For 99 years, the Delta Optimist has served the community of South Delta as its trusted source for local news.
The Optimist’s Readers’ Choice Awards just anointed its winners in 90 categories, with an unprecedented voting turnout in all categories.
“This particular feature is all about connecting readers with local businesses,” Delta Optimist publisher Matt Blair says.
“From myself and the team here, we want to offer our hearty congratulations to all the winners. And we want to say a big thank you to all the people who participated by casting their votes.”
The Optimist encourages its readers to check out all the winning businesses for themselves.
The local newspaper is the pillar of the community, Blair says, from highlighting neighbourhood initiatives to holding local leaders to account.
“It is estimated that ninety percent of news in Canada comes from a local news source first. When you see the national media pick up on something, it’s often the local team that reported on it first,” Blair says.
“Local journalists in the community account for most of journalism in this country.”
As the Voice of Delta, the Readers’ Choice Awards highlight Delta’s community spirit. Here’s five reasons why:
The Readers’ Choice Awards are the most popular feature of the year
For four weeks, Delta Optimist readers voted in print and online for the best of Delta’s best.
“We don’t offer any prizes for these awards, but readers do it out of community spirit,” Blair says.
Readers must submit entries in over 20 categories to make their votes count.
Over 13,000 total category votes
One of the surest signs of the feature’s popularity is the total number of category votes cast.
“I base the popularity of the awards on the number of entrants, and this year there were a whole lot,” Blair says.
It took over 50 hours to tally the votes
Blair and his staff hand-count every single vote, tallying the results into a spreadsheet.
This year, due to the amount of votes received, it took over 50 hours to tally the total number of votes.
“It’s a lot to do every year, but the community loves it,” Blair says.
Several categories went down to the last vote
While there were several ties, many other categories came down to the last vote.
“Every vote counts! We pride ourselves on making sure we go through each and every ballot and tally every answer,” Blair says.
“It’s not lost on us the time it takes to submit votes and it’s a great way for us to honour businesses.”
Over a dozen new categories added
This year, a dozen new categories were added to the awards, primarily in the service sectors such as junk removal, moving and cleaning services.
“This was really a sector of business that was overlooked in the past because they do the jobs that aren’t most glamorous. It’s fantastic for us to be able to shine a light on these hard working sectors,” Blair says.
“For instance, one of the winners of the new categories is 505-JUNK, a great local junk removal company that supports a variety of local innitaitves including Dry Grad.”
Categories must have at least three businesses in them to be considered for inclusion and the paper is always keeping its eye out for more to include.
“We’re looking to add more categories next year, so if anyone has any ideas, reach out to me,” Blair says.
To see all the winners in each Readers’ Choice categories, visit issuu.com/delta-optimist/docs/readerschoice_2021.