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our new CEO

“It truly is an innovative concept,” says James DiRenzo, Chief Executive Officer of the Friday Harbour Resort vision. “With the variety of amenities, its waterside location and proximity to Toronto, the sheer scope of what we will be able to achieve over 600 acres is incredible. I’ve grown up in the hospitality industry, and dedicated over 30 years of my life and passion to many top clubs and resorts across North America and Asia, and I’ve rarely seen details as splendid as these.”

James is right to be impressed. The dream of Friday Harbour has been alive for more than a decade. Over the years, ideas were born and evolved. Amenities were imagined and reimagined. Only two details have remained constant over the years: Big Bay Point nestled on the pristine Lake Simcoe shoreline, and the vast expanse of land upon which James and his team can execute the luxury resort vision.

“When you think about the world’s greatest resorts, water is most often the common element,” he acknowledges. “People want a variety of activities from their resort experience and water is almost always a critical piece. From swimming, boating, watersports or simply relaxing lakeside in summer, to skiing and other snow and ice sports in winter, to a full complement of exciting year-round services, there will be something for everyone. We’re offering fun and leisure with finesse and an incredible attention to detail.”

  • Education

    Laurentian University, University of New Brunswick, Acadia University

    Canadian National Chef’s Certification, Toronto

    Grande Diplôme (Cuisine and Patisserie), Le Cordon Bleu de Paris

    STAR University (Club Corporation of America), Dallas

  • Affiliations

    Advisory Council, Ryerson University School of Hospitality and Tourism Management

    Club Managers Association of America and Canadian Society of Club Managers

    Panelist, Platinum Clubs of the World Selection Committee

Prior to joining Friday Harbour, James spent four years as the Chief Operating Officer at the Granite Club, one of North America’s most prestigious private clubs, guiding them to the achievement of Distinguished Emerald Club of the World status. There, he directed operations of the entire multi-use property, overseeing all departments including Membership Services, Food and Beverage, Athletics and Facilities, while implementing strategic and major facility plans. The programming innovations he was able to introduce to this storied 140-year-old institution gave him greater insights into what today’s resort customer desires.

“Friday Harbour will deliver the incredibly high level of service and the expansive variety of programs, events and activities today’s resort residents and guests crave. Our goal will also include providing impeccable and seamless personalized service. The Friday Harbour welcome will ultimately include residents and guests being able to arrive to their units or boats with lunches or dinners at the ready, refrigerators stocked and beverages on ice so they can get right out onto to the course or on the water. 

  • Hospitality Achievements

    The Granite Club, Distinguished Emerald Club of the WorldBoardroom Magazine

    The American Club Hong Kong, Caring Company Award Hong Kong Social Council

    The American Club Singapore, Excellent Service Award Singapore Productivity Standards Board

  • Athletic Achievements

    Provincial, Conference and National University Champion, Soccer and Football

    Tryout Camp Dallas Cowboys, NFL; Free Agent New England Patriots, NFL; Free Agent Toronto Argonauts, CFL

    Member of the Acadia University, Laurentian University and Nova Scotia Halls of Fame

“During their stay, couples and families can stroll through our Marina Village to enjoy the many food and beverage venues and visit the retail shops or open-air markets. They can also promenade along The Pier, meet friends at the Lighthouse and enjoy a drink while taking in all of the amazing activities along the Boardwalk. My team and I will be dedicated to providing world-class experiences through our vast range of amenities and services in our Clubs and Marina, no matter the weather or season.

“Residents and guests will never want to leave, but when they have to, they will be confident in the Resort’s level of service even when they’re gone through our dedicated security, maintenance and housekeeping services. The Friday Harbour Resort experience will never end, and unlike any private club it will literally be an amazing home away from home.” 

James’ background in many world-class clubs made him the perfect choice for Friday Harbour. “His passion for delivering an exceptional and customized resort stay makes him the perfect fit for the Friday Harbour executive team,” says Friday Harbour Principal, Jim V. De Gasperis. “James sees the customer experience as a truly individual expression. From young couples to growing families and empty nesters, Friday Harbour is a multi-generational resort that caters to people from a dynamic variety of backgrounds. James’ past success in creating and developing flexible customer service programs puts us in a perfect position to deliver on our unique vision.”

The facilities, programs, events and activities at the waterside Beach Club, South Beach Club and Lake Club, and of course the spectacular Doug Carrick-designed eighteen-hole golf course, The Nest, will all require James’ deft and knowledgeable touch.

“One of the most critical guiding factors in the way we are designing our resort amenities and itinerary is the residential component. Unlike all of the other projects I’ve had the pleasure to be part of, many of our residents will call Friday Harbour their second home. They’ll be here weekdays, weekends, even stay for an entire season at a time or more, and I don’t see providing them with life-enriching ways to spend their time as a job – I see it as a privilege and an honour. I look forward to welcoming everyone to Simcoe County, Innisfil and Friday Harbour Resort in 2017.” 

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