Lawrence Hong, 27, was one of five young people fatally stabbed at an end-of-term party in April 2014. He was awarded the Canadian Urban Transit Association's Excellence Award, which recognizes a single major contribution that bettered a public transit initiative.
According to a press release from the University of Calgary, where Hong was a student, the young man would have become an award-winning transit planner had he lived and so it was important to his former instructor to nominate him for this award.
"I have no doubt that Lawrence was going to be a gift to the urban planning profession," said David Cooper, a senior transportation planner with the City of Toronto and a former urban studies instructor at the university. "He had such a passion and talent. I always felt he was going to be an award-winning planner and it's comforting to know that he's now being recognized as such."
Cooper says the Excellence Award Hong received is the biggest honour in the Canadian public transit industry, next to the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Cooper said in the press release that he first met Hong while teaching an urban studies course in transit planning at the University of Calgary — a course in which Hong quickly excelled.
"He had big aspirations to become a transportation planner and he was focused on issues surrounding cycling, public transit and walkability," Cooper said, adding that Hong had also helped form a group called the Calgary Creative City Collaboration, which sought to bring public art into the city's LRT stations.
Hong sat on a steering committee of the Canadian Urban Transit Association's biannual youth conference in 2013 as a volunteer and also served as vice-president of finance for the university's Urban Studies Club.
His parents, Marlene and Lorencio Hong, received the award on his behalf in a ceremony on Nov. 19 in Niagara Falls, Ont.
Among the others honoured at the ceremony were Michael Cook of Timmins Transit, who received the Heroism Award for saving a woman from a burning house while driving along his bus route in 2013, and Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion who, like Hong, received the Excellence Award for her role in improving transit in her community.