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CEO PJ Mercanti

PJ Mercanti

Chief Executive Officer

PJ is a proud Hamiltonian and passionate family man who serves as the CEO of Carmens Group, one of Southern Ontario’s most dynamic hospitality, entertainment, food-service and development companies. The company’s impressive portfolio includes award-winning venues Carmens Event Centre, C Hotel by Carmens, Lakeview, Arlington Hotel, River’s Edge, Baci Ristorante, fig&lemon, Hamilton Convention Centre, as well as Mercanti Specialty Foods, the manufacturer of Mama Yolanda’s Lasagna. Carmens Group leads the General Partnership of the Hamilton Urban Precinct Entertainment Group, a private consortium contracted to renovate and operate FirstOntario Centre, FirstOntario Concert Hall and the Hamilton Convention Centre for 49 years, with PJ serving as the consortium President.

An engaged community leader, PJ is a partner of the Hamilton Cardinals, a semi-pro baseball team in the Intercounty Baseball League (IBL) and he proudly served as President of Hamilton100 Commonwealth Games Bid Corporation, a not-for-profit community organization that worked to bring the 2030 Commonwealth Games to Hamilton. PJ spearheaded the fundraising effort for the Hamilton Sign, and is a founding member and past Chair of the Hamilton Tourism Development Investment Group, a local hospitality entity that worked with Tourism Hamilton to secure major events including the 2022 NHL Heritage Classic, the 2023 Canadian Country Music Awards, the 2023 CFL Grey Cup Festival, and 2024 Canadian Open golf event.

National media outlets including Maclean’s, ET Canada, and Hello Canada Magazine have profiled events that PJ has produced through Carmens Group’s “An Evening With” celebrity series featuring prolific personalities that have included Al Pacino, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Douglas, Olivia Newton-John, Tony Bennett and Wayne Gretzky, among others. Coupled with his work as a past chair and committee member of the Charity of Hope Gala for over 15 years, these events have collectively raised over $3 Million for local charitable organizations.

Through his holding company Mercanti Enterprises, PJ produces much of his creative works. He has written many published articles and short stories, has been a keynote speaker for LeaderImpact Group and is an award-winning filmmaker. His critically acclaimed short documentary “Harley: Welcome to America” premiered at numerous film festivals around the world & won the Best Documentary Award at the 2017 Plymouth Film Festival in London, England.

A cum laude business graduate from the University of Notre Dame, PJ started his career as an associate producer for “The Season: Notre Dame Football”, an ESPN show produced by Intersport Productions. He was recognized as CEO of the Year by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce in 2023, as one of Canada’s Top 45 Entrepreneurs by The Globe and Mail in 2016 and as one of the 30 Most Influential People in Hamilton by Urbanicity Magazine in 2015.

His love for entertainment and nostalgia is displayed through his enjoyment of classic rock, oldies music, and all things Route 66 & Walt Disney, while his love of sport is seen through his passion for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Hamilton Tiger-Cats & Hamilton Cardinals. His ultimate love is his family – his lovely wife Diana, energetic son Matthew, beautiful daughter Gloria and precious son Michael – and he is often seen walking through Hamilton with his four loves.

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