ALTO-Awards-AlbertaExcellence in Alberta tourism is being celebrated with the announcement of finalists in the 2011 Alberta Tourism Awards (aka The Alto Awards). Winners will be announced at the Gala at the Banff Springs Hotel on October 24, 2011. Three finalists who integrated some form media production in their nominated projects bear mention: Banff’s “Australian Social Media Campaign”, Drumheller’s The Passion Play Productions, and Edmonton’s Paul Matwychuk and Ian Jackson’s “The Play’s the Thing” for the Canadian Geographic Magazine.


1 – Banff Lake Louise Tourism for their “Australian Social Media Campaign”

Two lucky Australians will be winging their way to Banff, Canada, this November for an extraordinary Winter Wonderland adventure and a one-of-a-kind modeling gig.  Whilst enjoying two weeks in Banff National Park, the winning pair will also be featured in the Paddy Pallin Winter 2012 catalogue.

Banff is so popular among Australians that you can easily find Tim-Tams and Vegemite in local markets” said Julie Canning, President & CEO, Banff Lake Louise Tourism. “We’re proud to partner with Paddy Pallin to help Australian adventurers extend their winter season with a trip to The World’s Finest National Park.

Paddy Pallin has been outfitting adventurous Australians since 1930,” said Sarah Hunt, Marketing Manager, Paddy Pallin. “Our upcoming Winter catalogue will be shot entirely in Banff and Lake Louise – an inspirational destination at the top of the list for Australian travellers and explorers.

Two Australians already living and working in Banff have already been selected to act as local ambassadors to share their adventures in Banff with their fellow Aussies.  Online video and blog entries will detail the experiences that await the lucky winners.

The campaign is supported by in-store posters at Paddy Pallin retail locations, online advertising, email newsletters and social media, including Banff Lake Louise Tourism’s @Banff_Squirrel Twitter account, one of the world’s Top 10 most influential destination marketing organizations on Twitter.

2. Canadian Geographic Magazine – Paul Matwychuk and Ian Jackson of Edmonton for “The Play’s the Thing” an article they collaborated on about the Edmonton Fringe Festival that appeared in the Canadian Geographic Magazine now edited by Dan Rubenstein, former features editor of Alberta Venture and then editor of their Unlimited online magazine.

Paul Matwychuk is the general manager of NeWest Press. Prior to joining NeWest, Paul held various editorial posts including managing editor of Vue Weekly, entertainment editor of SEE Magazine, and executive editor of Florida’s Key West Magazine. He is the author of several plays, one of which, Bloodhound, won the 2004 Alberta Playwriting Competition. He has been nominated for six Sterling Awards as an actor and playwright, winning a 2005 Sterling for Outstanding Fringe New Work for his comedy The Play I Did at Last Year’s Fringe. He is currently the film critic for Eighteen Bridges Magazine and the DVD columnist for CBC’s Edmonton AM. His blog, The Moviegoer can be found at, and his weekly podcast, DVD Afternoon, is available through iTunes.

Ian Jackson is a photographer for Canadian Geographic based in Edmonton. See some of their coverage of this year’s Edmonton Fringe Festival.

3 – Drumheller Tourism – for the Canadian Badlands Passion Play Productions. Attractions Canada voted the Canadian Badlands Passion Play productions held in July in Drumheller as “One of Alberta’s Top Cultural Attractions” and that:

This dramatic portrayal of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ in an acoustically superb natural bowl amphitheatre will make you feel like you are actually there. The scripture-based script and music, realistic set and costumes, quality performances and remarkable similarity of the site to the Holy Land all add to the experience.

Read more about the Canadian Badlands Passion Play Production in Drumheller.

Complete list of finalists.

Alberta Pride (Sponsored by Legislative Assembly Office of the Alberta Legislature)

  • Anderson Vacations, Calgary
  • Canadian Badlands Passion Play, Drumheller
  • Great Canadian Barn Dance, Hillspring

Friends of Tourism (Sponsored by Alberta Hotel and Lodging Association)

  • Conseil de développement économique de l’Alberta, Edmonton
  • Grande Alberta Economic Region, Edson
  • Mensa Canada’s 2011 Annual Gathering – “Majesty in the Mountains”, Calgary

Marketing Excellence (Up to $5000) (Sponsored by Brewster Travel Canada)

  • Grande Prairie Regional Tourism Association – “The Backyard Tourist”, Grande Prairie
  • Mensa Canada’s 2011 Annual Gathering – “Majesty in the Mountains”, Calgary
  • Town of Devon – Bike Town AB Spokesperson Campaign, Devon

Marketing Excellence (Over $5000) (Sponsored by Karo Group)

  • Banff Lake Louise Tourism – “Australian Social Media Campaign”, Banff
  • Calaway Park – “WOW, We’re 30”, Calgary
  • Northlands – Capital EX, Edmonton

Marketing Partnership (Sponsored by Edmonton International Airport)

  • Brewster Travel Canada – “Unplug and Explore”, Banff
  • Royal Tyrrell Museum – “Drumheller – days and days of discovery”, Drumheller
  • Tourism Calgary and Member Partners – “Experience WOW”, Calgary

Service Excellence (Sponsored by Via Rail)

  • Calaway Park, Calgary
  • Falcon Crest Lodge, Canmore
  • Heritage Park Historical Village, Calgary

Sustainable Tourism (Sponsored by Conseil de développement économique de l’Alberta)

  • Discovery Wildlife Park, Innisfail
  • Edmonton Economic Development Corporation – “Fresh”, Edmonton

Tourism Media (Sponsored by Calgary Hotel Association)

  • Mike Fisher – “Into the Wild”, Up! Magazine, Calgary
  • Susan Mate – “Cycle the Icefields Parkway”, Calgary Herald, Calgary
  • Paul Matwychuk and Ian Jackson – “The Play’s the Thing”, Canadian Geographic Magazine, Edmonton

The 11th Annual Alto Awards will be presented October 24, 2011 at the Alto Awards Gala in conjunction with the 11th Annual Tourism Industry Conference held October 23-25, 2011 at The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and Conference Centre. Tickets to the Gala are still available. For more information see