The Golden Pencil Award, originally called the 'Knights of the Golden Pencil Award', was first presented in 1957 by the Food Industry Association of Canada. This Award was established by Paul Higgins Sr. to recognize the efforts of both buyer and seller in developing and improving the great Canadian Food Industry.
The symbol used for this Award is a Golden Pencil, signifying the transaction between supplier and retailer by the stroke of a pen. The award itself consists of an actual golden pencil held on a plaque honouring the recipient as well as a scroll, and place on the "Knights of the Golden Pencil Wall of Fame".
On an annual basis, the Nominations Committee reviews suggestions made by both the Executive Committee and the industry at large. The selection process normally will encompass as many as thirty to forty worthy candidates. The criteria for selection is an individual who, through career dedication, has made a significant and worthwhile contribution to the Canadian Food Industry.
The Executive Committee is comprised of active senior executives representing suppliers, brokers, food processors, wholesalers and retailers.
The ceremony is somewhat unique in that the format is a cocktail reception that is accessible to all levels of the Food Industry, and where the recipients and senior industry executives are readily visible, socializing throughout the reception.
The Food Industry Association of Canada is a non-profit organization with no association to any charitable organizations, thus allowing the event to be purely for the recognition of the accomplishments of the recipients.
GOLDEN PENCIL AWARD FOUNDER
Mr. Paul Higgins Sr., 1912-2004
Paul Higgins was born in 1912 in Collingwood, Ontario. That same year, his father Stafford Higgins founded the firm Higgins & Burke Ltd. which would lead Paul into the Canadian Food Industry. Paul Higgins joined the wholesale grocery distribution company in 1929 and by 1930 he oversaw the the introduction of Mother Parker's Tea. During his career of over 67 years in the business he has seen the family firm grow from a small operation into the largest Canadian-owned tea and coffee company.
Today Mother Parker's Tea & Coffee Inc. operates in three major market segments- retail trade, food service, and private label packaging. Much of the firm's success and growth was derived from Paul Higgins' willingness to innovate and invest in the latest technology. His forward thinking spirit, along with an emphasis on the highest standards of customer service was passed along as a recipe for success.
Paul was honoured as a recipient of the 'Golden Pencil Award' in 1969, and was also the recipient of The Tea and Coffee Trade Journal's 'Man of the Year Award' in 1991 and in 1996 the company was recognized as one of 'Canada's 50 Best Managed Private Companies'.
Paul Higgins worked hard and played hard as well. As a young man, he excelled as an amateur horseman, recieveing many blue ribbons at horse shows across Canada and the United States including the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto. One of his most enjoyable forms of recreation was entertaining on The Pacific, his private railway car which was built in 1939 and was used by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of England during their 1939 Royal tour of Canada and the U.S.
Paul Higgins passed away in 2004 at the age of 92 leaving his sons Paul Jr. and Michael in charge of Mother Parker's. He is remembered fondly by friends and family and has left an indelible mark on the Food Industry in Canada.