The Billes Family, founders of Canadian Tire Corporation, honoured with Retail Council of Canada’s Lifetime Achievement Award

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May 13, 2015

TORONTO, ON, May 13, 2015: Retail Council of Canada (RCC) announced today that the Billes Family, founders of Canadian Tire Corporation, will be the 2015 recipient of RCC’s Lifetime Achievement Award.



The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a family or an individual of a retailer who has demonstrated outstanding business success and community service throughout his/her career. Winners are visionaries who have left an indelible mark on the industry through their innovations and commitment to customers and employees. The Billes Family and Canadian Tire join a long line of passionate merchants across Canada receiving the award, such as Founders of Roots Canada, Michael Budman and Don Green; Former President & CEO of Sobeys Inc., Bill McEwan; Founder of The Brick Warehouse Corporation, Dr. William H. Comrie; Founders of the Bata Shoe Organization, Thomas J. and Sonja I. Bata; and most recently, President & CEO of LCBO, Bob Peter.



“RCC is honoured to award the Billes Family with a Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President & CEO, Retail Council of Canada. “The Billes Family has shaped, developed and grown one of Canada’s leading retail organizations, Canadian Tire Corporation. Their vision has not only led to the development of a Canadian retail icon, but it has contributed to our country’s culture and identity.”



Retail Council of Canada will recognize the tremendous contributions of founders A.J. and J.W. Billes, as well as the current contributions of A.J. Billes’ daughter, Martha Billes and her son, Owen Billes to the company’s exceptional history of growth and innovation.  The Billes family will be recognized for its ability to continually adapt to the changing retail landscape – from the mom and pop shops of the 1920s, to the big box retailers of the 1980s, and now the major digital transformation of the company to stay relevant to its customers online and in-store. The family is also well known for inventing Canada’s second official currency – Canadian Tire Money – and introducing a profit sharing plan that exists to this day, where all employees of Canadian Tire share in the company’s profits – regardless of position or title.



The Billes family has influenced decades of Canadian Tire’s growth, starting with a small tire store in Toronto in 1922 and evolving into a Canadian icon, being recognized for its tremendous community contributions and its commitment to sport in Canada, from the playground to the podium.


The Lifetime Achievement Award will be accepted by Martha Billes, daughter of founder A.J. Billes. Martha Billes is Canadian Tire’s controlling shareholder and has a legacy of a disciplined and demanding approach to the best in corporate governance.  Martha is also the founder and Chairman of the company’s successful charity, Jumpstart, that distributes $21 million a year to financially disadvantaged families to engage their kids in sports and organized recreation.  Owen Billes is also a major shareholder of Canadian Tire Corporation and is one of the company’s most successful Dealers, owning and operating the Welland, Ontario Canadian Tire store.  



The Billes family has built and fostered a Canadian retailing icon. Canadian Tire, through Martha’s stewardship, innovation and commitment has evolved yet stayed true to the brand that A.J. and J.W. envisioned 93 years ago.



The Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Martha Billes at the Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala on June 2, 2015.  For further information and to purchase tickets: RetailAwards.ca


The Gala, taking place at STORE 2015, Canada’s largest retail conference, will take place at the Toronto Congress Centre from 6:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. ET.  Media are invited to attend STORE 2015, June 2-3, 2015.  For further information: STOREconference.ca


Retail Council of Canada (RCC) is the Voice of Retail in Canada representing more than 45,000 store fronts of all retail formats, including department, specialty, discount, and independent stores, and online merchants in general merchandise, grocery and drugs.  Its membership represents over 75% of all retail sales in Canada.  RCC is a strong advocate for retailing in Canada and works with all levels of government and other stakeholders to support employment growth and career opportunities in retail, to promote and sustain retail investments in communities from coast-to-coast, and to enhance consumer choice and industry competitiveness. RCC also provides its members with a full range of services and programs including education and training, benchmarking and best practices, networking, advocacy, and industry information. RetailCouncil.org @RetailCouncil @RCC_MySTORE



For more information:
Colin Asuncion,

Retail Council of Canada

[email protected]
 / 416.467.3782