On Saturday May 8, 2010 Great Canadian hosted a huge Grand Opening event in celebration of the companies’ expanded operations and new facility headquarters. There was a free barbecue, live entertainment, hourly prizes, and a fundraiser for Haiti Relief.
Although faced with the same tough challenges as any company in the past two years, it is with tremendous hard work and diversification that the Great Canadian Group of Companies powered through the recession and continues to expand its operations today, including Great Canadian Holidays, Great Canadian Coaches, Great Canadian Fleet Services, Rito’s Great Canadian Auto Care Centre, a GoCo Diesel fueling site and a storage and maintenance facility for Go Transit and Greyhound buses.
The building blocks of Great Canadian Holidays began in 1984 with Larry and Lorna Hundt and a dream. In their first year of business the couple employed one other staff member, who at the time was the only employee earning a salary. As the husband and wife team began to stack the building blocks to success there were many challenges along the road. With each challenge rose new ideas, innovative strategies and a drive that pushed the Hundts through, ultimately leading the company to become Ontario’s largest motor coach tour operator with a full service state-of-the-art motor coach garage and fleet of over 50 luxury motor coaches, an auto repair centre, a fleet service division and travel department. Currently, Great Canadian employs over 170 staff and services all of Southwestern Ontario, the GTA, New York and Michigan states.
In 2008 Great Canadian made the bold decision to purchase a 12 acre property / 81,000 square foot facility, formerly Beckermann Kitchens. Spending almost two years seeking a new location to expand the cramped business operations, the Beckermann Kitchens factory location became available, relocating the company only a few hundred feet away. The decision gave way to a whole new line of opportunities and growth.
The expansion plans took way, and renovations began in the spring of 2008. For almost 8 months the company operated from two locations. The travel department staff worked at the newly renovated office, while renovations to the facility’s warehouse began and the coach operations remained at the Sasaga Dr. location until early 2009. Shortly after followed a merger with Rito’s Great Canadian Auto Care Centre and the addition of a fleet service division. The new prime location on busy Manitou Dr. has provided the Great Canadian Group of Companies with additional exposure and drive by traffic. You may have noticed the companies’ signature “Big Blue Coaches” showcased in the main parking lot, each designed with Canadian themed murals or the massive Canadian flag waving in the wind.
On Saturday, May 8, 2010 the celebration came full circle with tremendous success. The Grand Opening was open to the public at the newly renovated location at 353 Manitou Dr. Kitchener, ON, where over 1000 guests enjoyed a free barbecue, live entertainment and hourly prize draws. Great Canadian also took this opportunity to once again raise awareness for Haiti Relief. A fundraiser was organized, with prizes including four trips for two which included New York City – 4 days, Chicago – 4 days, Quebec City – 4 days, and Branson – 7 days. On final outcome Great Canadian raised over $7800.00 for Haiti Relief. All proceeds were donated directly to the Mennonite Central Committee for hteir Haiti Relief efforts.