A celebration of business in Windsor-Essex turned into a big night for the House of Sophrosyne.

The Regional Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual Business Excellence Awards on Wednesday night where Al Quesnel was honoured for his philanthropy, and he also announced a $1 million donation to the House of Sophrosyne.

"I won the award and I thought it would be nice to make another announcement,” said Quesnel.

Quesnel accepted the Believe Windsor-Essex award, one of several awards presented by the Chamber to business people at the Augustus ballroom at Caesars Windsor.

Quesnel, a millionaire businessman who set up a charitable foundation following the sale of the athletic club fitness chain he co-founded, decided it was the perfect night to announce his latest donation.

Quesnel had earlier pledged to provide a million dollars to the House of Sophrosyne if the community matched it, but decided to make the donation regardless.

Executive Director Karen Waddell says the money will support their campaign to expand residential programs and services to help women struggling with substance abuse.

"Words can't describe right now now how I'm feeling, I'm just overwhelmed by the generosity,” said Waddell. “It will bring us very close to our goal with the money we are anticipating receiving from the government. We will have probably close to our goal of the four million dollars."

The House of Sophrosyne has outgrown its current home on Chappell Ave. in west Windsor and is trying to raise $3.5-million to renovate a building on Adstoll Ave.

There are 15 residential beds at the current site, and that number would double at the new location.

Other award winners on Wednesday were Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh of Leadership Windsor-Essex and the United Way, who won the Athena leadership award.

2019 Business Excellence Award Recipients:

ATHENA Award – Sponsored by BELL

Sherrilynn Colley-Vegh, Director of Leadership Windsor Essex - Director of Leadership & Training at Leadership Windsor Essex - United Way

Believe Windsor Essex Award – Sponsored by WFCU Credit Union

Alan Quesnel,President, Alan Quesnel Family Foundation

Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Sponsored by Grant Thornton LLP

Peter Valente,President, Valente Development Corporation

Large Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by St. Clair College


Mid-Size Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

Monarch Basics

New Business of the Year Award – Sponsored by Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce

Xperience Home Health Care

Pillars of Our Community Award – Sponsored by Motor City Community Credit Union

John McGivney Children’s Centre

Professional of the Year Award – Sponsored by TD Commercial Banking

Allison Hawkins,Co-owner, Hawkins & Co. Accounting

Small Company of the Year Award – Sponsored by Families First

Head of the Class

Tourism & Hospitality Award – Sponsored by Caesars Windsor and OLG

Urban Surf Company

Young Professional of the Year Award – Sponsored by Libro Credit Union

Celso Oliveira,Business Centre Manager, BDC