The story behind the crystal presented to each Quebec Police Award gala recipient

Behind this cherished crystal trophy is the story and events surrounding the founding of the Quebec Police Awards gala — a history that truly captures the enthusiasm and the desire to publicly honour police officers who have gone beyond the call of duty.

In 1999 Quebec Mounted Police Members’ Association president Gatan Delisle brought forward an idea that had been brewing in his mind: an annual event that would publicly honour the excellent work performed by police officers throughout the province of Quebec.

Delisle’s idea was sparked by a similar involvement he had had in the mid-1990s with the annual Top Cops gala hosted by the Canadian Police Association. Delisle then approached Tony Cannavino, who was then president of the Quebec Provincial Police Association about the idea of honouring law enforcement officers in Quebec.

And thus on Thursday, November 3, 1999 was held the inaugural Quebec Police Awards gala inside the majestic Grand Ballroom of Montreal’s Marriott Château Champlain Hotel.

And while it was important to have such an event, with plenty of pomp and circumstance, it was also vital to find a way to honour the men and women who wear the uniform, and to do it with style and with a unique display of appreciation.

A committee was created to deal with every facet of the gala, and to make it a success, year after year.

It was decided that a trophy of superior quality be created. It had to be unique and it would have to be presented to the recipients during a ceremonial dinner.

The committee first considered the creation of an acrylic trophy, with the silhouettes of two police officers — a man and a woman — with “Quebec Police Awards” written below. The silhouettes would represent municipal, provincial and federal police officers. The logos of the participating police associations, as well as those of our sponsors, would appear. The name of each recipient would be engraved on the trophy, along with the year of the gala.

In 2005, the acrylic was replaced with a crystal. The committee made sure to select the highest quality crystal and engraving. Such care and attention into the quality of this crystal trophy has made the award a much coveted gesture. Over the years, the media have attended and reported widely on the gala, making it a high-profile event that has captured the hearts of the public. In 2010, we conducted a study on that year’s gala, the recipients selected, along with their stories — a study which allowed us to continue our work into making each gala as special as the previous one.

In 2011, gala organizers elevated the stakes by creating a board of governance whose job was to study each nominated officer and event. The members of the board have since played a pivotal role in the selection of recipients among the many officers nominated. As a result, since 2011, each declared recipient and his/her story has undergone a meticulous study by the members of the board in order to make sure that only the best in policing are selected.

With the crystal trophy comes the title of Hero in the shadow — a slogan that members of the gala committee assigned to each Quebec Police Award recipient. This title is an honorary one that truly befits the excellence of each selected recipient, whether in recognition of saving a life, carrying out an investigation or community involvement. The aim of the gala and its prestigious award is to say thank you to our men and women of law enforcement for elevating the policing profession. The annual gala shall continue to offer deserving Quebec police officers a public show of appreciation for years to come.