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Ace Burpee's Top 100 Most Fascinating Manitobans of 2023

Ace Burpee's Fascinating Manitoban List.

I hope all is well with you.

Writing this fascinating list each year thing is always an incredible process. I never struggle to find amazing people and amazing stories. The hardest part is keeping it to 100 names.

I think I’ve done this list 12 years in a row now and I’ve tried to never repeat names. They are listed no particular order as they are all amazing human beings. The best to you and Happy New Year!

Dr. Denise Koh: Last year was big, with Koh being named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women. This year, the specialist in public health and occupational medicine has been declared the Most Influential Filipina in the World by the international Foundation for Filipina Women’s Network. Koh is an innovator, advocate, best-selling author and absolute game-changer.

Mark Piasecki: Fascinated with neuroscience and how the brain functions, Piasecki rode that interest to the title of Canadian National Brain Bee champion. The national brain bee is the foremost event in Canada that tests high school students’ comprehension of neuroscience. Repping Vincent Massey in Winnipeg, Piasecki is now the second in three years from Massey to win the title, as Antoni Klonowski won the belt in 2021.

Dalip Shekhawat: A teacher at St. Amant School, Shekhawat was among the first people in history, like ever, to complete a marathon at the North Pole. He was not only one of 11 to complete the marathon, he also used the event to raise funds for new sensory rooms to help children with autism.

Emma Hill Kepron: Hill Kepron is Associate Dean of the University of Winnipeg Library, and now a Jeopardy! champion. Sorry, two-time Jeopardy! champ. Tremendous.

Ashley van Aggelen: Maybe call her coach with a capital “C.” Along with her day job as head of the phys-ed department at St. James Collegiate, van Aggelen manages to fit in the following volunteer coaching gigs: head coach of the varsity girls basketball, cross-country and track-and-field teams; head coach of the Winnipeg female U18 AAA Winnipeg Avros; convener of high school boys’ and girls’ soccer, and served as head coach of our U18 female hockey team at the Canada Winter Games.

Jayanne English: An expert in astronomy image-making and a professor at the University of Manitoba, English was part of a team of international astronomers who discovered two potential polar ring galaxies. The revelations of the galaxies (a polar ring galaxy exhibits a ring of stars and gas perpendicular to its main spiral disc) are the most credible and detailed to date. English received the Order of Canada in 2023 for her contributions to astronomy.

Quita Alfred: The internationally renowned costume designer was chosen as the principal costume designer for the screen adaptation of Miriam Toews’ Women Talking. It was a full-circle moment for Alfred, having grown up in southern Manitoba and also having designed outfits for director Sarah Polley on Road to Avonlea in the ’90s.

Laurie Ringaert, Ryan Palmquist, Lindsay Kane, Alanna Forsman, Ryan McIntosh, Denis DePape: The Seine River is an underrated gem. The organization known as “Save Our Seine” works to ensure the river has a future, and is valued, protected and clean. The volunteer-driven group tirelessly advocates and educates on behalf of the Seine, and from that we all benefit.

Baljot Rai: No big deal, all Rai did was come up with an experiment that used crushed mussel powder to absorb phosphorus from water. The water he used mimicked the water in Lake Winnipeg. So essentially, one could use zebra mussels (a huge problem), to reduce levels of blue-green algae (another huge problem) in our largest lake. His findings are epic. Also, he’s only in grade 11. His research earned him top prizes provincially and nationally, and he was short-listed for the Stockholm Junior Water Prize in Sweden.

Sofia Bieber: Chosen as the flag-bearer for Team Manitoba to kick off the Canada Winter Games in P.E.I., Bieber proceeded to put on a speed skating clinic. She returned home with five medals, three of them gold. Legendary performance.

Dr. Graham Young: Spearheaded an initiative to have Tyndall stone recognized as a Global Heritage Stone Resource. This is a thing. Tyndall stone is the only Canadian stone to receive the designation. The decision comes from the Subcommission on Heritage Stones, its purpose being to raise awareness of culturally significant building stones, and encourage conservation and protection of extraction sites.


See who made the full list on 103.1 Virgin Radio’s Website. 

Note: Virgin 103.1 shares a parent company with CTV News Winnipeg Top Stories

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