BCCTC Patrons

In 2015 we recognized long time supporters of the BCCTC as the first Patrons of the BCCTC:

John Sleeman, Chairman & CEO, Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

Entrepreneur. At 23 he launched his first business, a British-style pub and after three years sold this profitable establishment and founded The Imported Beer Company, which successfully grew into a national company. Restarted family brewing business in Guelph, 1985. As President and CEO he successfully expanded the business across Canada by taking the company public in 1996. Currently remains as Founder and Chairman of the Board following its’ acquisition by Sapporo Breweries.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including Outstanding Business Achievement in 1991, Top 100 Entrepreneurs in 1995 and 1996, in 1995 the “50 Best” Managed Private Companies, and in 2001 One of the Top 200 Fastest Growing Companies in Canada. In 1997, Mr. Sleeman was awarded the “Mayors Award” for his recognition of community contributions and in 1999 he received the American Marketing Association award. He received an Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Guelph in 2008. And in 2015 was named Patron by The British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

Member of WPO, past Director and current Chair of the Brewers Association of Canada, past Director of Brewers Retail, as well as the British Canadian Chamber of Trade and Commerce. Chairman of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, Charter for Business from 2001 to 2007. Past Development Committee Chair for the Alcoholic Beverage Medical Research Foundation. Active in various hospital and university foundations. John lives in the Toronto area with his family and has a passion for cars, football, beer, wine and the art of distilling.

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John Smith, Past-President, BCCTC

John Smith is the typical British Gentleman.
Born and educated in England, he did his National Service in the Air Force, before starting his career in Banking, which he continued upon his arrival in Canada. He managed several RBC branches before becoming the Senior Manager Canada, Global Private Banking at RBC Wealth Management. It is while there that many of us first met him as a Member of the BCCTC.
John has been a Member, Board Member, VP, President, Past President and now is still an active Member. Totalling over 30 years, he became President following in the footsteps of Bob Dechert who was President while a Partner at Gowlings.

Now this Award is not presented for longevity, rather for his contribution to the Chamber. All through his time with the Chamber he has sponsored; tables, golf holes and prizes, in addition to our Christmas parties. He has MC’d many BCCTC events and was known as “The VOICE of the BCCTC” events.

Even now, having retired, he still turns up at most events, time permitting, and is always available for advice based on his many years with the Chamber.

It is this combination of factors that made him the Second Patron of the BCCTC, via the complete censuses of the Board.


William Whittaker QC

 Bill was a graduate of McGill University, having received the degrees of Bachelor of Civil Law, Bachelor of Common Law and Masters of Business Administration in Finance. He was also a graduate of Concordia University and a retired member of the Barreau du Quebec, the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Law Society of England and Wales, being awarded the Queen’s Counsel designation in 1984. Bill was Past President of the Toronto Lawyers Association and The Empire Club of Canada. He was also a recipient of the Medal of Service from the City of Toronto for community service and a longtime member of the Conservative Party of Canada. He was a long serving Board Director of the BCCTC and our Legal Advisor for many years. His friendship and advice to the Chamber will be greatly missed.William Whittaker picture