Canberra at its finest: the year that was

Posted 20 Dec 2017

Story by CBR Canberra

What a year, Canberra! From proudly celebrating our city as Australia’s most inclusive, to a new look Canberra Centre and a now-overflowing accolade cabinet, 2017 has been nothing short of brilliant. As 2018 fast approaches—let’s take a moment to reflect on our greatest triumphs of the year.


Canberra landed squarely on the world stage, receiving recognition as the world’s third best city to visit in 2018 in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel. It’s the highest ranking any Australian city has ever received, and something we’re just a bit proud of.

Coffee connoisseurs around the city revelled in the news of Canberra winning two brew awards in 2017. For the second year in a row, ONA Coffee’s Hugh Kelly was named Australia’s best barista, while local company, BEAN!ROASTERS, was awarded Australia’s Champion Roaster.

Australia’s same-sex marriage postal survey revealed Canberra as the country’s most inclusive city. According to the results, the ACT had the highest voter turnout nationwide, as well as the highest YES vote. In celebration of our leading role, thousands of people flocked to Lonsdale Street in Braddon to spread the love and a giant rainbow roundabout was painted as a symbol of Canberra’s love of all love.


Canberra’s retail scene received a revamp. The Canberra Centre unveiled a new look Monaro Mall, featuring dedicated beauty and lifestyle precincts housing big name retailers, including Mecca Cosmetica, Haigh’s Chocolate and Le Crueset. Fashionistas from Farrer to Florey rejoiced in the arrival of fashion heavyweight H&M as it opened its doors in November.

2017 also saw Canberra’s iconic flower festival, Floriade, turn 30. The springtime event brought back its most popular and best performing designs from the last three decades to embrace this year’s theme of rejuvenation.


Being one of the top 20 student cities in the world, it’s no surprise that Canberra’s tertiary institutions received high rankings in 2017. Reclaiming its premier status, the Australian National University (ANU) was once again named Australia’s top university and among the top 20 universities in the world. The ANU also joined in its first World Solar Car Challenge, competing against other high-profile universities such as Stanford and Cambridge.

The University of Canberra had a break-out year, being named among the world’s top 100 young universities in the prestigious 2017 Times Higher Education Young University Rankings.


2017 saw Canberra leap to new heights (literally), after the Australian National Concurrent Design Facility for Space Missions (ANCDF) opened at the University of New South Wales, Canberra (UNSW Canberra). The facility’s opening will allow space missions to be planned from blast off to touch down right here in the city, strengthening Canberra as Australia’s space capital.

Canberra’s business women had a stellar year, taking out a number of coveted titles. Local pharmacist, Elise Apolloni was named Telstra’s Young Business Woman of the Year for her dedication to improving healthcare services in the capital, while Caitlin Figueiredo received a Queen’s Young Leaders Award for her advocacy of women and young people.


Canberra’s thriving business contingent continued to support the growth of the city. Local favourite, Bar Rochford added a serious string to Canberra’s nightlife bow after being named Australia’s best bar in the 2018 Gourmet Traveller restaurant guide awards.

Further contributing to Canberra’s successes, local winery owner, Sarah Collingwood, won an Australian Women in Wine Award. Taking out the owner/operator category, Sarah’s win topped off a successful year for women in the capital.

2017 brought out the spirit and optimism of our confident city—looking forward to all the possibilities a new year brings.

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