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Carmen's Group | History | Mercanti Family in Hamilton
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Our Story

Our transformation from a little bakery to a household name.

In the past four decades we have grown from a small bakery into a hospitality brand that has built and operated several renowned event venues, a nationally recognized boutique hotel, a lively Italian restaurant, a successful catering company, and even a celebrity event division that has raised millions of dollars for charity. We are excited to expand our footprint into other realms of hospitality and entertainment with the same passion and commitment to inspiring hospitality experiences that first motivated us to build a bakery nearly four decades ago.


Morris, Sam and Peter Mercanti join forces with their uncle Carmen Mancini to open an Italian-styled bakery on Concession Street in Hamilton in 1978. Carmen’s Bakery becomes a neighbourhood hotspot, offering traditional homemade favourites. The catering division of the business expands rapidly and is in high-demand for weddings.

1970s - The Bakery


Carmen’s caters its 500th wedding in 1985. Against the advice of their bank, the Mercanti Brothers build a 38,000 square foot event venue on Stone Church Road East in 1987. Carmen’s Banquet and Convention Centre emerges as Southern Ontario’s most sought after space for weddings and corporate events, pioneering the ‘wedding package’ complete with a culinary experience and full décor.

1980s - Carmen's


Carmen’s Piazza, a boutique venue offering three new quaint event spaces, is built in 1991. Carmen’s Catering grows from this location and over the course of a decade secures exclusive contracts with Royal Botanical Gardens, Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Beverly Golf Club, Kings Forest Golf Club, Heron Point Golf Club, City Hall Cafeteria, Hamilton Spectator Café, Ramada Hotel, Holiday Inn Trafalgar and the Royal Connaught.

1990s - A Growing Appetite


Company operations are restructured where Morris Mercanti focuses on building the Halton market. Simultaneously, Peter Mercanti focuses all attention on Carmen’s operations, and welcomes sons Joe Mercanti and PJ Mercanti into the family enterprise in 2004. During the 2000s Carmen’s hosts entertainment icons Sophia Loren and Michael Douglas and President of the United States Bill Clinton.

2000s - Refocusing


Carmen’s secures the exclusive rights to operate The Lakeview ballroom, set against the tranquil shores of Lake Ontario and nestled in the heart of beautiful Confederation Park.

June 2010 - The Lakeview


Carmen’s hosts Academy Award winner Al Pacino for a benefit event, raising $150,000 for the Good Shepherd and Empower Global.

November 2010 - Al Pacino

peter mercanti

Carmen’s founder Peter Mercanti wins the Hamilton Distinguished Citizen of the Year award.

January 2011 - Recognition


The Best Western Premier C Hotel by Carmen’s opens its doors, immediately becoming the most popular hotel in the Hamilton market.

July 2011 - The Hotel


Baci Ristorante officially opens, earning rave reviews and is applauded for ``breaking the mould of hotel restaurants``.

September 2011 - Baci


Sam, Morris and Peter Mercanti are welcomed into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction, the first time siblings are simultaneously entered into the prestigious gallery.

November 2012


After a highly competitive bidding process Carmen’s secures the rights to operate the Hamilton Convention Centre. Within months it is announced the venue will become home to the 2015 Juno Awards.

February 2013


The Hamilton Convention Centre by Carmen's hosts Grammy Winner and famed crooner Tony Bennett for a benefit concert that raises $50,000 for the Canadian Diabetes Association.

November 2013

Carmen’s Group Card

Carmen’s undergoes a significant renovation. The Carmen’s Group brand is officially born through an historic celebration titled RISE.

November 2015