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Christchurch Tramway nailed a prized Heritage Tourism Award, announced at the Vero Canterbury Heritage Awards ceremony held in the brilliantly-rebuilt Knox Presbyterian Church last week.

The Tramway had previously entered in the Heritage Tourism Award prior to the earthquakes, only to be beaten by the DC3-Pionair entry. On that occasion they had to accept second place and a highly commended certificate, before sinking another glass of wine and ambling home with tails between legs.

Christchurch Tram - New Regent St

The Christchurch Tram is a heritage tourism icon

Last week Tramway Operations Manager John Smith was beaming as he carried away not only a framed certificate, but also a classy trophy designed by sculptor Neil Dawson. Both have found pride of place in Welcome Aboard’s new Cathedral Junction office.

This year the awards coincided with Beca Heritage Week to provide that all-important community involvement. The Heritage Tourism Award, sponsored by Christchurch & Canterbury Tourism, recognised the effort of the heritage Tramway returning to the central city. The sights and sounds of the trams were much loved prior to the earthquakes and an iconic visitor attraction.

The citation also mentioned the useful commentaries on the earthquake and rebuild and the Tramway’s contribution to preserving Christchurch’s heritage transport.

Christchurch Tramway was up against other high profile entries for the award. It was therefore a nail-biting few moments until the spectacular Tannery and Atrium, Heritage Christchurch and another finalist were awarded highly commended and were thus eliminated from the top spot. The Tramway entry had a clear track to heritage fame.

John Smith received the award and spoke briefly in gratitude, stressing the Tramway staff’s contribution to winning. Accompanying John at the awards ceremony were Emma Thomson, reservations and functions co-ordinator, and Roy Sinclair, writer of blogs and other media.

Heritage Tourism Award

Welcome Aboard’s Emma Thompson & John Smith with the Heritage Tourism Award

Welcome Aboard was left with just one minor dilemma. John had said if Christchurch Tramway did not win this time, he would be so distraught he would take a job washing dishes at the Christchurch Gondola Cafe. Question is, who is going to wash those dishes now?

Christchurch Tram Drivers Trophy

Christchurch Tram Drivers proudly showing off the Heritage Tourism Award