Caledon thrives alongside its entrepreneurial spirit

OPINION by Monty Laskin, CEO Caledon Community Services

I spent part of the day at Caledon Community Services’ main office in Bolton’s Royal Courtyard and split the rest of the day between the Exchange on Healey Road, the Caledon Community Complex and the Caledon Golf Club in Inglewood.

The Small Business Summit’s energy in the Caledon Community Complex was palpable. The buzz was about Nicole Verkindt, one of CBC’s celebrities on Dragon’s Den and founder of an international business success, OMX.

Verkindt’s talk was compelling. She referenced the Small Business Summit’s award winners, some of Caledon’s top businesses. Her comments echoed what I’ve learned over the past decade: just how special this community is that Caledon Community Services (CCS) is fortunate to serve.

Bolton Rotary’s Community Spirit Award recognized Bob Fines of Fines Ford Lincoln. Knowing Bob and his unwavering support of so many local charities and causes, including CCS — how fitting it is that he was recognized.

There were other names that resonated for me: Garden Foods, Piero and Rose Carbone, receiving the Reader’s Choice Business of the Year award from Metroland for the second year in a row. What struck a chord was that these two gentlemen recognized the other in their acceptance speeches. They highlighted their shared history of community building that they and their families have been doing for decades. I hold each in very high regard. I know how much of a difference they make for Caledon residents through their support of CCS programs and services. I multiply this by their support of other good causes throughout Caledon over the years. They are extraordinary community builders.

Other award winners like Vera Robinson of Naked Vine, Faith and David Clarkson of Applegarth Farms and Nick and Lindsay Sutcliffe of Pommies Cider are also huge supporter of this community. It was wonderful to see them recognized.

Vera regularly participates in our Life for Youth program, not to mention being an avid and vocal supporter of many of our community initiatives. Faith and David Clarkson are regular contributors to the Exchange’s food support program and support our Kidz in Caledon campaign. And Nick and Lindsay Sutcliffe of Pommies Cider are generous contributors to our Home for the Holidays Gala.

I appreciate every single award winner, all amply deserving of mention. What stands out for me is how integral they are to this community’s quality of life — and how rich is the fabric of Caledon — that there are dozens more like them that work hard to support their families and then work harder to support the community of Caledon.

The political will to support and develop business in Caledon is strong and entrepreneurial in its approach with awards that focus on areas of business that are important to Caledon. CCS tries to be in step with this. While entrepreneurs and small businesses were being celebrated at the Caledon Community Complex, across town at the Exchange, some of Caledon’s largest employers were hiring. CCS’s Job Fair in the Exchange provided a forum for more than a dozen local employers including Husky, Mars, the Town of Caledon, Home Depot and more to meet local job seekers and put them to work with sustainable and well-paying jobs. It is CCS’s privilege to support employers who support our community work time and time again.

My day ended with the celebration of a wonderful man with a visit to the Caledon Golf Club where adoring people paid tribute to the life of Mr. David Graham, a Caledon community builder like no other. He was an entrepreneur par extraordinaire whose kindness and generosity achieved so much good. Notable for CCS is that he and Mrs. Marty Graham helped build the Exchange, a bustling community hub that received more than 12,000 visitors last year! He mentored me and likely many others in this community; his legacy of Caledon building is inspiring.

 From generation to generation, this community is blessed with business entrepreneurs who are equal parts wise, hardworking, generous and kind.
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