City of Residence: Winnipeg
Leo Ledohowski is the President and Chair of Canad Inns, the largest, fastest growing and most progressive hotel chain in the province of Manitoba. Canad Inns is uniquely distinguished from other hotel chains by the sum of its complimentary parts. Canad Inns are “destination centres” that feature the finest in accommodation, food and beverage, entertainment, banquet and conference centers and so much more. In addition, Canad Inns has other diverse holdings in real estate and entertainment.
Canad Inns is an employer of approximately 2800 employees and is the 7th or 8th largest employer in the Province of Manitoba. The firm is the 14th largest hotel company in Canada, ranked by sales.
Canad Inns is one of “Canada’s 50 Best Managed Companies,” awarded by Deloitte & Touche, CIBC and the National Post, for the past six consecutive years. Since December 2003 the company has been awarded Platinum Club status. This award is in recognition of outstanding companies who have sustained a standard of excellence and leadership in all areas of their business practices and have qualified in the Top 50 award program for at least six consecutive years. Canad Inns is one of only 72 companies in Canada to reach this prestigious level.
In December of 1999, the company was awarded the prestigious Pinnacle award for “Hotel Company of the Year’ in Hotelier Magazine. Leo was the recipient of the Ernst & Young 2001 Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the category of Business to Consumer Products. This most prestigious award was presented in Calgary, Alberta at the EOY Gala Awards Banquet in September of 2001 and was featured in the October 2001 issue of “Business in Calgary Magazine”.
Leo decided to make the hospitality industry his career after serving as a university professor in the Faculty of Commerce at both Carleton University in Ottawa, and then at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg. In the early 1970’s he worked both as a professor at the University of Manitoba as well as his deep involvement with the family business.
His academic background includes several degrees and awards, including a Bachelor of Arts, with Distinction (Economics), a Bachelor of Commerce, with Great Distinction (Administration), both from the University of Saskatchewan, and a Masters of Business Administration (Accounting and Finance) from McMaster University. As well, he was a national award winner, placing 6th highest in Canada, as a Certified Management Accountant. Leo received his Certified Hotel Administrator designation in 1990.
In May 2003, Leo received the Distinguished Service Award from the University of Manitoba. This award is conferred by the Board of Governors on the basis of distinguished contributions to Manitoba in areas which are of major interest to the University of Manitoba and/or which are directly associated with the University. In October 2003, Leo received the FCMA, a designation recognizing outstanding contributions to the management accounting profession, CMA Canada and the community.
One of the fundamental operating principles key to the success of Canad Inns is a commitment to the local community. Canad Inns has been, and continues to be, a community-minded corporation with a tradition of family involvement and a responsible corporate attitude. The company’s community involvement is demonstrated at a local level, as well as in the larger municipal and provincial contexts. The individual hotel locations are each firmly established as community enterprises, and offer support to a myriad of local worthy causes.
On July 1, Canad Inns hosts the Canada Day celebrations at Assiniboine Park called Canad Day Picnic in the Park. This family oriented day is free to all who attend and is a great way to celebrate our nation’s birthday. Canad Inns partners with Red River Exhibition Park to present Canad Inns Winter Wonderland, every December and January. This winter drive-through light display is held at Red River Exhibition Park and proceeds go to a number of charitable causes.
The Winnipeg Blue Bomber partnership is another example of community involvement. Canad Inns and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are entered in a long-term marketing arrangement whereby the football stadium is now called “Canad Inns Stadium” and the Bombers wear a Canad Inns logo on their jerseys.
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As leader of the company, Leo is the driving force behind the vision of community involvement and participation. He is on the Board of the Transcona-Springfield Education Foundation and the Seven-Oaks Education Foundation as well as being personally involved with the Manitoba Club in Winnipeg and the Associates Program at the University of Manitoba School of Business. Leo is also a long-standing member of the Manitoba Hotel Association and serves on its Board of Directors, as well as on the Board of the Hotel Association of Canada. Additionally, he is a member of the Cabaret Alliance of Manitoba, the Manitoba Restaurant Association, and a Charter Member of the National (American) Bar and Restaurant Management Association. Leo served on the Board of Directors for Partners in the Park, which oversees the Pavilion Gallery Museum, Leo Mol Sculpture Gardens, and the Lyric Theatre, all at Assiniboine Park. Leo was appointed by the Attorney General of Canada to serve on the Advisory Committee on Judicial Appointments for the Province of Manitoba. Leo also served as a member of the Red Tape Commission for the City of Winnipeg, appointed by Mayor Sam Katz.
In March, 2005 Leo was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Business Development Bank of Canada, a financial institution wholly owned by the Government of Canada. In September 2005, Leo was appointed to the Board of Directors of Destination Winnipeg. In February 2008, Leo was appointed to the Board of Directors of the Bank of Canada. The Bank of Canada is Canada’s central bank with responsibilities to focus on the goals of low and stable inflation, a safe and secure currency, financial stability, and the efficient management of government funds and public debt.
In May 2007, Leo received the 2007 Canadian Industry Entrepreneur Award from the Canadian Hotel Investment Conference. This award recognizes outstanding achievements in the Canadian Hotel Industry.
Leo’s humble beginnings and strong work ethic, instilled in him by his parents and grandparents, provided him with boundless energy and a commitment to his city, province, and country, as well as, an appreciation and pride in his Ukrainian heritage.
Leo’s success in business is matched only by his commitment to giving to his community. He believes in community and corporate responsibility, values he continually inspires in those who work with and for him.
Leo has always been passionate about his Ukrainian heritage and nowhere is it more apparent than his actions dealing with the Holodomor.
Leo was involved in the worldwide recognition of the Holodomor, the genocide in Ukraine in 1932-1933. He was instrumental in the local commemorative activities of the
75th anniversary of the Holodomor. He committed Canad Inns to a significant role as Title Sponsor of the activities in Manitoba. Part of that sponsorship was funding and producing a video titled “Vichna Yim Pam’Yat” featuring stories from Holodomor survivors living in Manitoba.
Leo also presented the video to representatives of the official Holodomor Commemorative Site in Kiev, Ukraine. Leo had the honour of hosting the President of Ukraine, Victor Yushchenko and Mrs. Yushchenko during their visit to Winnipeg, where Leo presented the President with the video.
Leo has made a mission of sharing the story of the Holodomor at every opportunity. He has distributed this video to schools and universities in Canada, US, Ukraine, Europe, Australia and around the world to make sure this atrocity is never denied or forgotten.