"80 is the new 60!"

Congratulations to the 2023 Top 7 Over 70 Awardees!

Top 7 Over 70 2023 Winners

Top 7 Over 70 Award Recipients during the 2023 Gala held at the Hyatt Regency Calgary
 Ron Ghitter, Tom Jackson, John Scott, Mogens Smed and Dr. Benno Nigg
Bottom:  Janice McTighe and Tania Willumsen

Read more about the 2023 gala highlights. You can also view the live recording here

The Top 7 Over 70 recognizes individuals who have started a new adventure or reprised an existing one after the age of 70.   All these individuals will have accomplished a milestone or vision that inspires Albertans of all ages and demonstrates that age does not preclude developing new passions. The Awards honour individuals 70 and over who have achieved excellence, inspired creativity, shaped innovation, and/or organized outstanding collaboration in one or more of the following areas:

  • Health, Wellness & Recreation: Nominees will be enhancing individual health, community well-being or qualify of life for others. 
  • Arts & Culture:  Creating, performing, teaching, mentoring or promoting arts and culture. 
  • Science: Generating discoveries, conducting research, educating others, creating something new or writing publications.
  • Business: Starting a new venture or creating transformational enhancements to an existing business.
  • Volunteerism/Philanthropy: Making a significant impact, dedication, innovation or level of participation; providing time, talent and/or treasure.

  • Environment: Taking action, creating innovation, inspiring others.

  • Overcoming Adversity: Conquering obstacles, facing challenges or inciting change.

  • Making a difference: Generating an outstanding contribution to community or another group.

    The awards are exquisite glass creations made by artist Julia Reimer and Tyler Rock of Firebrand.

More About Top 7 Over 70

The Top 7 Over 70 Awards is a dream-turned-reality for founder Jim Gray, a renowned Calgarian, oil patch pioneer and philanthropist. Over the years, Jim noticed award programs sprouting up for people in a myriad of demographic groups, except for those who were older in years. At the same time, he seemed to be meeting an increasing number of people who were starting new ventures and initiatives, after they reached traditional retirement age.

The vibrant contributions these senior people were making seemed to be getting overlooked by society, so Jim decided he was going to do something about that. He began dreaming about an awards program. 

Jim Gray Top 7

“I was struck by the dynamic contributions I see Calgary seniors making in every facet of life, adding to the richness of our community,” says Jim. “That’s why I thought it was time to celebrate the unique achievements of seniors by recognizing the Top 7 Over 70.”

Jim and fellow philanthropist Brian Felesky began rounding up a coalition of community leaders to help turn this idea into a solid project. Check out this video telling you more about it!



The result was the formation of a volunteer committee and the launch of the Top 7 Over 70 Awards Gala. It’s a biennial event now in its fourth cycle with the first taking place in 2017, and the last in October 23, 2023. 

The three galas have attracted more than 150 nominations and more than 800 people attend each sold-out event, at which we recognize the remarkable achievement of seven people who started a significant venture after the age of seventy. That’s 21 dynamic individuals making an impact in the community and inspiring so many others to do so also.

2023 Gala 

View the full gallery here. Photos taken by Jill Thompson

Previous Top 7 Over 70 Galas

Three successful, sold-out events, since 2017 with over 800 attendees and over 150 nominations, suggest that this city loves our over 70s and their passion for this community! 

Top 7 Over 70 is honoured to have Dave Kelly continue to host the event year after year - his energy, enthusiasm and passion is unparalleled!

2022 Gala

More photos of the 2022 gala here

2019 Gala

More photos of the 2019 gala here

2017 Gala

More photos of the 2017 gala  here