The MARTYS | History

It all started in 1994.

The grand night of award giving, recognitions of excellence and hearty fellowship in support of the finest arts performers of the year – now known as The MARTY Awards, began with the former Mississauga Music Council and their annual award for the Musician of The Year. MMC would go on to help with the formation of the Mississauga Arts Council and the building of the Living Arts Centre.

And the first Musician of the Year Award went to Oscar Peterson! The award was taken over by the Mississauga Arts Council (MAC).

The first Mississauga Arts Awards in 1994 were held in Meadowvale Theatre and celebrated five artistic disciplines with ten awards; one for emerging and one for established winners in Music, Dance, Theatre, Literary and Visual arts.

The next year, MAC was presenting an Arts Festival at Square One and made the award presentations into the Festival finale. In 1996, with so much arts and volunteer energy invested in building the Living Arts Centre, the arts awards took a hiatus.

The next Arts Awards took place in the new concert venue Hammerson Hall at the Living Arts Centre, which meant a bigger budget including $1,000 for winners.

In 2000, Quartetto Gelato headlined the stage for a live broadcast on Rogers Television and in 2001 the event became a full-blown awards show with professional performers on-stage.

In 2007, the Arts Council held a “Name the Award Contest” looking for an exciting new name for the Mississauga Arts Awards and the “MARTY Award.” was chosen. “M” as in Mississauga was joined with “ARTY” for arts. The contest winner was Barbara Prins.

For the 15th anniversary in 2009, the MARTYs moved to Stage West and grew to include a dinner, entertainment, a silent and live auction and the award presentations. 

In 2011, the MARTY Awards returned to the Living Arts Centre for an exciting celebration in a sold out Hammerson Hall. MAC tried its new “People’s Choice” Award, won by Liberty Silver.

2013 saw the MARTY Awards presented by host Tristan Barrocks, featuring the Johnny Max Band, the Alma Quartet, the Con Brio singers, Vibonics, Zohra Zoberi, and the Cawthra Dancers.

2014 marked the 20th anniversary of The MARTYS! And they moved back to the Living Arts Centre where Winners were presented with an artist created sculpture as well as a certificate and a sponsor’s cheque for $1000.

In 2016, the MARTYs took  a shift to a larger venue with red carpet treatment, a sit down dinner and a gala awards show for nearly 700 at the Mississauga Convention Centre.

2017 brought outstanding musical winners like Alx Veliz, Chuck Jackson, Billy Talent and Suzanne Hou, science fiction bestseller, writer Robert J. Sawyer and local TV legend and volunteer winner, Jake Dheer stole the show.

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