By Ray Culos
Following the presentation of the CIC’s Italo-Canadian of the Year Award, recipient Bob Gaglardi was described as being incredibly competitive, humble and one who prefers to run under everyone’s radar, during a 40-minute Question and Answer interview (Q&A).
This son of Pentecostal ministers followed his dream of being a builder and entrepreneur, conceived around age 12, has become one of Canada’s leading and most successful businessmen.
In 1944 his parents were asked to relocate from Langley to Kamloops where they opened a new Pentecostal Church. The family lived in a section of the church for seven years. “As a result of being teased by other kids for being the kid of Pentecostal ministers I had a bit of an inferiority complex. What compounded that was the fact that we didn’t have very much. As a result, I wasn’t regarded as an equal to the other kids because the Pentecostal Church didn’t pay its pastors any salary or remuneration. They were completely dependent upon the support received from the church’s parishioners which at the time totaled 11 or 12 people. I ended up having to wear clothes that were donated to the church by the parishioners. What got me through this situation, however, was the fact that I was a pretty good athlete at school, but I was a loner.”
“I started to work at a very young age and when I was around age 12 became the janitor of the church where I did this kind of work three or four days a week.”
“As the church became more prosperous, the parish purchased the lot next door on which they built a new church. And I got to work on it after school and on holidays. When I was 15, I went to work for Caterpillar Tractor. Although too young to drive a car, I could operate a tractor. As a result, I was able to get work with contractors during the summer. I did so well one summer that I made enough to be able to buy my first house at age 15. The cost of the house was $1,700!”
“I declined to follow in my parents’ role as ministers, as they had hoped – deciding that that wasn’t good enough. Instead, I wanted to be self-employed and I wanted to build. The desire to pursue this dream started around the time I was 12. When I completed high school I wanted to go out and fulfil my dream.”
“At the time, my father asked me to go to university instead of pursuing full-time employment. He kept saying, ‘You’re so young and always in such a hurry. You’ve got lots of time. Besides which a university education will build confidence, it will give you the ability to learn in order to go forward.”
“I respected my father so I decided to follow his advice. However, because my father had been elected MLA for Kamloops and had become Minister of Highways, I wanted to go as a far away as possible. As a result, I ended up attending a university in Texas. Following graduation with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and I returned to Vancouver and incorporated a Northland Properties Limited in 1962.”
In 1967, he built his first Sandman Hotel in Smithers, BC and during the next 48 years continued to build and operate hotels across Canada, the UK and recently in the US. Today, the company’s restaurant holdings make Northland, which is fully owned by Mr. Gaglardi and his family, one of the largest owners and operators in Canada. According to an article in the CIC’s banquet program, the company currently employs over 15,000 talented and dedicated employees – who also shared the dream – making possible for the company’s continued success.
Marco Zanatta Presented with the President’s Award
President Angelo Holmes conferred upon Marco Zanatta the popular President’s Award also referred to as the Angelo Branca, QC Memorial Trophy, for meritorious service to the Confratellanza Italo-Canadese (CIC) during 2016. The presentation was made at the club’s annual banquet held at the Italian Cultural Centre last Saturday.
Marco and his wife Bianca own and operate a successful custom home building company (M. Zanatta Homes Ltd). As a team they have designed and built award-winning homes.
A former president of the Italian Wine-Makers Club, Marco has been a member of the CIC for 13 years and serves as one of the club’s delegates to the Italian Cultural Centre.
Participating in the presentation ceremony, were several members of the Branca family including the Hon. Delores Holmes and Mrs. Patricia Battensby.
A Special Award to John Barbieri
President Angelo Holmes gave special recognition to John Barbieri, a former president of the Confratellanza at the CIC’s banquet on October 1st A personally inscribed plague the wording of which lauded Barbieri for his remarkable and consistent support of the club’s activities including the sale of banquet tickets. Barbieri regularly encourages members and friends to attend CIC events including the annual banquet and dance event. Without top ticket sales representatives like Barbieri, the club could not present as many of its popular programs. Congratulations and a sincere thank you are extended to John Barbieri!
Bruno Tassone Facilitates Scholarship Presentations
Four young women – all of whom excelled in the Grade 12 high school studies – were awarded Scholarships this year by the Confratellanza.
Lauren Rea, a graduate of Little Flower Academy, distinguished herself as a top academic scholar.
Sophie Bruneau graduated from Dr. Charles Best Secondary where she was a member of the Honour Roll (with Distinction) as well as being recognized as the Top Overall Student.
Thea Schoenfelder graduated from Dr. Charles Best Secondary where she regularly made the school’s Honour Roll.
Amanda Aiello, a graduate of Centennial Secondary, distinguished herself as an academic. In addition, she was recognized for her extra-curricular activities in the community.