The Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce sincerely thanks all sponsors, guests and volunteers for their continued support and generosity in making the 14th Annual Business Excellence Awards Gala an incredible success!
May 6, 2016 – The Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce hosted close to 600 members and friends of the Croatian-Canadian community, including dignitaries from Canadian federal, provincial, and municipal levels of government as well as Croatian government officials at the Burlington Convention Centre in Burlington, Ontario.
The awards evening is designed to formally recognize leadership, innovation and excellence within the Croatian-Canadian business community and significant contributions by Croatian-Canadians to Canadian society as a whole.
The evening commenced with the Mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, addressing the guests with a brief greeting followed by a keynote speech delivered by the Mayor of Kitchener, Berry Vrbanovic, in which he shared his path to success – from leaving Zagreb in 1969 to becoming the Mayor of Kitchener in 2014. Those in attendance were also introduced to the new Croatian Ambassador to Canada, Marica Zorica Matkovic.
Following the keynote speech, the Chamber, represented by Robert Hudaj, along with Her Excellency Marica Zorica Matkovic and Victor Dodig, President and CEO of CIBC, was honoured to present two scholarships and two bursaries to four outstanding students: Ryan Bacic, Lauren Vrbanic, Melisa Okanovic and Filip Trstenjak.
The evening continued with exceptional performances by the Canadian Croatian Choral Society who kept those in attendance entertained throughout the course of the night, including their Tamburasi who played during the cocktail reception and after the official program had closed.
The Chamber was honoured to host the first Croatian-Canadian Art Exhibit with participating artists:
Darinka Blagaj, Marija Jandrac-Baric, Ana Cop, Tatjana Hutinec, Tvrtko Klobucar, Nada Sesar Raffay and Martina Vrbanic.
The Art Exhibit showcased the work of Canadian-Croatian artists in Canada and supported the scholars and youth of the Croatian-Canadian community with 30% of the art sales donated by the participating artists to the Croatian-Canadian Scholarship Fund.
As the recipients of the 14th Annual Business Excellence Awards were announced, they were awarded with a numbered and signed print, created by the featured artist Nada Sesar Raffay, entitled Croatian Rhapsody. The original piece was commissioned in 1999, after the establishment of the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Ottawa, following the end of the Homeland War. The theme incorporated the country’s historical past, the significance of the achieved independence and the future prospects of the Republic of Croatia. Recognizing the importance of the Croatian Rhapsody and its lasting message, this piece was chosen to be presented at the Chamber’s first awards ceremony and is a fitting piece to be presented once again in 2016, the year of the Republic of Croatia’s 25th Anniversary of their Declaration of Independence.
Congratulations to this year’s award recipients:
Small Business of the Year
Spring Travel Service Ltd., Anna Stajrer
Executive of the Year
Executive of the Year
Entrepreneur of the Year
Leo Marasovic, Total Mortgage Solutions (now OakPark Mortgage Group Inc.)
Professional of the Year
Dr. Josipa Petrunic
Edward J. Mavrinac
A special award recognizing “50 Years of Excellence” was presented to Ivica and Karmen Loncaric, Zvuci Hrvatske.
The Chamber gratefully acknowledges the following sponsors:
Student Individual(s) Sponsors
Adams & Miles LLP
Akadami Holdings Ltd.
Alpeza General Contracting Inc.
Altech Security Systems
Canadian Croatian Choral Society
Canadian Slovenian Chamber of Commerce
Coordinate Industries Ltd.
Croatian Canadian Association Bosiljevo
Croatian Sports and Community Centre of Hamilton
Dream Unlimited Corp.
Drywall Local 675
Firm Capital Corporation
JITSU Mfg. Inc.
Lika Sports Inc.
Longo Development Corp.
MIR Construction Inc.
Modern Age Plastics Inc.
NBM Engineering Inc.
OakPark Mortgage Group Inc.
Pulsat Global Capital Inc.
Spring Travel Service Ltd.
Sutton Group – Signature Realty Inc., Brokerage
Symposium Cafe Restaurant & Lounge
Tornado Electric Ltd.
Winzen Corporation Limited