Mayor Jim Watson, with Councillors Jeff Leiper and Scott Moffatt, recognized Dave Kalil and Grace Thrasher’s dedication to the community at today’s City Council meeting by presenting them with the Mayor’s City Builder Award. 

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Dave Kalil, also known as Ottawa’s Piano Man, has been holding weekly livestream concerts to connect with his audiences far and wide. Lockdowns had left Mr. Kalil, a musician with more than 40 years of experience, unable to play at his regular venues but he was determined to continue performing and sharing his passion for music.

The popular 90-minute shows, called Take a Break, came to include a charity component, focusing on raising money for a different non-profit organization every week. Since the concerts began, Mr. Kalil has raised over $115,000 for local charities. Beneficiaries of his fundraising efforts include Shelter Moves, Youth Services Bureau, The Ottawa Mission, Shepherds of Good Hope and numerous others.


For over a decade, Grace Thrasher has been volunteering her time in numerous capacities in support of the Manotick community. Early in her volunteering journey, Ms. Thrasher assisted with fundraising and annual events like Shiverfest, the summer picnic and soap box derby. From 2012 to 2017, Ms. Thrasher served as the Treasurer for the Manotick Community Association and was elected President of the Board in 2017, where she still serves.

Ms. Thrasher has had many accomplishments throughout her time in civic leadership and community-building. This includes leading Manotick’s Task Force on Village Core Revitalization, which resulted in extensive improvements in the community, and advocating for the Manotick community to committees and government representatives on topics like the Manotick Secondary Plan, Transportation Master Plan and the Ward Boundary Review.

Ms. Thrasher is a loyal community ambassador. She has sat on numerous local committees, championed letters of support for local businesses, organizations and charities, helped create the local David Bartlett Park Dogwalkers’ Association and led numerous initiatives that have had measurable impacts on the community.


The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour, created to recognize an individual, group or organization that, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, has demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements.

Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by Members of Council or the public.