By Kevin Werner, News Staff
As his family and parents watch in admiration, Hamilton developer Jeff Paikin received the 2013 Royal Bank Citizen of the Year Award at LIUNA Station Jan. 21.
“It’s just so much more meaningful to be here with them,” said Paikin as he accepted the award.
The co-owner of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Paikin has been widely praised for helping to revitalize downtown Hamilton, including constructing a $70-million condominium development called City Square though his New Horizons company which he has operated along with his partner Joe Giacomodonato for about two decades.
Paikin, 50, thanked his family, employees, and parents, who had arrived from their vacation home in Florida to be with their son.
Paikin said he established his business in the city’s core, and took a gamble to help re-develop the area because he and Giacomodonato felt “a certain something in the city, (and now) it has turned the corner and on its way up. We took a risk, a big risk and we have been rewarded with that.”
Paikin has also been involved in raising over a million dollars for such organizations as Shalom Village, the YMCA and Mohawk College. He has also been the past chair of the Hamilton Halton Home Builders Association, and the chair of the Transformation Campaign for Hillfield Strathallan College, his alma mater.
Paikin joins other members of his family for being recognized because of their achievements. His brother Steve, a TVO host, was named to the Order of Canada in December, while his father Larry, and mother Marnie have been inducted into Hamilton’s Gallery of Distinction.
Other nominees for Citizen of the Year award, which are overseen by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, were Dr. Nathalie Xian Yi Yan, Jean-Paul Gauthier, the founder and producer of the annual Greenbelt Harvest Picnic held at Christie Lake, Goce Dimitrioski, who devoted 2013 to volunteering his time assisting community organizations, including the Snow Angels program, the Dundas Cactus Festival, the Winona Peach Festival, Supercrawl and the Walter Gretzky street hockey tournament, and Joey Coleman, an entrepreneurial journalist who covers Hamilton 24/7.
Winner of the Hamilton Spectator 2013 Youth Volunteer of the Year award was Jackson Virgin, a student at Westdale Secondary School. The finalists were Richard Armacinski, who attends Cardinal Newman Secondary School, Felicia Binotto, an Ancaster High student, David Bowman, who attends St. Mary Catholic Secondary School, Tanya Joseph, who goes to MacNab Secondary School, Monica Nguyen, an Orchard Park Secondary School student, Kate Stericker, also an Orchard Park Secondary School student, and Michelle Zhitomirsky, who attends Highland Secondary School.
This year’s judges were Carmela Trombetta, vice-president of RBC greater Hamilton commercial financial services, Paul Berton, editor-in-chief of the Spectator, Cheryl Jensen, vice-president academics atMohawk College, Denise Doyle, chief executive officer of the YWCA, and Tim Potocic, the 2012 Citizen of the Year Award winner.
Paikin said he took great inspiration from previous Citizen of the Year Award winners and friends, including 2006 winner Don MacVicar, and 1997 winner Ron Foxcroft who both were in the over 200-strong audience.
“When I’m starting to feel sorry for myself, I think about my buddy Foxie, who never stops, (and) they continue to inspire (this community),” said Paikin. “They are two examples of people you can look up to”