Mississauga's Hershey Centre to be renamed Paramount Centre

Mississauga's premier sports and entertainment venue, the Hershey Centre, is going to be renamed the Paramount Centre as of July 1, a name change the founder of Paramount Fine Foods says will inspire immigrants who are chasing "the Canadian dream."

Paramount Fine Foods struck 10-year deal with Mississauga for naming rights

Mississauga's premiere sports and entertainment venue, which has been named 'Hershey Centre' since its opening in 1998 will become 'Paramount Centre' as of July 1. (CBC)

Mississauga's premier sports and entertainment venue, the Hershey Centre, is going to be renamed the Paramount Centre as of July 1, a name change the founder of Paramount Fine Foods says will inspire immigrants who are chasing "the Canadian dream."

The chain of Middle Eastern restaurants, which is based Mississauga, reached a 10-year agreement with the city. 

"This is a great opportunity," said Paramount founder and CEO Mohammed Fakih, who made headlines early last month when he teamed up with a concerned Toronto resident to help get 20 homeless people out of the bitter cold.

"For our name to sit there is bigger than any move we have made before."

"This is not only about the signage and the marketing. What [the venue] stands for really is what our company is all about. It is where the community comes together, including events where diverse communities celebrate their cultures."

'We are an example of the Canadian dream'

Fakih, who immigrated to Canada from Lebanon in 1999 and founded Paramount Fine Foods in 2006, emphasized that this new plan to raise the profile of his company gives him a sense of accomplishment, especially because it can be inspiring to new Canadians. 

"We started in Mississauga. It is a great example to every great entrepreneur, to every great immigrant, to every Canadian who immigrated here, that everything is possible," he said.

"Putting our name on such a great centre and building in Mississauga really touches my heart. We are an example of the Canadian dream."

Mohamad Fakih, the owner of Paramount Fine Foods, said his company's success story is an example of the Canadian dream. (Mehrdad Nazarahari/CBC)

The city of Mississauga started looking for a new sponsor last year after Hershey Canada Inc. decided not to renew the naming rights agreement, which is set to expire on June 30, 2018. The arena has been named the Hershey Centre since first opening its doors in 1998.

The city's director of recreation, Shari Lichterman, says she has heard nothing but positive feedback for the plan. 

"This a great story because it is representative of what the city stands for. We're a very diverse city. A lot of the events that we host at the Hershey Centre vary in diversity and so I think this is a great fit for a company like Paramount to share its success with the community," she said. 

Rebranding community spaces

According to Lichterman, the city of will be changing the signage and branding inside and outside the complex, as well as road signage, way finding and promotional materials for events over the next year at the facility ahead of the name change effective July 1. 

Renaming neighbouring community spaces is part of the agreement with Paramount. 

The Hershey Community Rinks will become the Paramount Community Rinks, the Hershey SportsZone will become the Paramount SportZone and the Hershey Sports Fields will become the Paramount Sports Fields.

Another part of the agreement is for Paramount to provide food services for all the facilities, including all concessions and events. 

The Hershey Centre is home to Mississauga's Ontario Hockey League teams, the NBA G-League's Raptors 905 and other sporting events and concerts.