Bill Duron was born in Philadelphia and after receiving a BA in Marketing from Murray State University in Kentucky he began his tourism marketing career with the Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau. He moved to Toronto in 1974 to lead the convention sales effort of Tourism Toronto and was promoted to President and CEO two years later. Bill served in that position for 18 years and became the first non US executive to Chair the Destination Marketing Association International. During his tenure at Tourism Toronto, the city became a prominent destination for US and overseas tourists. Bill was the principal advocate for the building of the Toronto Convention Centre which fostered the dominance of Toronto as the world’s most popular destination for US conventions outside of continental United States. He also promoted the creation of major events in Toronto which further enhanced the economic and employment contribution of tourism. Bill led national tourism initiatives including representing Canada’s tourism industry during the free trade negotiations with the United States and he authored a national tourism strategy which resulted in the creation of the Canadian Tourism Commission. For these contributions, Bill was named the first Tourism Person of the Year by the Tourism Industry Association of Canada and he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Ontario Ministry of Tourism.
Upon leaving Tourism Toronto after 20 years, he was appointed Publisher of the award winning Toronto Life Magazine and then promoted to President of the parent company, Key Media, owners of Where Magazines Canada, Fashion Magazine and Fashion File TV. After selling the company to St. Joseph’s Communications, Bill served as independent advisor to this company for eight years while being appointed CEO of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and Horse Show. He also purchased the Toronto Island Marina and Hanlan’s Point Seawall. During his seven year tenure with the Royal, attendance, corporate sponsorship and government grants grew to strengthen the popularity and financial performance of this major national event. A highlight for the Royal Horse Show was standing room only crowds and scalpers selling tickets outside the Coliseum.
Bill has served as a consultant for the Greenbelt Foundation and Parks Canada and he is now Chairman of Blockhouse Bay Management Company which owns the Island Yacht Club, Toronto Island Marina and Hanlan’s Point Seawall. Bill lives in Mulmur and serves on the board of the Headwaters Hospital Foundation and Chair of the RCMP Foundation. He also bought a former inn and cooking school in Costa Rica where he and his wife, Melody, reside in the winter. They have five children and four grandsons. Bill’s best job is being a ranch hand for Carl Cosack at Peace Valley Ranch and Rawhide Adventures in Honeywood.