By Colin MacLean/Journal Pioneer
It would seem Islanders have are not shy when it comes to celebrating each other.
Nominations for the first ever Isleawards has come to a close, and organizers have been floored by the response from the community.
‚ÄúThis is quite a shocker,‚ÄĚ said Alex Maine, awards founder.
As of Wednesday, there were 223 nominations for Isleawards.
When Maine set up a similar program in Halifax he got less than 50 submissions the first year.
He‚Äôs not sure why the numbers were so high (not that that he‚Äôs complaining), he said, but he suspects it has something to do with geography.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre not really sure. I mean I don‚Äôt have a huge amount of experience with P.E.I., but what I do know is that everyone seems to know everyone. And word of mouth seems to go faster than a radio interview or newspaper. So I guess word just spread and it had a positive impact on the project,‚ÄĚ he said.
But now that all the submissions have been collected the difficult job of weeding out everything but the really good ones has to get underway, he added.
A team of volunteers, some from P.E.I., others from Halifax and the United Kingdom, will sift through the nominations until they reach a more manageable number, somewhere in the area of 30 to 50 individuals or organizations.
Then they‚Äôll sit down via teleconference and select about eight to 10 winners who will honoured at a gala function in May.
Maine, a 24-year-old from the United Kingdom, had the idea to bring his unique, not-for-profit award concept to the Island after marrying Wellington native Natalie Bernard last May.
He‚Äôs created two other successful ceremonies similar to the Isleawards, one in the U.K. and another in Halifax.
The Journal Pioneer has come on board as the awards' official media sponsor in hopes of drawing out even more extraordinary stories.
More information on the Isleawards can be found online at www.isleawards.com