Ottawa

LeBreton Flats: Meet the people — and the money — behind the bids

Here's a look at the people — and the money — behind the two competing bids to redevelop LeBreton Flats.

Two proposals to develop LeBreton Flats have big names and deep pockets

RendezVous LeBreton Group

  • Senators Sports and Entertainment owner Eugene Melnyk is the public face of the RLG bid. He made his millions in the pharmaceutical industry after he founded Biovail in 1989, and took over the Sens — and the arena now called the Canadian Tire Centre — in 2003. At Tuesday's presentation at the Canadian War Museum Melnyk was joined by Senators president Cyril Leeder.   
    Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk. (File/Aaron Harris/Canadian Press)
  • The Senators' chief partner in the bid is Trinity Development Group Inc. Founded by Ottawa native John Ruddy, Trinity is behind major retail and mixed-use projects across Canada, including the recent redevelopment of Lansdowne Park. Ruddy is an Ottawa native.   
    Trinity executive chairman John Ruddy. (Trinity)
  • Graham Bird, a major partner in the RLG bid, is a very well-known figure within Ottawa's development scene. His firm's local projects include Lansdowne Park, the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre and the Ottawa Convention Centre (now the Shaw Centre). Bird sat beside Melnyk at Tuesday's presentation.
  • Ottawa architect Barry J. Hobin is the local talent on an international team of seven firms brought in to work on the RLG bid, including Daoust Lestage, Perkins+Will, KPMB Architects, and Moment Factory. Morten Schmidt of Danish firm Schmidt/Hammer/Lassen Architects is renowned for his work on the Halifax Central Library. And Matt Rossetti's firm Rossetti Architects built the Senators' current home in Kanata.   
    Architect Barry J. Hobin. (Alistair Steele/CBC)
  • Other RLG partners include home builders Brigil ConstructionMattamy Homes and Windmill Developments, the firm behind the adjacent Zibi project; Morley Hoppner Group, the developer behind the Bell Sensplex in Kanata; major construction firms Tomlinson and PCL; and Centretown Citizens Ottawa Corporation, a local non-profit dedicated to housing for low-income residents.
  • Devcore, Canderel and DLS Group

  • Gatineau-based Devcore Group has emerged as one of the region's largest developers, with annual sales of $100 million. The company was founded by its president, Jean-Pierre Poulin.
  • ​Montreal-based Canderel's local projects include NorthTech Campus in Kanata, Churchill Office Park on Carling Avenue and Export Development Canada's headquarters downtown. Jonathan Wener is Canderel's chairman and CEO.   
    Canderel Chairman and CEO Jonathan Wener. (Concordia University)
  • Power Corporation of Canada deputy chairman and co-CEO André Desmarais is the 'D' in DLS. He's also the son of the late Paul Desmarais, once the richest man in Quebec, whose estate was worth about $5.6 billion US in 2015. The Desmarais family has donated generously to the University of Ottawa, where a new 12-storey building was recently named after Paul Desmarais.
  • Guy Laliberté is best known as the founder of Cirque du Soleil, but the former street performer is also extremely wealthy. According to Forbes, Laliberté was worth $2.1 billion US last year, and recently sold most of his shares in the hugely successful performance company. In 2007 Laliberté founded the ONE DROP Foundation, devoted to fighting poverty around the world by promoting sustainable access to water. In 2009 he became the first Canadian space tourist, booking a ticket to the International Space Station for a reported $35 million US.   
    André Desmarais of Power Corporation, left, and Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté, right. (The Canadian Press)
  • The 'S' in DLS — kept secret until Tuesday's presentation — is William J. Sinclair, co-founder and former president of Ottawa-based tech firm JDS Uniphase. Since selling his interests in the company more than a decade ago, he's led investment in numerous local startups and donated generously to The Ottawa Hospital, where the Sinclair Centre for Regenerative Medicine is named in his honour.
  • Another partner in the DCDLS Group is the Mierins family: Arnie, Arnie Jr., Colleen and Lisa. The Ottawa family owns the Mierins Automotive Group of car dealerships, as well as Ogilvie Realty. The Mierins have also been involved in a long list of local philanthropic ventures.
  • Ottawa architect Ritchard Brisbin helped present the DCDLS proposal Tuesday. His firm BBB Architects has been involved in a number of high-profile projects around town, including the Ottawa Airport expansion, the Shaw Centre, and Lansdowne Park.
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