Canadian Mortgage Awards – looking back on a triumphant in-person return

Toronto's Liberty Grand was sold out for one of the industry's most memorable events of the year

Canadian Mortgage Awards – looking back on a triumphant in-person return

Mortgage professionals from across Canada flocked to a sold-out Liberty Grand in Toronto last week for the Canadian Mortgage Awards, making their return as a live, in-person event for the first time since 2019.

The hotly-anticipated gala event, which sold out weeks in advance, recognized the best and brightest from the Canadian mortgage industry during the past year – one that was every bit as eventful for the country’s housing and mortgage markets as the previous one.

Winners were named across 26 prestigious categories, including highly coveted new awards such as Regional Brokers of the Year and Best Media Campaign.

The consensus among attendees was that the evening was a spectacular success, with the 2022 Awards resonating even more strongly due to their absence as an in-person event over the last two years.

“It’s amazing to see so many smiling faces and familiar faces,” Trevor Hansen (pictured below), chief executive officer at Surrey, British Columbia-based Verico Xeva Mortgage, told Canadian Mortgage Professional. “To see everybody and be able to hug everybody – it really feels like it was yesterday, and it’s nice to have everybody back.

“From what I can see, there are a lot more people than ever before. It’s a jam-packed place, and I think everybody needed this. They were really looking forward to getting together; I think that’s what was really important for everybody.”

Hansen was speaking after Xeva came away with the CWB Optimum Mortgage Award for Brokerage of the Year (25 Employees or More) on the night.

Dalia Barsoum (pictured immediately below), who won the MCAN Award for Broker of the Year (Regional – ON), described the evening as an “electrifying” occasion.

“I am so happy to be back. I was so excited to hear that [CMP] were holding this event in person, and it was great to see so many colleagues and industry associates today,” she said. “I’ve missed this so much. [It’s] fabulous, very classy – and fun.”

Hosted by award-winning CBC news anchor Suhana Meharchand, the evening was held in conjunction with event partner Coalition of Independent Mortgage Brokers of Canada (CIMBC).

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Attendees mingled and caught up with industry colleagues and counterparts during a pre-event cocktail reception before the awards ceremony and dinner banquet got underway.

Winners in each category received rapturous applause from an audience that relished the opportunity to celebrate the achievements of the industry’s finest performers over the previous 12 months.

Michel Durand, of MCommercial, won the Avison Young Award for Broker of the Year – Commercial, with Shawn Allen picking up the Canadian Mortgages Inc. Award for Broker of the Year – Private Lending.

The Community Trust Award for Alternative Broker Specialist of the Year was won by MoneyBroker Canada’s Christine Xu, who paid tribute to friends and colleagues in the industry in the aftermath of receiving the honour.

Inaugural winners of the Regional Broker of the Year awards including HT Mortgage Group’s Gert Martens (Alberta), Clinton Wilkins of CENTUM Home Lenders Ltd. (Atlantic), GLM Mortgage Group – Dominion Lending Centres’ Geoff Lee (British Columbia), Kent Bittner (Axiom Mortgage Solutions, winning in the Prairies), Sandra Allard of Planiprêt (Quebec) and Barsoum.

Wilkins was recognized as the overall top broker in Canada, winning the Equitable Bank Award for Canadian Broker of the Year, while Katerina Markevich of IK Financial was named the winner in the highly competitive Young Achiever of the Year category.

In the brokerage awards, Verico Xeva Mortgage was named the top brokerage of the year with more than 25 employees, while The Vine Group - Mortgage Alliance Award for Brokerage of the Year (fewer than 25 Employees) was won by East Coast Mortgage Brokers.

Tango Financial won the Digital Innovation in a Brokerage award, with Empire Mortgage Group – represented by broker-owner Kevin Huynh – picking up the New Brokerage of the Year award.

In the lender categories, Natasha Alli of First National Excalibur won the CIMBC Award for Lender BDM of the Year (Alternative Lending) with Fisgard’s Reaza Ali winning the equivalent award in the private lending category.

Hollie Gardiner of Secure Capital MIC received the Matrix Mortgage Global Award for Lender Underwriter of the Year (Private Lending) with Ronelle Landicho of Home Trust named the top lender underwriter in the alternative space.

The Industry Service Provider of the Year award, sponsored by Centum, was won by Mortgage Automator, with Manulife’s Kyra Wong winning the prestigious Home Trust Award for Woman of Distinction.

New Wave Lending came away with the RFA Award for Excellence in Philanthropy & Community Service, while RFA Mortgage Corporation won Best Media Campaign of the Year and CWB Optimum Mortgage was named Mortgage Industry Employer of Choice.

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The Citadel Mortgages Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Mortgage Industry was won by AKAL Mortgages’ Kuljit Singh, who described persistence, passion and compassion as essential components for a successful career in the industry.

The evening concluded with the HomeEquity Bank Award for National Broker Network of the Year, won by Verico Financial Group. Mark Squire (pictured below), the network’s president and chief operating officer, said the event had marked a welcome return to an in-person gala format following the virtual arrangements of the pandemic.

“It’s phenomenal to be back [to] something that seems more normal,” he said. “It’s great to see all our partners and our competitors… it’s nice to see everyone in real life.”

Canadian Mortgage Professional would like to thank all of those who made this year’s event such a roaring success including our esteemed sponsors, attendees and judges in each category.

Click here to see a full list of winners and Excellence Awardees – and make sure to sign up to our free daily newsletter to receive a notification when next year’s nominations open.