2017 Awards of Excellence

 awards of excellence 2017

Wednesday May 31, 2017
6:00 p.m. Cocktail
7:30 p.m. Awards of Excellence Gala
9:00 p.m. Post-Gala Reception

CBC Glenn-Gould Studio
250 Front St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3G5


This year’s Youth Media Alliance gala will be hosted by the mind-blowing trio of Tony Kim, Janaye Upshaw and Victor Verbitsky. A likeable threesome who are already very well acquainted, having worked together on the new CBC Kids morning show Studio K since January. Carly Watt and Aidan Cosgrave, in turn, will orchestrate the gala from behind the scenes, respectively as its writer and director. A CSA-nominated children’s media producer, director and writer, Carly currently writes and directs for Studio K. Aidan, in turn, has directed the YMA Awards of Excellence Gala for a number of years now. It’s the first time ever that the gala will be hosted by a trio: a dazzling new approach!


Tony Kim is a lovable and hilarious nerd hailing from Vancouver. In addition to being a star improviser, Tony has a number of acting credits to his name. Tony brings with him a variety of musical talents including vocals, rap, piano and clarinet. He is always at the ready to defend his title as Comic Book Nerd Champ, in either English or Vietnamese. His warm, youthful energy and comfort on camera make Tony feel like an instant friend.

 vicJanaye Upshaw is a joyful, athletic and funny person who brings a love of dance and song to CBC Kids. With a range of film and television experience under her belt, Janaye has a natural comfort on camera and an infectious personality. Her authenticity and positivity make her the perfect addition to our team of hosts. As a mother of two small children, Janaye also brings a unique perspective.


Victor Verbitsky is funny, musical, down to earth and cool. A graduate of the film and television program at Humber College, a proficient improviser and former host on YTV, Victor brings experience and talent. Both playful and a little cheeky, Victor is always engaging. Whether playing guitar or an extreme sport, Victor sets a new bar for cool.



Awards of Excellence Gala tickets are now on sale. You can buy tickets online via intranet by clicking here. When buying gala tickets, your name will automatically be added to the guest list. You will not be receiving a printable ticket. If you are purchasing tickets for several guests, please write their names on the form.

Tickets Price
YMA Members: $125
Non YMA Members: $150

DEADLINE to buy tickets: May 23rd.


Award of Excellence for Best Program, Live Action, Ages 3–5

  • The Adventures of Napkin Man (Bye Bye Boogaloo) – produced by Breakthrough Entertainment
  • Hi Opie! (Opie's Ladybug Friend) – produced by marblemedia, in association with The Jim Henson Company
  • The Moblees (Zig Zag Surprize) – produced by Shaftesbury, Boulevard Productions, in association with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Ohmland Holdings and William Kohane
  • Playdate (Whistle While You Escape) – produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment
  • Terrific Trucks (The Tricky Twin/ The Difficult Day) – produced by Breakthrough Entertainment

Award of Excellence for Best Program, Live Action, Ages 6–9

  • Annedroids (The Mother of Invention) – produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment
  • Bruno & Boots: Go Jump In The Pool (Bruno & Boots: Go Jump In The Pool) – produced by Aircraft Pictures
  • The Mystery Files (The Mystery of the Underground Railroad) – produced by Apartment 11 Productions
  • Odd Squad: The Movie – produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment
  • The Stanley Dynamic (The Stanley Wild Weekend) – produced by Amaze Film + Television

Award of Excellence for Best Program, Live Action, Ages 9 +

  • Giver (Amherstberg Sports Park) – produced by Sinking Ship Entertainment
  • LM Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables – produced by Breakthrough Entertainment
  • The Next Step (How Deep Is Your Love) – produced by Radical Sheep Productions,  a division of Boat Rocker Media
  • Raising Expectations (The Great Hot Dog Escape) – produced by Aircraft Pictures
  • Ride (Arrival) – produced by Breakthrough Entertainment, Buccaneer Media

Award of Excellence for Best Program, Animation, Ages 3–5

  • Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood, Season 2 (Nighttime in the Neighborhood) – produced by 9 Story Media Group, The Fred Rogers Company, Out of the Blue
  • Dot. (One Soggy Knight) – produced by Industrial Brothers, in association with The Jim Henson Company
  • Justin Time (Who Stole My Cat) – produced by Guru Studio
  • PAW Patrol (Tracker Joins the Pups!) – produced by Spin Master Entertainment
  • Peg + Cat, Season 2 (The Disappearing Art Problem) – produced by 9 Story Media Group, The Fred Rogers Company, 9ate7 Productions
  • Ranger Rob (The Woolly Wiligo of Big Sky Park / A Big Sky Park Elephant Train) – produced byNelvana Limited, Studio Liddell

Award of Excellence for Best Program, Animation, Ages 6–9

  • Atomic Puppet (AP Vs Disastro II) – produced by Mercury Filmworks
  • Fangbone! (Cavity of Terror/ The Sickness of Home) – produced by Radical Sheep Productions, a division of Boat Rocker Media
  • Rocket Monkeys (Chimpsky a Go Go/The Yell in Yellow) – produced by Breakthrough Entertainment
  • Wild Kratts, Season 4 (Pangolin Rescue) – produced by 9 Story Media Group, Kratt Brothers Company

Award of Excellence, Best Original Digital Content

  • mathXplosion – produced by GAPC Entertainment, in association with TVOKids and TFO
  • Miss Persona – produced by Hazel House Productions
  • Pixies – produced by Arcana Studio
  • YTV - Road Trip Diaries – produced by Bristow Global Media

Award of Excellence, Best Original Interactive Content

  • The Incredible Tales of Weirdwood Manor – produced by All Play, No Work,  Relish Interactive
  • mPower - Kindergarten to Grade 2 – produced by TVO
  • Science Max Interactive – produced by Breakthrough Entertainment
  • The Westbury Faery – produced by Log Cabin Productions, Plot Media in partnership with The Seventh World and Tiny Owl Publishing

Award of Excellence, Best Cross-platform Interactive Content

  • Dotopedia – produced by Industrial Brothers
  • Driving Me Crazy – produced by marblemedia
  • Kids' CBC Olympics website – produced by CBC
  • Look Kool Online, season 2 – produced by Apartment 11 Productions
  • Opie's Playground – produced by marblemedia

Special Prizes

Youth Media Alliance (YMA) is proud to give its Outstanding Achievement Award to Steven DeNure and its Emerging Talent Award to Mars Horodyski. These distinguished professionals will be honored at a gala to be held on May 31th at the CBC Glenn Gould Studio, in Toronto.

Outstanding Achievement Award Presented by Breakthrough Entertainment

Given for a distinguished career in youth production in Canada, this prestigious prize salutes the individual’s contributions to the industry, leadership skills, ability to innovate and inspire and career-long commitment to young Canadians.


Steven DeNure’s career in film and television has spanned more than three decades, producing many highly acclaimed and award-winning shows and films across multiple genres. He is currently President and Chief Operating Officer of DHX Media, a company he co-founded in 2006. He has been a key member of the core team that has grown DHX Media from its fledgling roots into a global leader in the children’s content and brands space. Steven’s career began after graduating from Simon Fraser University in 1984, with a degree in Economics and Business. He also completed SFU’s Film Studies Program and, following graduation, worked as an independent filmmaker and photographer before joining Alliance Communications, in 1987. At Alliance, he learned the ropes of the business under company co-founders John Kemeny, Denis Héroux and Robert Lantos, performing a variety of creative and production roles, and eventually rose to the position of President of Alliance Productions. In 1997, Steven left Alliance to co-found DECODE Entertainment, which quickly established itself by combining strong creative abilities with a deep understanding of the worldwide market for children’s content. In 2006, DECODE combined with The Halifax Film Company to form DHX Media.

Over the years, Steven DeNure has developed and produced a long list of projects that have garnered critical acclaim, received numerous awards and nominations, and have captured the hearts of audiences around the world. This list of credits is wide ranging, from dramas and films such as Due South, North of 60, ENG, Counterstrike and Black Robe, to animated series such as Reboot, Transformers Beast Wars, Angela Anaconda, Watership Down, Inspector Gadget, and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. Furthermore, Steven has been recognized for his notable contributions to the live-action kids’ genre, with such titles as Degrassi, The Zack Files, Radio Free Roscoe, Make It Pop and Hank Zipzer, and to content for younger children, with Yo Gabba Gabba, Rainbow Fish, Super Why, Wishenpoof, The Doozers, The SaveUms!, the 2015 relaunch of Teletubbies and more. Steven serves as Vice Chairman of the Canadian Film Centre and is a past board member of numerous organizations, including Street Kids International, Banff Media Festival and Youth Media Alliance. He is most proud of his role in helping to build internationally successful Canadian companies

Emerging Talent Award Presented by Sinking Ship Entertainment

This award is given to a promising professional whose achievements have made him or her a rising star in children’s programming. This award encourages young creators and broadcast professionals to outdo themselves and, more importantly, to pursue a career in youth production.


Mars Horodyski is an award-winning director with over a decade of directing experience. Her first feature film Ben’s at Home (which she directed, co-wrote and produced) has played over a dozen festivals and won several awards (Best Feature Rhodes Island Film Festival, Best Feature Canadian Film Fest, Best Feature & Audience Choice Rincon Film Festival, Audience Choice Gasparilla Film Festival). The film was released theatrically in Canada and had a recent digital release in the US. It also garnered Mars the Canadian Comedy Award for Best Directing in a Feature Film.

Mars' series credits include the BBC/DHX series The Next Step, the PBS series Odd Squad, the Amazon series Dino Dana, the web series Carmilla and CBC's This Hour Has 22 Minutes. She is an alumnus of the CFC directing program and the recipient of the Norman Jewison Director Award.

2017 Awards of Excellence Categories

  1. Grand Prize
  2. Award of Excellence for Best Program, Live Action, Ages 3–5 Category
  3. Award of Excellence for Best Program, Live Action, Ages 6–9 Category
  4. Award of Excellence for Best Program, Live Action, Ages 9 + Category
  5. Award of Excellence for Best Program, Animation, Ages 3–5 Category
  6. Award of Excellence for Best Program, Animation, Ages 6–9 Category
  7. Award of Excellence, Best Original Interactive Content
  8. Award of Excellence, Best Original Digital Content
  9. Award of Excellence, Best Cross-platform Interactive Content
  10. Outstanding Achievement Award
  11. Emerging Talent Award

Advisory Committee

  • Lioz Bouganin, Landslide Entertainment
  • Jennifer Burkitt, Log Cabin Productions
  • J.J. Johnson, Sinking Ship Entertainment
  • Brandon Lane, Teletoon/Corus
  • Donna MacNeil, marblemedia
  • Jessica McLaughlin, TVO
  • Michelle Melanson Cuperus, Radical Sheep
  • Brenda Nietupski
  • Sandrine Pechels de Saint Sardos, Groupe Media TFO
  • Jillianne Reinseth, Entertainment One
  • John Rooney, Johnromedia
  • Marlowe Stone
  • Travis Williams, Mercury Filmworks
  • Jamie Piekarz
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