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Walter Oster to be Awarded the Canadian Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award

TIAC is proud to announce Walter Oster, former Chairman & CEO of the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows, will be awarded theTourism Toronto Lifetime Achievement Award at this year's Canadian Tourism Awards.


It was an honour to have submitted the nomination for Walter Oster for the Canadian Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award. Industry colleagues, the employees of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and I would all like to recognize the significant contribution Walter has made to the City of Toronto, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC), the Province of Ontario and the broader tourism industry we serve.
Walter started his career in the restaurant business in 1973 establishing the Whalers Wharf Seafood House. Subsequent to that, he went on to establish seven other restaurants in the Toronto area, including the popular Pier 4 Storehouse Restaurant. In 1985 Walter expanded into the hotel business and was instrumental in the development and construction of the Hotel Admiral on Toronto’s Harbour Front. He sold this hotel in 1991 and it now operates as the Radison Plaza Hotel Admiral.
Walter served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the MTCC from 1998 to 2017. He dedicated 29 years to public service and to the Convention Centre from 1988 to 2017. His enthusiasm, business acumen and commitment to public service are legendary. He was past Chair of the Board of Tourism Toronto and a member of the board for 22 years. He is also past member of the Boards of Canadian Restaurants & Food Services Association - 22 years (now known as Restaurants Canada), Canadian Sportfishing Industry Association, Kids Healthlink Foundation, Outdoor Caucus Association of Canada and the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario. Those of us who had the pleasure of working for him came to realize he was a man of action, dedicated to improving business at the MTCC and attracting tourism to Toronto and the Province of Ontario. 
Through Walter's leadership on the Expansion Committee of the Board of Directors and working with three levels of government and industry partners, MTCC was able to expand and double our footprint. MTCC officially opened the South Building in 1997, enabling us to attract larger Canadian, US and International Conventions and Tradeshows.
In 1992 Walter was appointed as Chairman & CEO of the Canadian National
Sportsmen’s Show. He spearheaded the Toronto and Ontario’s Great Salmon
Derby on Lake Ontario, attracting fisherman from all over Canada to participate in this great event.
Walter has also received numerous awards over the span of his career. Notably the following:
  •  Honorary Doctors of Law degree from McMaster University
  •  Queen Elizabeth II, Golden Jubilee Award
  •  Queen Elizabeth II, Diamond Jubilee Award
  •  Lifetime Achievement Award for Ontario Tourism
  •  Inducted into the Hall of Fame, Canadian Association of Exhibition Managers
The employees of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and I feel that Walter
would be an excellent candidate for the Canadian Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award.
Written by Barry Smith, President & CEO, Metro Toronto Convention Centre.


The Tourism Toronto Canadian Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award


This award, handed out annually at the Canadian Tourism Awards gala, recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution of energy, service and talent towards the growth of the Canadian tourism industry, through volunteer work, service or business accomplishments. Focusing on tourism building, the recipient demonstrates leadership, vision and innovation built on a solid foundation of strong values and sound business strategies.

Nominees for the Lifetime Achievement Award should be individuals who have:

  • Dedicated the majority of their professional career to the tourism sector;
  • Made an outstanding personal contribution to the tourism sector;
  • Helped to create growth in Canada’s tourism sector through innovation, astute business practices and the development of new opportunities;
  • Demonstrated leadership in the industry through their engagement with tourism partners at the local, provincial and/or national levels;
  • Left a positive and lasting legacy with the people with whom they have worked.

Nominees are generally retired or in the twilight of their tourism careers.

TIAC welcomes all submissions - if you would like to submit a nomination, please forward a brief biography of the nominee and/or a description of their contribution/accomplishments to mdiaz@tiac.travel.

Past Recipients


2016 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient 

Jack Robinson
Jack Robinson, past COO of the CN Tower, is quite literally a towering figure in Canadian tourism who has not only led one of our top national attractions to continued success, but he has done so in a manner that embodied the local and national spirit of partnership that has been his mark of true leadership. 


2015 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Don Cudmore
Don Cudmore has been Executive Director of the Tourism Industry Association of Prince Edward Island (TIAPEI) for almost 20 years and an active employee, manager, volunteer and leader in the tourism industry for 43 years.



2014 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Lynda & Merv Gunter
Co-owners of Frontiers North Adventures with their son John, Merv and Lynda started Frontiers North Adventures after living in Churchill for four years in the early 1980s. They have grown the company from a staff of one to employ 15 year-round staff and up to an additional 50 seasonal staff.


2013 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

David G. Morrison
David Morrison is a pioneer, builder and dynamic leader in the travel and tourism industry. Appointed President of Brewster Travel Canada in 1980, Morrison quickly positioned the company to become a leading tourism entity in Canada. 


2012 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Chris Cahill
Executive Vice President of Global Operations for Las Vegas Sands Corp.
While at Fairmont Raffles and its predecessor organizations, Mr. Cahill gained an international reputation for excellence as he led the company through several successful mergers as both president and chief operating officer.


2011 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Al Raine & Nancy Greene
Following their successful careers in downhill skiing, Senator Greene Raine and her husband Al were leaders in the development of Canada's ski tourism industry, including their instrumental roles in the early development of Whistler-Blackcomb and Sun Peaks in British Columbia. 


2010 Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient

Charles Lapointe
In 1989, he became president and chief executive officer of the Greater Montreal Convention and Tourism Bureau (Tourisme Montréal), retaining the position until his retirement in 2013. In 2002, he also became chairman of the Canadian Tourism Commission.

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