Chivalry: “I’m Not Dead Yet”


TORONTO — It was a league of extraordinary gentlemen — and ladies — who gathered last night, March 30, at the 1812 bar at Toronto’s Thompson Hotel, for what the folks at Chivas Regal, the iconic Scotch whisky, promised would be a symposium on modern chivalry.

While difficult to define in today’s hectic world, according to a recent survey, commissioned by the company, Canadians do still have an idea of what chivalry means and 91 per cent of survey respondents felt true gentlemen are more attractive. More specifically, Galen Weston Jr., executive chairman of Loblaw Companies Limited and George Clooney were found to be the epitome of modern gentlemen.

And, while Weston and Clooney were not on hand at the event, two chivalrous equals were: Richard Heinzl, founder of Doctors Without Borders Canada and Matthew Corrin, president and CEO of Freshii. Each delivered presentations on what they perceive to be the keys to a gentlemen’s success. “When my friends and I graduated from medical school, I really thought I could change the world. More importantly then, I didn’t know what couldn’t be done,” said Heinzl, of his early struggles to break through the politics of what was then the France-based Médicins Sans Frontières only to be told MSF Canada wasn’t possible. “At that point we could have simply acquiesced and walked away, but we truly believed in what we were doing, so we realized we just had to grow this in a different way. Once the word got out about what we were doing, we started getting a trickle of funds, enough to send more and more people overseas, until one day, MSF Canada simply became a fact. Today, we’ve raised over $100,000,000 and deployed those funds across the globe.”

For his part, Corrin, who boldly founded Freshii, a group of quick-service soup and salad restaurants, despite having no prior restaurant or retail experience, shared his business principles. By way of example, Corrin said that where other restaurant companies debate change, his approach is to shoot first, ask question later. “The restaurant business is not rocket science,” he started. “But, a thousand little things have to go right every day. The first thing that sets us apart is execution. Instead of talking about what we’re going to do, we do it. We test, we learn quickly, we fail quickly and then we test again.”

During the night, attendees sampled the Chivas Regal product line — led by global brand ambassador Ken Lindsay — from cocktails made with the 12-year-old iteration, to drams of both the 18- and rare 25-year-old editions.

In the end, it was clear speculation about the demise of chivalry and the art of fine-blended scotch whisky, have been dramatically exaggerated — both are alive and well.


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