2023 Order of Moncton recipients announced 2023-10-16

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Exceptional community leadership sums up the work of all three of the 2023 recipients of the Order of Moncton. Dale Hicks, Mike Timani, and Manju Varma are this year’s inductees for the City of Moncton’s top award.

“The Order of Moncton is the highest honour the City can bestow on a citizen,” says Moncton Mayor Dawn Arnold. “This year’s recipients have each made outstanding contributions to the betterment of our community and it is a privilege to recognize them in this way.” 

Recipients of the Order of Moncton receive a medal, a pin, and a certificate of honour at the formal induction ceremony, to be held at Moncton City Hall on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2023. A public reception will take place at 8 p.m. that evening at City Hall.

Recipients are chosen by a selection committee comprised of elected municipal officials, three residents of Moncton, and a representative of the City of Moncton administration, from nominations submitted by community members.


Dale Hicks

Dale Hicks has made it his life’s mission to offer a hand up to those who need it most. As a volunteer, advocate, and community leader, Hicks has worked tirelessly, not only directly with organizations who assist vulnerable populations, but to educate, inform, and motivate action in others who are in a position to address poverty in our community. His key contributions have come through his work with the Food Depot Alimentaire, and as founder of the Peter McKee Community Centre Inc. and Rising Tide Community Initiatives Inc. These three organizations sum up Hicks’s approach to addressing poverty, taking a holistic approach and providing not only food and housing, but life skills and supports. 

Hicks’ greatest strength is his unique ability to connect both with people in dire need of support and the policymakers, business leaders, and influencers who can make real change in their lives. Under his leadership, the Rising Tide initiative has gained unprecedented support from all three levels of government and is making headway in lifting individuals out of homelessness and poverty. He has also inspired compassion and support across the community through projects like the annual Christmas box program, which feeds thousands of people over the holiday season. 

Hicks is a true humanitarian who has made immense contributions to the well-being of our city. His work is the spark that lights the way for others and helps make Moncton the kind of welcoming, inclusive, and supportive community to which we aspire.


Mike Timani

Mike Timani’s success in business is impressive. He has grown his company, Fancy Pokket, from a three-person team to the largest independent bakery in Atlantic Canada, employing 70 people and offering his products globally. He recently expanded to South Carolina, opening one of the largest dedicated gluten-free facilities in the world. His business acumen has been rewarded with multiple awards, including Atlantic Business Magazine Top 50 CEO Hall of Fame inductee, Retail Council of Canada Grand Prix New Product Award Winner, and E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year. 

But Timani has not confined his contributions to business. Originally from Lebanon, he has made a point of welcoming newcomers to Moncton and easing their transition to Canada. His work through MAGMA and the New Brunswick Multicultural Council has helped attract and retain more new Canadians in our region and he was instrumental in developing the MOSAÏQ Festival, a highly-anticipated annual event celebrating the cultural diversity of our community. He also played a key role in helping Syrian refugees settle in the region in 2015-2016, working with all three levels of government to support them upon arrival, personally visiting each family that arrived in Moncton, and contributing more than $50,000 in pita bread, which was distributed to the arriving families at no cost.

Timani has also given back in other ways, supporting local hospitals, school breakfast programs, food banks, and organizations such as the Atlantic Ballet Theatre and Junior Achievement. Timani is an exceptional employer and community leader whose remarkable dedication to the betterment of our city has not only helped moved Moncton forward, but has helped create a more inclusive and compassionate community.


Manju Varma

Dr. Manju Varma is an educator, an advocate, and a change-maker. She is a sought-after resource on provincial and national committees, where her expertise on equity, diversity, and anti-racism has helped shape social policy and action.

Varma has worked internationally, but also locally at a grassroots level and has been an advocate and ally for people of all cultures and from many different minority groups in the community. Her commitment to improve conditions for all citizens has led to her being involved with initiatives that impact the most vulnerable.

Most recently she served as New Brunswick’s Commissioner on Systemic Racism, the first such position in Canada. Her final report drew upon the voices of more than 200 participants and outlined recommendations to combat systemic racism that will serve as a blueprint for creating a more equitable province.

While the work to which she has devoted her life is difficult and sometimes discouraging, Varma has not lost her enthusiasm for it nor the belief that change is possible. She has focused on gathering information that is not only useful to government departments, agencies, groups, and individuals, but which can serve as a catalyst for change within systems and structures. She is passionate about people, about change, and about her community.

Varma’s contributions to equity are wide-ranging. Her work has helped bring about systemic change; advanced the social, cultural, and economic well-being of our city and our province; and has created a more inclusive and diverse community for all residents.


Communications, City of Moncton

High resolution photos for media are available upon request

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