CIMA Annual Celebration and Awards Gala

CIMA’s Celebration and Awards Gala is our annual party to give props to those who innovatively create, support and strengthen Canada’s independent music industry. 

The fourth annual CIMA Gala will take place on Monday, June 11th, 2018 in Toronto. We look forward to celebrating the achievements of our industry leaders with the Entrepreneur Award, Brian Chater Industry Award, Unsung Hero Award, Builder Award, and Marketing Award! 

The deadline has now passed for nominations, and more information regarding the 2018 event will be available soon, including winners/nominees, venue and tickets. 



The Entrepreneur Award celebrates fearless vanguards and trendsetters who spearhead and drive successful businesses, emerging or established, with an ethical approach and a true indie spirit. Focusing on the contribution(s) of a dynamic and creative leader, the Entrepreneur Award is given to those who combine a passion for music with business savvy to turn their visions into a reality. Entrepreneur Award nominees are the dynamic and creative business owners, who:

  • Are the risk-takers and shape-shifters who lead the way into the next era of the music industry;
  • Have demonstrated growth and success in their company;
  • Combines a passion for music with business savvy to turn their visions into a reality;
  • Compounds professionalism with an out-of-the -box managing style 


Named after CIMA’s former president (then CIRPA), a tireless champion of Canadian music, Independents and copyright reform, the Brian Chater Industry Award recognizes individuals in our independent music industry who demonstrate a transformative commitment to their craft, their company or organization, or to the industry at large. Nominees for this award can be a manager or employee who demonstrates strong leadership through such efforts as:

  • Demonstrating innovative approaches that have redefined best practices within the company or industry;
  • Establishing or inspiring vibrant and sustainable models across any area of the independent music industry;
  • Showing outstanding creativity when confronted with challenges or a need for evolution;
  • Sharing their infectious passion for their craft;
  • Challenging and successfully changing the status quo;
  • Encouraging personal and professional development in others, and is a strong member of the team.


The Unsung Hero Award recognizes unwavering commitment and outstanding support to the Canadian independent music industry. This award is designed to recognize any individual, group, or organization that may not necessarily be on the industry’s ‘awards radar’ but yet has made an outstanding and exceptional contribution to the independent music community in Canada. 


The Builder Award is designed to spotlight outstanding individual(s) (or organizations) who have made a significant, influential and longstanding contribution to the Canadian Independent Music Industry. This award is given to those trailblazers who have earned the industry’s genuine gratitude and respect for paving the way for today’s music professionals to thrive, shaping our love for music while helping to define the Canadian music industry.


Innovation knows no bounds in the digital era, and creative approaches to promotional campaigns, be they viral, experiential or lifestyle-focused, make for an exciting landscape in which to launch new projects.

Whether for music releases, tour announcements, fan engagement initiatives, cutting-edge activations or anything in between, Canada's independent community knows how to turn heads and command attention for its artists, whether budgets and teams are large or small.

This award acknowledges the marketing power, creativity and inventive fire of our indies. Companies and individuals who delivered exceptionally successful and unique marketing campaigns in support of independent Canadian music are invited to submit nominations for consideration.

Previous Years

The third annual CIMA Awards Gala took place on Monday, June 12th, 2017 at the Glass Factory. CBC personality Grant Lawrence hosted a night that featured performances by Charmie, Jeremy Fisher, Kayla Diamond, Kim Stockwood and Damhnait Doyle, and Zaki Ibrahim.

The 2017 winners were:

Builder Award: Donald K Tarlton (DKD)

Brian Chater Leadership Award: Sheri Jones (Jones & Co.)

Entrepreneur Award: Rob Lanni & Eric Lawrence (Coalition Music) 

Unsung Hero Award: Steve Jordan (Polaris Music Prize)

Marketing Award: Arts & Crafts for Gord Downie's Secret Path album campaign 

We thank our wonderful sponsors for making the 2017 edition happen: Gowling WLG, MuchFACT, Slaight Music, the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), ACTRA RACS, Connect Music Licensing, CMRRA, Fielding Estate Winery, Global Public Affairs, LyricFind, Moosehead, MROC, Re:Sound, SOCAN, Spotify, and the Government of Canada.

Our exclusive playlist partner for the evening was Apple Music.

2016 Celebration and Awards Gala

The CIMA 2016 Celebration and Awards Gala were held on Monday, June 13, 2016 at Berkeley Church (315 Queen St. E, Toronto, ON).

CBC personality Grant Lawrence hosted a night that featured performances by Donnie “Mr. Downchild” Walsh, Jessica Mitchell, Rik Emmett, Shakura S’Aida and The Sheepdogs.

The 2016 winners were:

Builders Award: Al Mair (Attic Records)

Brian Chater Leadership Award: Neill Dixon (Canadian Music Week)

Entrepreneur Award: Joel Carriere (Dine Alone Records & Bedlam Music Management)

Unsung Hero Award: Richard Flohil (Richard Flohil & Associates)

Marketing Award (inaugural): Coalition Music, in recognition of their outstanding work with USS

Our 2nd Annual Celebration & Awards Gala was a special night that could only happen with the support of our exceptional members, colleagues and friends.

Credit must be given to our sponsors, without whom the event would not be possible: FACTOR, MuchFACT, Merlin, the Ontario Media Development Corporation (OMDC), Slaight Music, CBC Music, Gowling WLG, Stoney Ridge, ACTRA RACS, BuzzAngle, the Canadian Federation of Musicians, CMRRA, Re:Sound, MROC, SOCAN, Steam Whistle and the Government of Canada.

2015 Awards Gala & 40th Anniversary Celebrations

The inaugural CIMA Awards Gala & 40th Anniversary Celebrations were held at Toronto’s The Great Hall (1087 Queen Street West) on Monday, June 15, 2015.

The evening’s ceremonies were hosted by the CBC’s Grant Lawrence, and featured performances by Myles Goodwyn, Jason Collett, Ian Thornley, Hawksley Workman and Tomi Swick.

The Canadian Blast Afterparty included a showcase of some of the best emerging talent that Canada’s independent music scene has to offer with sets from CAIRO, Grand Analog, Ain’t No Love and The OBGMS.

The 2015 winners were:

Founders Award: Bernie Finkelstein, Stan Klees, Terry Brown, Frank Davies, Tommy Graham, Greg Hambleton, Jack Richardson, Allan Macmillan, Ben McPeek, Art Snider and Paul Clinch

Brian Chater Leadership Award: Pegi Cecconi, Vice-President at SRO-Anthem

Entrepreneur Award: Jeffrey Remedios, President and Co-Founder of Arts & Crafts Productions

Unsung Hero Award: Jack Long, Co-Founder and CEO of Long & McQuade Musical Instruments

The 2015 Awards Gala & 40th Anniversary Celebrations acknowledges the generous support of the following sponsors: OMDC, FACTOR, MuchFACT, Slaight Music, Stingray, ACTRA RACS, CFM, CMRRA, MROC, Re:Sound, SOCAN, the Government of Canada.