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ACG Toronto Celebrates Golden Anniversary

ACG Toronto has established itself as ACG’s largest chapter outside of the U.S. over the past 50 years, hosting numerous conferences and events attended by executives from across North America.

ACG Toronto Celebrates Golden Anniversary

Although most of the Association for Corporate Growth’s 59 chapters are in the United States, one of ACG’s oldest and most active outposts is located across the Canadian border.

Founded in 1971, ACG Toronto is the third-longest operating chapter in the ACG network, behind only New York and Chicago. It has established itself over the past 50 years as ACG’s largest chapter outside of the U.S. and hosts more than 30 conferences and events annually that are attended by executives from across North America. Its marquee event, the ACG Capital Connection and Fall DealSource, attracts more than 700 investment professionals and 60 exhibiting firms from across the continent.

Among those attendees are American investors, whose presence in Canada has increased over the past two decades. “A few American private equity firms opened satellite offices in Canada over the years, whereas others strictly use ACG Toronto and its calendar of events as a launchpad to conduct business,” says Darin Brock, partner at private equity firm TorQuest Partners and a past chair of ACG Toronto’s board of directors. The launch of ACG Toronto’s Capital Connection 19 years ago and the recent introduction of DealSource have helped drive a steady increase in American investor participation over the past few years, he adds.

Vaughn MacLellan, a partner at law firm DLA Piper LLP and the current chairman of the ACG Toronto board, notes the abundance of opportunities for investors in the Canadian midmarket in industries ranging from mining, energy and commodities to consumer packaged goods, renewable energy, fintech, health tech, e-commerce, and many others. “Our companies and entrepreneurs have world-class businesses, assets, talent and ambitions, and they’re hungry to do deals,” he says.

This year marks ACG Toronto’s 50th anniversary, a milestone the chapter plans to highlight through programs in 2021 and into 2022. It is also developing a recognition program to celebrate the history of the chapter—the founders, corporate sponsors and long-time volunteers who have helped to expand the chapter’s activities and build the ACG brand across Canada, according to ACG Toronto President and CEO Mike Fenton.

As ACG Toronto enters its sixth decade, its leaders plan to increase the focus on tailored content for members, according to incoming board chairman Ben Gibbons, a partner with RSM Canada. Creating and hosting networking events will also remain a core component of its strategy.

“We will increasingly lead differentiated content and thought leadership relevant to middle-market companies that is focused on supporting the diverse needs and interests of our key member groups—capital providers, family offices, corporates and advisors to these groups,” Gibbons says. “ACG Toronto will expand its voice across these member groups as well as lead and facilitate increasing dialogue across matters important to the member base, including areas such as diversity and inclusion, ESG and talent management.”