While the main focus at OCMC has traditionally been on those who won the various events, they are far from the only winners. Most past participants will recall a team-mate whose encouragement and support meant so much to their whole team, even though those individuals might not have won. This award recognizes those people.

It is named in part for William Arthur Lydiatt, who founded Marketing Magazine in 1918 and published it until 1954, when ill health forced him to sell it to MacLean-Hunter Limited, subsequently bought by Rogers Media. From the late 1940s until his death in 1961, he was supported by his niece Margaret, who helped him deal with the ravages of disease and allowed him to continue living with dignity and the gourmet lifestyle he loved.

What follows are brief stories about these individuals, the criteria for the award that commemorates them and those who have have been honoured to receive it.

Award Criteria

A group of students who had been active in OCMC in the past were asked what they felt should be important criteria in creating such an award. The following are based on their input. They decided the award should be based on any or all of the following:

  • A student who puts the value and spirit of the competition first and foremost by supporting others on the team, working hard and fostering growth in others.
  • A student who demonstrates commitment to the OCMC through work outside of the competition proper, such as recruiting others, working to promote or raise funds for the team or other actions.
  • A student who has overcome extraordinary adversity to get to the competition and who, by their example, inspires others.
  • A student who demonstrates integrity through a spirit of sportsmanship, commitment and recognition of the value and opportunity presented by OCMC.

The award was created in 2006 and was awarded to a student from Sheridan, since other colleges wished further discussion on it before making it open to students from all colleges.

As agreed by all colleges in 2007, as part of the awards banquet each year, the winning candidate will be recognized. Colleges submit candidates who are evaluated by a multi-college committee the week before the event. The winner keeps the trophy for a year and returns it before the next year’s competition.

Previous Award Winners

While the award was conceived and created in 2006, it was not approved by the general OCMC committee for that year, and consequently only Sheridan students were eligible.

For 2014St. Clair College student John Azlen was the clear winner.  John was an inspiration to the St. Clair team, and to all OCMC participants.  His ability to overcome the challenges that life presents, with enthusiasm and positive spirit, made him a perfect choice for the Lydiatt award.  He was clearly a team favorite and the judges were impressed that John encouraged team members to go beyond their own comfort levels.

In one word … dedication.  That describes the Alysia Harji of Seneca College, our 2013 winner.  As a single mom with a part time job, a full time student with an A standing, Alysia amazed the coaches with her hard work and incredible organization.  Nothing could hold her back, not even being sidelined in the hospital.  Alysia continued to participate and support the team from her hospital bed.  Now that’s dedication!

2012 was the year for Mohawk College, as Jill Stafford was the Lydiatt pick.  Jill was a natural for Mohawks OCMC team.  Her professional and mature attitude made her a key player, much sought after by team mates and admired by coaches.  The judges were impressed that her strong work ethic and drive for excellence served as an effective role model for the entire Mohawk team.

In 2011, the honour again went to a guy, this time to Bryan Abichandani of Centennial College!  Bryan can do it all, and so he did.  As a full time A student, Bryan threw himself into OCMC with passion and enthusiasm, taking the initiative to spearhead a recruiting drive to bolster the team. His “can-do” attitude inspired the entire team, as did his wardrobe – Bryan wore Centennial’s colours from day 1 just to prove his dedication!

In 2010, we finally got a guy for a winner!! Scott Landry of Mohawk College was the pick. This remarkable fellow took on an event that is not taught at his college, leapt into action to raise funds, and supported his team. On top of all that, he is playing his part in a family with his wife returning to work and three kids under 6! He really shows that if you want something done, ask a busy person.

For 2009, a student who seemed to have OCMC in her DNA was the pick. Shauna Proctor of Contestoga was out in the high schools and around her college spreading the message, using video she shot at the previous year’s event. She also designed the team shirts. She chose college after a workplace injury ended her career as a a paramedic. And, she did it all as a single mom with two teenagers!

In 2008, a very active Algonquin Student, Sarah Ormon, got the nod for her diligence in supporting her team, raising funds, managing a Web site, arranging team meetings and a whole lot more. Judges were unanimous and were especially impressed with how she had motivated others.

In 2007, all colleges were invited to send outstanding contributors for consideration for the award. The winner was Victoria George of Seneca, who was in three events, coached, supported and recruited others, volunteered for 20 hours a week and… had a four-year-old child! Amazing, and understandably the unanimous pick of the judges.

Sadly, Victoria died in April, 2009 after falling ill while on vacation in Mexico. What began as a severe asthma attack led to an emergency trip back to Canada where she died in hospital with her family by her side. All who knew her were devastated at the news.

For 2006, the winner was Chantelle Simard, whose Sheridan team-mates found her to be incredibly supportive of them. She also was a last-minute replacement for one event and gave extra effort to do well in it.

William Lydiatt

Born in Toronto in 1880, Lydiatt looked around and saw a future in the then-new world of advertising. He worked for various advertising firms in Toronto and New York before settling in his birthplace and establishing a large advertising and printing business. Print ruled at the time, as radio broadcasts would not arrive until the 1920s.

Like the classic entrepreneur he was, Lydiatt saw opportunity in the growing field and realized it was about more than just advertising. So, in 1918, he bought a modest publication called Economic Advertising and renamed it Marketing and Business Management. The publication quickly became the key source of information about these nascent fields. Spotting another gap in the market, he compiled what were known as the Lydiatt books, now better known as Canadian Advertising Rates and Data. Another publication was Who’s Who in Canadian Advertising.

Lydiatt remained active with Marketing until 1954 — just two years after the first TV broadcast in Canada — when he sold it MacLean-Hunter, then a leader in Canadian business publications. It is now part of the Rogers Media group.

Key Canadian institutions in the field have roots in his work. The Association of Canadian Advertisers was founded in 1914 with Lydiatt as its head for four years; he quit when he started Marketing. He was honoured as its first ever “Man of the Year” in 1941. Margaret Brown started at Marketing as a secretary, but went on to become its Associate Publisher at a time when women faced the glass ceiling. She founded the Women’s Advertising Club of Toronto and sponsored the Margaret Brown Byron award through it. (She had married Harry Byron, advertising manager for the publication.)

In an era when many made preposterous claims for their products in their ads or tried to pressure editors to write favourable articles about their wares, Lydiatt left little doubt about how destestable he found those practices. When such a scheme arose in 1920, he made clear his approach in this editorial, in which he chastizes those who will not speak up against the “advertising as patronage” approach:

“Cover it up, let it rot, keep it quiet, or you may get yourself disliked in certain quarters… Marketing… must combat those destructive influences which would undermine the public confidence and good-will on which all honest business must be built and promoted… It is true that a publication cannot exist without advertising. But truer still that it cannot service its advertisers unless it has readers and plenty of them, who believe that it places their interests above all others.”

Having known the man all her life and having cared for him during his final years, Margaret, his niece by his brother Jeffrey, had remarkable insights into the person who was William Lydiatt. Three decades after his death, she described him thusly to a nephew:

“Absolute integrity, enormous talent and equally enormous modesty, steadfastness, persistence in ‘seeing it through’, a very keen mind, a habit of shouting to emphasize a point, which frightened lesser beings, a shortness of manner which prejudiced others. A generosity so quiet it was overlooked often… ”

Margaret Lydiatt

Born in 1910, she lead a remarkable life, which ended in 2006. She grew up in a family where music lived and her father worked in show business, managing theatres in Calgary, Vancouver and Chicago. She saw the dreary 30s and knew that the Depression was more than an expression. She spent most of the war years (1939-45)in Vancouver, working to do all the behind-the-scenes things that keep fighting forces ready.

Yet some observers would say she found her calling in the late 1940s when she moved to Toronto to care for her father’s brother, William Arthur Lydiatt. He suffered from Pernicious Anemia, a ravaging disease that was finally understood and basically eliminated just after it was too late for her uncle. He was bedridden, but was able to continue the gourmet lifestyle to which he was accustomed with Margaret’s help. Though he had married, there were no children and his wife had gone her separate way. With Margaret’s support, he was able to enjoy the last years of his life.

Through the sale of Marketing and his prosperous printing business, William Lydiatt was a wealthy man. He set aside money to take care of his wife, from whom he had been estranged for decades. He also left a considerable sum to Margaret with clear instructions: “Go and enjoy yourself and see the world.”

She took him at his word and travelled the globe, visiting every continent but Antarctica. An incredible raconteur, she would often weave stories from her experiences. She made friends in every corner of the planet and was a bastion of support to those in difficulty, especially her numerous relatives. She was especially supportive of the “black sheep” of the family.

With a steel-trap memory, she would recount events of her childhood and beyond as if they happened yesterday. Among her favourite subjects, to those who wanted to know, were tales of her years with “Uncle Bill.” She travelled with him to New York, heard him pontificate on the issues of the day and knew his friends. Through her tales, the man lived on.

Following her death in 2006, her estate, which still had its roots in the funds her uncle had bequeathed to her, was divided among her 13 nephews and nieces. Many did something which would recognize her unique nature. A niece travelled to China. One nephew wanted to recognize both her and his great-uncle — David Nowell, marketing professor at Sheridan. He took part of his inheritance to create this commemorative award. He initiated a competition to design a special trophy that would somehow capture the spirit of these remarkable individuals and perpetuate their memory and ideals.

The Award

Sheridan College has a rich community of creative artists in all media, so a competition was held to come up with the best concept. Interested students got background information on Lydiatt and a passage from one of his writings, titled No Good Work is Ever Lost:

In 1923, William Lydiatt wrote: “When Leverrier, after months of calculation and observation, finally swept the heavens with his telescope and discovered the hitherto unknown planet of Neptune, he could point to a tangible result of his labors.

“But such tangible consummations of patient effort do not come to crown the endeavors of the experimenters and analysts of advertising. We are not dealing in an exact science. We are still pioneering. Our discoveries and plans are as yet only tentative. We can only comfort ourselves with the message sent just before his death by a great scientist to a fellow-student: ‘No good work is ever lost. Many laborers must be content to sow; others will come to reap the harvest.’”

A furniture design student, Nari Poluvan, was inspired by that last part of that quote and he envisaged a trophy that would be dsigned around the idea of a sail. Without the wind, a sail is useless, he noted. But the wind that fills the sail is invisible, the unseen hand that moves it forward. Similarly, those who support others provide that wind, and are those who will be content to sow while others reap.

While he could hardly have known them, Poluvan captured the spirits of those for whom the trophy is named. The solid maple base captures the steadfastness and integrity of William Lydiatt; the curved walnut sail speaks to the adventurous Margaret. The base supports the sail.

Want to discover more details about the history of OCMC?

OCMC History Page

OCMC Champions Page

OCMC Lydiatt Award Page

OCMC Award of Excellence Page