Peter Elmhirst

Owner, Elmhirst's Resort (Keene, Ontario)

peterelmhirst80x120.jpgPeter Elmhirst is a person whose creativity and hard work stand as an example of the entrepreneurial spirit on which Canada 's tourism industry is built. A person with the vision to look beyond personal business interests to the greater good of the tourism community, locally, provincially and nationally. And a person who has put that vision into action through over 30 years of volunteer service to organizations that have made, and continue to make, an important contribution to the future of Canadian tourism.

He is the third-generation owner of a family business that has grown, under his customer-focussed stewardship, from a fishing camp that operated only in the summer into a year-round destination offering a variety of activities for vacationers, conference delegates, weekenders, and all manner of outdoor enthusiasts. Since buying the property from his father in 1973, he has never stopped innovating. He developed some unique product combinations around the flying business started by Arthur Elmhirst in 1934, and has added many new facilities and services. Today, Elmhirst's Resort includes a conference centre, riding stables, health club, fine-dining restaurant and an impressive wine cellar.

Peter Elmhirst had the vision, skills and personal qualities required to build a successful tourism business. But he recognized that the success of all tourism businesses depended, as well, on external factors that could not be addressed through individual effort alone. He saw the value in strengthening the industry as a whole and growing the tourism pie for the benefit of everyone. And he acted, investing tremendous amounts of time, energy, expertise and financial resources in organizations that serve Canadian tourism, often in pioneering and leadership roles that included:

  • Chair of Resorts Ontario and Tourism Ontario .
  • Founding chair of the Ontario Tourism Education Council, and member of the Labour Force Development Board. Peter has been active in labour force development at other levels, too, welcoming student placements, making presentations at local schools on tourism careers, and hosting an annual Adventures in Tourism workshop to show hospitality students the options available to them.
  • Founding Chair of the Conference Board of Canada's Canadian Tourism Resarch Institute.
  • Founding board member of the Canadian Tourism Commission.
  • First Chair of the Rendez-vous Canada Advisory Committee.
  • Long-time membership in the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and past Chair of its Board of Directors.

Peter Elmhirst's passion for tourism and love of the industry are an inspiration to his colleagues throughout Canada.


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