Mayor Jim Watson and Kitchissippi Ward Councillor Katherine Hobbs today honoured local luminary sisters Gay (Grace) Cook and Grete (Marguerite) Hale with the Mayor’s City Builder Award for their endeavours in business, education, philanthropy and volunteerism, and for their many contributions to the City of Ottawa.
Mrs. Cook is a culinary expert and “matriarch of the kitchen” who is well known for her work as a former food editor at the Ottawa Sun and as a weekly food columnist with the Ottawa Citizen. She received the Sandy Sanderson Award recognizing outstanding food journalists and is also known for her freelance writing for a number of other publications including Fifty-Five Plus and Food & Leisure Magazine.

Mrs. Cook is on the Board of Governors of the National Capital Sommelier Guild and is also a member of Cuisine Canada. She is an honorary member of the Canadian Federation of Chefs and Cooks and is the well-known author of Mrs. Cook’s Kitchen, Basics and Beyond.

Mrs. Cook graduated in 1953 from the first class of the Hotel, Resort and Restaurant Administration Program at Ryerson Polytechnic in Toronto and parlayed her talents into work throughout Europe, South America, and the United States. She also received an Ottawa Community Builder of the Year Award from the United Way.

Mrs. Hale, a prominent philanthropist and businesswoman in Ottawa, was awarded the Order of Canada in 2006 in recognition of her lifetime of volunteerism. She became Chairman Emeritus of the family business, Morrison Lamothe Inc., a national frozen food company headquartered in Toronto in 2005, and has served on numerous national, corporate, and provincial boards.

Mrs. Hale is well known for her work as a volunteer with dozens of Ottawa organizations, including as President of Beechwood Cemetery and as a founding member on the board of the Community Foundation of Ottawa.

Mrs. Hale has been described as one of Ottawa’s most active citizens. Her numerous awards and recognition include: Senator in the Order of St. Lazarus of Jerusalem, Woman of Distinction – Mayor of Ottawa’s Award for Community Service, the Ottawa-Carleton Philanthropy Award, Outstanding Volunteer of the Year, Canadian Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Lifetime Achievement Category, the YM-YWCA Lifetime Achievement Award, Community Builder of the Year Award, Scouts Canada Foundation National Salute Award and honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University. In 2012 she was presented with the inaugural CUAA Alumni Humanitarian Award for her significant contributions to society and outstanding volunteer community service.