21st Annual Pinnacle Awards Celebrates Excellence


TORONTO — A buzz of excitement permeated the Canadian Room of the Royal York Hotel on Dec. 3, when close to 500 hospitality industry executives came together to celebrate the 21st edition of the Pinnacle Awards, organized by Kostuch Publications Ltd., sponsored by Compass Group Canada and emceed by Dianne Buckner, host of CBC’s Dragons’ Den.

In welcoming this year’s guests, editor and publisher Rosanna Caira noted the past year has been one of the industry’s most challenging in recent times. “When we began 2009, we really had no idea what we were in for. But 12 months later, we can safely say we’ve seen it all,” she said, alluding to the recession, the threat of a pandemic and uncertainly about the new HST. “But let’s not forget there was also a great deal to celebrate. For every venture that failed, many others were launched and introduced with hope, raging against the realities of the day.”

While the past year certainly won’t go down in the annals as a vintage year, one would never have known it judging by the accomplishments of this year’s slate of winners, which included McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada Limited as Company of the Year. With 2009 sales projected to hit $3 billion, the behemoth is coming off one of its most successful years in recent memory. In addition to being the industry’s leading hamburger chain, the company has successfully reinvented itself as more than just a place for burgers and fries. Other winners included Oliver & Bonacini as Regional Company of the Year; Nota Bene as Independent Restaurateurs of the Year; Keg Restaurants winning the Franchise Excellence Award and Ocean Wise as Supplier of the Year.

On the hotel front, Hotelier magazine named Atlific Hotels as its Company of the Year for 2009. Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2009, Atlific Hotels is one of the industry’s most respected and trusted management firms. Since opening its doors in 1959 with the first Holiday Inn franchise in Canada, the company has grown its portfolio to include 43 properties coast to coast, representing 6,834 rooms across 12 brands. Sales in 2009 are projected to hit $310 million. Monte Carlo Inns was the Regional Company of the Year; and David Mounteer, of the Auberge Saint-Antoine garnered the Hotelier of the Year award, while Harry Christakis of HCA Architecture won the Supplier of the Year award.

Photo by Margaret Mulligan Photography

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