Each year, Retail Council of Canada honours individuals who have made unique, exceptional, and lasting impacts at the Excellence in Retailing Awards Gala.

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The Distinguished Canadian Retail of the Year Award recognizes a retail leader that has led his/her company to outstanding business success and innovation and that has consistently demonstrated community commitment and support. The recipient is seen as a role model because of his/her exceptional leadership within the corporation, in the retail industry in Canada and in the community at large, through personal and/or corporate philanthropic activities. While years of service within the company are not a prerequisite, the individual’s term as chief executive officer must commensurate with the company’s outstanding success. The individual must be widely respected throughout the industry for his/her achievements and the corporation he/she represents must be seen as a leader in the business community.

Distinguished Retailer of the Year Award

Greg Hicks
President & CEO, Canadian Tire Corporation, Ltd

Under the leadership of Greg Hicks, Canadian Tire Corporation is experiencing unprecedented success, and the company continues to shine as one of Canada’s most trusted and iconic brands. Mr. Hicks’ innovative strategies, relentless pursuit of excellence, and unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction have propelled CTC to new heights, resulting in strong business performance and market leadership. By bolstering CTC’s omnichannel capabilities and building on the company’s digital capabilities, vast real estate footprint and unparalleled position in and understanding of the Canadian consumer landscape, Mr. Hicks is ensuring CTC creates an unrivalled competitive advantage and long-term growth and value for shareholders.“Greg Hicks has been a true visionary in the retail industry, leading Canadian Tire Corporation to achieve remarkable success while consistently demonstrating his commitment to the community. His innovative approach, dedication to customer satisfaction, and relentless passion for improving the Canadian Tire experience for all Canadians make him a deserving recipient of the Distinguished Canadian Retailer of the Year award,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada. Read more.

The Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year Award recognizes the outstanding contributions of a local independent retailer to his or her community. The recipient is seen as a visionary, an innovator, and an integral part of the community that his or her business serves. Recipients are known for their community involvement, customer loyalty, and support of locally made products and services. As the name of the award suggests, this individual or business must embody the true spirit of entrepreneurship and community service required to be recognized as an ambassador of the retail industry.

2023 Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year Winner

Sharon Hayles Owner, Diane’s Lingerie

For generations, Diane’s Lingerie has been synonymous with comfort and quality, helping women of all shapes and sizes find lingerie that fits their unique needs. Under the visionary leadership of Sharon Hayles, owner of Diane’s Lingerie, who has extensive retail industry experience and has been a long-time trusted retail consultant, the store has become a fashionable, beloved institution, known for providing a highly personalized and relaxed shopping experience to its shoppers. In addition to their commitment to customer service, Diane’s Lingerie has also been actively engaged in giving back to the community, supporting various local organizations and charitable causes. Their unwavering dedication to making a positive impact has earned them a reputation as a socially responsible retailer.

“Diane’s Lingerie is honoured to be named Independent Retail Ambassador of the Year. This recognition is a testament to our team’s dedication to delivering outstanding service and ensuring our customers feel confident in their lingerie choices,” said President and Owner of Diane’s Lingerie, Sharon Hayles. Read more.

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The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a senior executive with a minimum of 25 consecutive years of retail service 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. As the name of the award indicates, this honour recognizes a long-term commitment to the industry, to the firm(s) he/she has led, and to the community at large. The recipient is recognized and perceived as a retail role model, as an icon in the industry, and one who has dedicated his/her business life to retail.

2023 Independent Retailer Lifetime Achievement Award

Paul Simmonds President, Robert Simmonds Clothing

With a career spanning 35 years, all at the independent level, Paul Simmonds has made significant contributions to the retail industry and the community. In 1998, Paul Simmonds founded Robert Simmonds Clothing, which has since expanded four times in different markets affiliated with the company’s core business. Mr. Simmonds’ dedication to his company and his passion for retail have earned him a reputation as one of the most respected retail leaders in Atlantic Canada. 

“Paul Simmonds has made an indelible mark on the retail industry through his unwavering commitment to excellence and his significant contributions to the community. His leadership and dedication to independent retail have earned him this well-deserved recognition. We are thrilled to honor him with the Independent Retailer Lifetime Achievement award, and we congratulate him on this outstanding success,” said Diane J. Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada.

Inductees to the Canadian Retail Hall of Fame are executives working in retail who have demonstrated leadership in advancing and promoting retail as a career within their company and in the industry, and are strong advocates of retail education and training. Hall of Fame inductees are seen as inspirational leaders, promoting and encouraging young people to pursue careers in retail, current employees to acquire more skills to advance in retail, supporting the development of retail courses in schools, and lending support to organizations promoting retail as a career and retail education. Through their actions, these individuals have demonstrated that retail training and education have played an important role in the success of their companies.


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