The inaugural Burlington Local Legend award 2020 will be presented to veteran restaurateur and industry mentor Craig Kowalchuk. The award proudly displays an image of Emma’s Back Porch, the storied restaurant that Kowalchuk owned and operated for over thirty years on Old Lakeshore Road.
On presentation, City Councillor Lisa Kearns, stated “Emma’s Back Porch has always been a place for everyone; a place that feels like home and a place to come home to. Burlingtonians have celebrated countless milestones under the warm hospitality of operator Craig Kowalchuk’s enthusiastic team. On announcement of Emma’s closing, many reflected on this landmark establishment as a steadfast canvas for community events, road races, fundraisers, campaigns and sporting victories.”
The award is co-presented by the Burlington Downtown Business Association (BDBA), who wrote. “Kowalchuk is most deserving of this first-time award which recognizes his excellent corporate citizenry, industry leadership and support for countless local charities over the last few years.”
BDBA’s Executive Director, Brian Dean recalls Craig Kowalchuk being “…a comrade in arms. A staunch advocate for Burlington dining and hospitality industry and the first President of the Burlington Restaurant Association. Craig gave a needed voice to the local restaurant sector, every operator in Burlington has benefited in some way from his advocacy”. We are thankful for all that he has given to our community over the years, he has left an indelible mark on our Downtown specifically.”