Promoting National Citizenship & Leadership Development Programs for Canadas Youth

Gary Bennett

Gary BennettAfter completing a B.A. in Economics at the University of British Columbia, Gary took a position as a sales executive with MacMillan Bloedel Ltd. in 1965.  A desire for a career change led to him achieving a Professional Teaching Certificate 1970.  He took on teaching positions in the Vancouver and Delta School Districts, where his teaching concentration was with senior students teaching Law, Economics, Canadian History and Geography.  He also served as a department head for many years and completed his Master of Arts Degree at the University of British Columbia.

It was during this time that he became a project contributor for the Canadian Studies Foundation.   It was also at this time that he founded G. M. Homes Ltd. – a property management and development company.  It was also during this time that he became the volunteer Treasurer St. David’s Abbeyfield Society which built and currently operates two seniors’ home in the South Delta area of B.C.  Gary retired from teaching in 1997, and shortly afterward completed his Chartered Financial Planning Diploma at The Canadian Institute of Financial Planners, and founded Bennett Financial Services Corp., a financial and business consulting firm.

Mr. Bennett became involved with the Encounters With Canada in 1990 when he was asked to become a program monitor, and in 1991, he became the EWC Regional Coordinator for the B.C. Lower Mainland.  Two years later, he became the EWC B.C. President, a position that he held for about 20 years.  Shortly thereafter, he was asked to become a Governor of The Canadian Unity Council, the owner of the program.  He later joined the CUC Board of Directors.  Moreover, he served as the National Chair of the Canadian Unity Council’s Youth Committee which involved the EWC program and the other youth programs operated by the CUC at that time.

In 2006, after the Federal Government announced the funding cancellation for the Canadian Unity Council, he initiated a national letter campaign and with the support of EWC staff, many EWC volunteers and other Canadians that saved the program.   He was involved with Mr. Bruce Kippen in putting together one of the offers to purchase the EWC program in 2006.  He played an active role in finding EWC a new ‘home’ with the Historica Foundation and became a member of the Historica Dominion Institute’s Advisory Board.  He was a co-founder of The Encounters With Canada Support Foundation, now The Young Citizens Foundation, and coordinated the efforts to set up the Foundation.  In late 2008 and early 2009, he convinced his fellow CUC Governors to have the CUC leave the majority of its ‘wind-up’ funds to the Foundation to enable it to support students.

In 2001, Gary joined the Rotary Club of Kelowna, where he served on the board for a number of years before becoming President in 2006 – 2007.  As President, he was instrumental in founding The Rotary Club of Kelowna Foundation where he is the founding and Past President.

Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipient.

Gary and his wife of forty years have one daughter Candace and currently reside in Kelowna, B. C.