy and art shows on an almost daily basis. With regular specials on food, beverage and entertainment, Hopyard is a hopping place.
WINNER | PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND
South Central Kitchen & Provisions
If you’re looking for an authentically local (and deliciously unpretentious) Island restaurant, Summerside’s South Central Kitchen fits the bill. They describe themselves as “a little take out or hang out restaurant in downtown Summerside serving the best food we can make, from our kitchen to your table.”
READERS’ CHOICE FOR BEST AIRLINE
With all the upheaval and uncertainty in the travel industry over the past few years, passengers are more appreciative than ever of Canada’s self-described “friendly airline”. According to their corporate mission statement, “caring from the heart” and “rising to the challenge” are two of their core values. Atlantic Business Magazine readers say WestJetters live up to that brand promise—and this award is their reward for going above and beyond. Congratulations. •
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