Two dealers have been named as members of the Order of Canada.
Vaughn Wyant and Ralph Chiodo were among the 135 appointments announced Dec. 29 by Gov. Gen. Mary Simon.
Wyant was selected “for his contributions as a business leader in the auto industry in western Canada and for his community philanthropy,” Gov-Gen. Mary Simon said in a statement.
Wyant said word of his membership came as quite a surprise.
“I’m honestly quite gobsmacked.”
Wyant, 69, joins his late father, Dr. Gordon Wyant, who was admitted to the order in 1991, and said his father typifies what he sees as Order of Canada material — a medical pioneer, a German national who fought for Britain in the Second World War and an academic and educator.
Wyant runs the Wyant Group, which owns 20 dealerships in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia, as well as a financing company, oil-change outlet and detailer, and he is a majority shareholder in Saskatoon’s Great Western Brewing Co.
His philanthropy includes donations of $1 million to the Remai Modern Art Gallery in Saskatoon and $500,000 to the University of Saskatchewan. He is currently leading efforts to raise money for the STARS air ambulance in Saskatoon. More than $3 million has been raised so far.
Chiodo, CEO of the Active Green + Ross automotive repair chain and president of Peel Chrysler FIAT, was cited for “for his community engagement and generous philanthropy, and for his leadership in the automotive industry.”
The Italian-born Chiodo broke into the automotive industry in 1966 when he bought a BP gas station in Toronto. He branched out into franchising the service business and renamed the operation Active Tire and Auto Centre. In 1993, he bought Green + Ross service chain in 1993. In 1995, Active Green + Ross was born.
Chiodo is now largely retired from both businesses. His son-in-law, Danny Diamantakos, is dealer principal at Peel Chrysler Fiat.
Chiodo’s philanthropy includes helping with several hospital fundraisers, including an annual fundraiser for the Trillium Health Centre that has raised more than $500,000. His is also one of 26 Italian families that sponsors the Galleria Italia at the Art Gallery of Ontario and regularly sponsors local events, such as the Toronto Ribfest Canada Day Weekend hosted by the Rotary Club of Etobicoke.