Media Release: Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce The 2023 Citizen of the Year: Tom Russell

Contact: Pamela Robertson

Phone: (613)342-6553 Ext. 101


August 11th, 2023

The Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce is proud to recognize the outstanding achievements of the businesses, organizations and individuals who make a positive difference in our community. We are delighted to announce that the recipient of the 2023 Award of Excellence for Citizen of the Year is Mr. Tom Russell.

Mr. Russell is very well known in the Brockville area as a person who is always willing to step up and give his time in support of numerous important projects. He works extremely hard for the betterment of us all and, if there is a way to make it happen, he does not stop until the job is done. Tom’s pure hearted passion for the Brockville and 1000 Islands area has led to many creative initiatives.

As a community volunteer, he has played instrumental roles in fundraising campaigns that have secured millions of dollars in support of many worthy causes, such as: Brockville Public Library, Canada 150 Gord Brown Memorial Outdoor Rink, Leeds & Grenville Humane Society, Canadian Cancer Society, Leeds & Grenville United Way, Eastern Ontario YMCA, Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Ice Storm Disaster Relief, and several others.

In his professional capacity as the long-serving Executive Director of the 1000 Islands Community Development Corporation, Mr. Russell has created an environment of trust and respect, through patience, diplomacy, and collaboration. Under his leadership, the 1000 Islands CDC has played a critical role in supporting hundreds of small businesses with tens of millions of dollars in financial assistance, and countless hours of professional advice, helping to create thousands of jobs along the way.

He has worked closely with a variety of stakeholders to author or co-author numerous funding applications which have collectively generated additional millions of dollars in support of such important initiatives as: Brockville Arts Centre, Aquatarium, Brockville Railway Tunnel, Brock Trails, St. Lawrence College, Brockville General Hospital, Mallory Coach House, Leeds & Grenville Small Business Enterprise Centre, Brockville Country Club, Brockville Food Bank, Loaves and Fishes, and many more.

His extensive volunteer and professional roles have seen Mr. Russell sit on or chair several influential boards and committees over the years. Among others, these include prominent positions with Ontario Trillium Foundation, Employment & Education Centre, Kingston Employment Youth Services, St. Lawrence College, 1000 Islands International Tourism Council, Gord Brown Memorial Golf Tournament, Jobs Ontario, Friends of The Environment, Canadian Red Cross, Agriculture Marketing Association of Eastern Ontario, and Ontario East Tourism Association.

“I extend heartfelt thanks to Tom for his stewardship of the 1000 Islands CDC and for his lifelong service to our community,” offered Member of Parliament, Mr. Michael Barrett. “I have personally witnessed his tremendous work and am proud to join in celebrating his accomplishments. I congratulate him on this most worthwhile recognition. He deserves it.”

Member of Provincial Parliament and Minister of Municipal Affairs & Housing, Mr. Steve Clark, praised Mr. Russell’s tireless efforts and many accomplishments. “Tom is a great friend and one of those very special people who has dedicated his life to service. We really do owe him a debt of gratitude. This Citizen of the Year award is so very well deserved.”

“To be honest, I’m much more comfortable presenting these types of awards than receiving them, but I am very humbled and extremely grateful to the Brockville & District Chamber of Commerce for this incredible honour,” said Mr. Russell who often credits his parents, Emma & Ron Russell, for his choice of profession and for his immense respect for local entrepreneurs. “My parents provided a master class on how to live your life. They were salt-of-the-earth, hard-working, community minded small business owners, who taught their children the importance of volunteerism and the values of compassion, kindness, and acceptance. I adored them both.”

Russell was born and raised in Brockville and has been with his lovely wife, Kimberley, for 34 years.

We look forward to celebrating Citizen of the Year with Tom Russell’s family and friends at the Awards of Excellence Gala being held on Thursday, October 19, 2023 at the Brockville Memorial Centre.

We will also be announcing recipients for Business of The Year, Small Business of The Year, Community Excellence Award, Tourism Award, and the Ben TeKamp Award.

Seating is limited and tickets must be purchased in advance online at For inquiries, please call 613-342-6553.

Tom Russell receiving the Canada 150 Volunteer Medal from MP Gord Brown (left) and MPP Steve Clark (right) in 2017.