Collette marks 25th anniversary in Canada with a donation
Collette’s Dan Sullivan presents a $5,000 cheuqe to the Breakfast Club of Canada’s Trish Starling.

Collette marks 25th anniversary in Canada with a donation

TORONTO — Collette returned to its roots this week by marking its 25th anniversary in Canada at the Royal York Hotel – the very same hotel where the company established its first office in 1989.

The evening included plenty of laughs, words of thanks and reminiscing about the early days, as well as a cheque presentation of $5,000 to the Breakfast Club of Canada, which provides meals to school children.

Collette President and CEO Daniel Sullivan, who along with his team flew in from the company’s head office in Pawtucket, Rhode Island for the event, explained how the company’s first owner Jack Collette began running tours to Canada as early as the 1920s.

The company evolved from motor coach operator to offering air tours by the 70s and becoming a global player by the 80s with a presence on all seven continents. “We have the largest sales force and we have sales people all across Canada from Halifax to Victoria. The history of selling tours to Canada was so, so important to our growth as a company,” said Sullivan adding the company has seen “over 15% growth this year in Canada.”

“My father bought the company from Jack Collette in 1962 and we’re in the third generation of the Sullivan family,” he said. “Jack had four wives, no kids and my father who knew Jack, had one wife and at the time six kids and eventually seven so it was a good match,” he said, to hearty laughter from the audience.

Sullivan recalled how he’d started as a tour guide at the age of 17 (and he still guides today). “We’d stay at the Chateau Laurier and then the Royal York, and, to show how times have changed, in Niagara Falls we stayed at a motel and people loved it. They didn’t complain. How we got away with that I don’t know. So I have many memories of coming here.”

Collette’s general manager, Brett Walker, who’s been with the company since it opened the first office in the Royal York in 1989, recalled how he once worked in the hotel’s elevator – “a very large freight elevator, it was a manual thing.

“I’ve been proudly representing Collette for 25 years and I want to thank Dan and the Sullivan family for giving me the opportunity of my life and if I could change anything I wouldn’t, although if you ask that question of Dan…,” he joked. “I’m not going to tell you about the time Dan fired me,” he added, as the audience chuckled.

“Twenty-five years is a long time and we couldn’t have done it without your support and I want to thank you,” he said. “I hope in 25 years, we’re back here again.”

The evening concluded with a $5,000 cheque presentation from Collette’s President Dan Sullivan to the Breakfast Club of Canada’s representative Trish Starling.

Collette Cares, the company’s philanthropic arm, recently began a partnership with the non-profit organization, which provides breakfasts to children in 1,400 schools across Canada.

“We feed 25 million breakfasts a year across Canada and we’re always looking to expand and the Collette foundation is committed to both of our mandates – hunger and education – so it’s a natural fit for us to work together and make a difference in our communities,” said Starling.

Sullivan agreed. “We want to help as many needy children as we can worldwide, everywhere we go.”

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