Originally distributed by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada, October 23, 2017

by Barry Smith, President & CEO, Metro Toronto Convention Centre

TIAC is proud to announce Walter Oster, former Chairman & CEO of the Canadian National Sportsmen’s Shows, will be awarded the Tourism 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.

The Tourism Toronto Canadian Tourism Lifetime Achievement Award, handed out annually at the Canadian Tourism Awards, 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.