Colin Hunter launches House of Jazz in Toronto
Wings – Jen Savedra – July 27, 2011
Colin Hunter is not one to rest on his laurels. The founder and chairman of Sunwing Airlines and Sunwing Vacations, is a long time travel industry entrepreneur, who together with his son, company CEO Stephen, earned the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the Hospitality and Tourism category in 2007.
While some people may consider running a spectacularly successful airline and tour company enough to keep busy, Colin Hunter needed to do a bit more. So, in 2005 he launched an entirely new and different career. Fulfilling a long time dream, Colin recorded a CD of jazz favourites appropriately titled, “Come Fly With Me.” Well, that took off (pardon the pun) and several CDs and a “top 10” listing on Jazz 91FM and Colin Hunter had a brand new career as a crooner performing to appreciative audiences at jazz clubs and concert halls.
That of course would be more than enough for most chairman-businessman-entrepreneur-crooners but not Colin Hunter. He is now launching a brand new concept to spotlight both his own talents and those of other performers at the soon to be opened “House of Jazz” in Toronto.
In conjunction with Georges Durst, the French Montrealer who operates Montreal’s House of Jazz, the two are collaborating on a Toronto version (and perhaps others) as Colin admits he likes the sound of Paris, London, New York and Chicago. Typically, when Colin Hunter decides to “go for it” he goes all the way, and he has bought a three story building on Victoria Street, beside once-would-have-been-rival, The Senator, and renovations are underway, with early November as a proposed opening.
“It’s a great location,” says Colin. Noting that the just south of Yonge and Dundas setting, is excellent for both pre-and post theatre-goers.
Hunter says he was a bit dubious at first about a three story building, but Durst had a vision that involved an upstairs balcony and a rising chandelier and it is all falling into place. “He’s known for Chandeliers,’ grins Hunter. “He’ll make it all work beautifully.”
Durst is celebrated for his cozy, comfortable interiors, soft lights and simple but high quality menus, and the restaurant will be open for lunch as well as for evening meals.
And will the Chairman of the Board be a fixture on the Billboard? “Oh I’ll be there occasionally,” smiles Colin, “but it will also be a showcase for the abundant local talent – and not just in Toronto. Canada has some great jazz musicians, and this is a perfect venue to demonstrate their talents.”
So, come November, head to downtown Toronto, and join jazz loving Torontonians and out of town visitors at their new favourite spot The House of Jazz.