'If we build it - they will come.'
Director of Food and Beverage
An escape from the hustle and bustle of Canada's largest metropolis, Toronto Islands are truly an oasis. Just a short ferry ride from the harbourfront, but a world apart, the islands offer a fantastic view of the cityscape in a park atmosphere that is truly unique.
Come summertime, locals and tourists alike flock to the islands to enjoy the 640 acres of parkland including pedestrian and bike trails, gardens, a regatta course, wading pools, volleyball and tennis courts. The Island is one of Toronto's premiere places to play.
At the heart of the fun is Centreville Amusement Park. Built in 1967 Centreville is a turn-of-the-century themed amusement park that resembles a small Ontario town circa 1905-1910. Rides include charming swan shaped boats, a steam train, old fashioned cars and one of the oldest antique carousels in North America.
Beasley Amusements operates Centreville Amusement Park and Centre Island Foodservice, and as such they are the exclusive caterers to the islands. The foodservice operations include 17 quick service concessions, The Carousal Restaurant that offers casual family dining and The Island Paradise Restaurant, a licensed facility with a Caribbean Beach theme that seats up to 1,560 people.
Centre Island foodservice is responsible for all food and beverage service on the Toronto Islands including special events, and they operate a central catering commissary to do production of all raw supplies and all catering packages.
Food and Beverage services for the amusement park as well as for the variety of special events that take place on the island is no small job. Fortunately, Gary Murphy, Director of Food and Beverage for Beasley Amusements & Centre Island Foodservice, has a strong foodservice background complemented by a love of people and a desire to see a smile on the customer's face. Gary's responsibilites include overseeing all food and beverage operations, inventory controls, scheduling, costing, business development and working closely with executive chef Warren Berman on menu development and catering operations.
Beasley Amusements is a seasonal operation opening on April 17th until Thanksgiving weekend. Centreville Amusement Park opens for weekends on May 3rd until Victoria Day weekend, and then daily until Labour Day weekend. Centreville also opens for weekends in September. At their peak they employ 500 people on a full-time seasonal basis. The Toronto Islands have an annual visitation of over 1,000,000 people.
Murphy relies on Sysco to provide a true service partnership. Says Gary, 'I'm confident in Sysco. I receive outstanding service from our Sysco marketing associate Eric Di Paolo who keeps me informed about new products. And with Sysco, deliveries are prompt, and on some occasions Eric has made special arrangements to get products delivered if we had a run on certain items.'
Last year during the Island's International Dragon Boat Race VIP party, Murphy put Sysco delivery trucks to the test when a power failure on the island made it necessary to use Sysco refrigerated trucks to store all of the prepared food - It's the kind of outstanding service that customers have come to expect from Sysco.
For Beasley Amusements the future is promising, as there are plans to expand on Beasley Amusements and its foodservice offerings. When it comes to growth, Murphy's philosophy is simple 'if we build it, people will come.' In 2003 Beasley Amusements hopes to double their catering sales, providing foodservice excellence for weddings, company picnics, and corporate events that take place on the island. Says Gary, 'We are developing new attractions for Centreville Amusement Park and we are renovating the beach concession to include a lakeside licensed patio.'
This year they also plan to introduce a new theme to their already extensive offerings. Says Gary, 'Currently you can enjoy everything from pizza and burgers at the concession stands while our restaurant fare includes such favourites as Calypso salmon pasta, Island nachos, Portabello mushroom sandwiches, slow roasted chicken, and Island pot roast.' ¨
President and CEO
Full Service Hotels - with a big difference
Canad Inns is the fastest growing and most progressive hotel chain in Manitoba - and it's no wonder. Their properties are uniquely distinguished from their competition, operating as 'amusement destination centres' with something extra for both business and family travelers. Simply put they are 'full service hotels' with a big difference.
Canad currently operates eight hotels in Manitoba, seven of which are located in Winnipeg. Each Canad Inns property includes customized choices, outstanding food and beverage concepts and a variety of recreational activities designed to reach the broadest customer base.
Canad Inns operates Splasher's, an exclusive indoor pool and waterslide complex that includes a thrilling waterslide structure, a hot tub to relax in and a wading pool for the little ones. Their Fort Garry location operates Celebrations Dinner Theatre, a 500 seat state of the art dinner theatre that brings amazing entertainment right to the table, and popular night club concepts are the norm at most of their locations.
One of their most successful foodservice operations is Aalto's Family Dining. Leo Ledohowski, President and CEO of Canad Corporation, parent company of Canad Inns, describes the restaurant as 'fresh food fast along with great service' which has given Aalto's Family Dining the distinction of being a Winnipeg landmark.
Aalto's serves breakfast Monday through Sunday and features a famous brunch every Saturday and Sunday. Lunches during the week include a Luncheon Buffet or patrons may choose from featured daily specials, lighter fare including fabulous soup or salads, or for those who enjoy a little decadence, an enticing array of desserts. The dinner menu includes chef's Blue Plate specials as well as a Dinner Buffet and on Friday's they take you to the coast with their celebrated Seafood Buffet.
Another popular restaurant concept at Canad Inns EXPRESS - Fort Garry location is Garbonzo's Pizza - so much more than a pizza restaurant. Garbonzo's specializes in everything from burgers, specialty sandwiches and salads, to gourmet pizzas with a choice of toppings. Says Ledohowski, 'The toppings range from the tried and true to the wild and outrageous. The food is second to none and you can trust our upbeat atmosphere and cheerful staff to make the meal one to remember.'
All Canad Inns hotels contain Ambassador Banquet & Conference Centres to accommodate business meetings, conventions and weddings. Their newest hotel Canad Inns - Portage la Prairie is a combination hotel, shopping centre, curling rink and convention facility encompassing approximately 200,000 square feet, situated on 26 acres of land. With over 15,000 square feet of convention/meeting space and with plans to increase the square footage to 40,000, Canad Inns - Portage la Prairie will be one of the largest private banquet facilities in the province.
Whether customers are enjoying one of the variety of night club concepts, the homestyle meals found at Aalto's Family Dining, catering at the Ambassador Banquet & Conference Centre, or the gourmet pizza at Garbonzo's, Canad Inns' service goal remains the same - every hotel guest must leave satisified.
To date the success of their hotel operations has not gone unnoticed and Canad Corporation has been named one of Canada's 50 Best Managed Private Companies for the past six consecutive years as awarded by Deloitte & Touche, CIBC and The National Post.
Of course, success doesn't mean resting on your laurels, for Canad Inns it means expansion. Plans are underway to build two new hotels with opening scheduled for December of 2004; Canada Inns - Brandon, which will be attached to the Keystone Centre in Brandon, Manitoba, and the Canad Inns - Alerus which will be attached to the Alerus Centre in Grand Forks, North Dakota. ¨
Key Account Representative
3 year service partner to Canad Inns
'Canad Inns is already a leader in Manitoba, and it's my job to keep them on the cutting edge.' says Prokopowich of his ongoing partnership with Canad Inns.
'I work with all the kitchen managers on a weekly basis along with their management team on a corporate level. My job is to provide methods and ideas for maximizing return on the products they use, whether it’s ideas on reducing labour through using a more prepared product, to understanding how certain items can maximize their profit.'
Prokopowich recognizes Canad Inns as one of the cornerstones of his account profile. 'With such large hotels running very busy buffet lines and banquet centres, keeping product and par levels in place is a key demand on my time. Sourcing products and providing ideas on how to improve their food presentation and food costs is an ongoing priority.'
'Canada Inns is a growing business, and as they continue to expand and acquire other properties the challenges of coordinating all their needs will only be greater.' But says Prokopowich, 'I have confidence in knowing that we are bringing leading edge products, technology and services to the industry that are specifically designed to help customers, like Canada Inns, to succeed.'