The Local has won its first ever Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) Awards, taking home two prizes at a ceremony in Toronto on Saturday night.

Former Local Fellow Daysha Loppie won the Student Award of Excellence for her piece “Growing up on the 36 Finch West.” Blending personal writing with deep reporting and historical research, Loppie’s story poignantly illustrates the human stakes behind big transit infrastructure projects.

Simon Lewsen won the prize in the Community Written category for his sprawling feature “The Crisis After the Crisis.” Part of the same Finch West Issue as Loppie’s story, Lewsen’s story is a panoramic look at Toronto’s northwest after the COVID emergency, when those communities were, briefly, the focus of attention from politicians, journalists, and policy-makers.

“Congratulations to Daysha and Simon,” said Tai Huynh, The Local’s Editor-in-Chief. “To have these stories that are focused on one specific community in Toronto recognized on the national stage is a huge honour, and really reinforces our belief in the importance of hyperlocal reporting,” he added. “And none of this journalism would be possible without support from the readers and charitable organizations that fund us.”

The CAJ Awards recognize the best of Canadian journalism across genres, from newspaper investigations to video news stories. Other winners included journalists from The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC, and The Narwhal. The Montreal Gazette’s Aaron Derfel won The McGillivray Award for the best investigative journalism from 2023 for his reporting on the Quebec health care system.