Chiodo in the spotlight

The Community Living Mississauga Tribute Dinner was held last night at Le Treport Wedding and Convention Centre. Ralph Chiodo was honoured at the event.
Mar 09, 2012

Ralph Chiodo was the big cheese at last night's 28th annual Community Living Mississauga (CLM) tribute dinner. But it was his good friend Joe Falcone who bought the big cheese.

Chiodo, owner of Peel Chrysler car dealership in Mississauga and founder of more than 70 Active Green + Ross auto repair shops locations across Ontario, was in the spotlight last night as CLM hosted its annual gala fundraiser at Le Treport Wedding and Convention Centre on The Queensway.

Falcone, who sat at the head table with his good friend Chiodo, shelled out $2,000 for 40 kilograms of Parmesan during a fundraising auction in support of CLM, the charitable organization that provides support to more than 1,700 people with intellectual disabilities and their families in Mississauga.

"Ralph Chiodo is a game-changer," said Falcone, a businessman in Etobicoke. During his toast to Chiodo, Falcone cited the incredible work his friend has done raising money and awareness for good causes.

More than 400 people attended this year's gala. Proceeds will be used to pay for summer youth programs for which there is no government funding.

Chiodo said he was glad to help raise funds for CLM summer programs.

"I don't need to be honoured," he said. "But CLM does such great work in our community, I'm glad to be here."
The theme for his tribute at Le Treport was "Made in Canada — the Italian Way."

Chiodo might well reverse that description for himself. He was made in Italy, and came to Canada as a young — and poor — man in 1957. He found opportunity in Canada.

As successful as he's been in business, Chiodo makes it clear family comes first and giving back to the community is a top priority for him.

Over the years he's raised more than $1 million at Pasta Festa, for Trillium Health Centre and donated $300,000 to COSTI, an organization that helps new immigrants. He has also been a supporter of Pier One Museum in Halifax, where immigrants including him and his wife were processed upon arrival in Canada.

Chiodo has also been active on the municipal stage, helping organize the Rotary Ribfest Canada Day picnic in Centennial Park on the Etobicoke/Mississauga border, and making sure his proud heritage is celebrated at the Italian pavilion during the annual Carassauga multicultural festival.

That Italian heritage flavoured the entire tribute evening. Italian musicians greeted arriving guests, the meal and wine were Italian and world-famous tenor Michael Burgess sang for the audience.

The head table guests included Vaughn MP and Associate Minister of National Defence Julian Fantino.
A highlight of the evening was a speech delivered by Alexander De Nicolais. The 19-year-old CLM client talked about how important the organization's summer programs were to him.

"This program means a lot to me," he said, recounting how the program introduced him to zip-lining and go-karting and helped himself a summer job at a sporting goods store. His sincerity and eloquence drew a standing ovation.