Order of Canada recipients include two car dealerships

Two merchants were named members of the Order of Canada.

Vaughn Wyant and Ralph Chiodo were among 135 appointments announced Dec. 29 by Governor General Mary Simon.

Wyant was selected “for his contributions as a business leader in Western Canada’s automotive industry and for his community philanthropy,” Gov-Gen. Mary Simon said in a statement.

Wyant said the announcement of his joining came as a surprise.

“I’m honestly quite blown away.”

Wyant, 69, joins his late father, Dr Gordon Wyant, who was admitted to the Order in 1991, and says his father is typical of what he considers Order of Canada material – a medical pioneer, a German national who fought for Britain in World War II and an academic and educator.

Wyant leads the Wyant Group, which owns 20 dealerships in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well as a finance company, oil change shop and retailer, and is majority shareholder of Great Western Brewing Co. . from Saskatoon.

His philanthropy includes donations of $1 million to the Remai Modern Art Gallery in Saskatoon and $500,000 to the University of Saskatchewan. He currently leads fundraising efforts for the STARS Air Ambulance in Saskatoon. Over $3 million has been raised to date.

Chiodo, CEO of auto repair chain Active Green + Ross and president of Peel Chrysler FIAT, was cited for “his community involvement and generous philanthropy, and for his leadership in the automotive industry.”

Italian-born Chiodo broke into the auto industry in 1966 when he bought a BP gas station in Toronto. He branched out into service sector franchising and renamed the operation Active Tire and Auto Centre. In 1993, he bought the service chain Green + Ross in 1993. In 1995, Active Green + Ross was born.

Chiodo now leaves the operation of the two companies to its managers, Peter Steele at Active Green + Ross and his son-in-law, Danny Diamantakos, who is a master dealer at Peel Chrysler FIAT.

Chiodo’s philanthropy includes assisting with several hospital fundraisers, including an annual fundraiser for the Trillium Health Center that raised over $500,000. He is also one of 26 Italian families who sponsor the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Galleria Italia and regularly sponsors local events, such as the Toronto Ribfest Canada Day Weekend hosted by the Rotary Club of Etobicoke.

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