“I have ketchup in my veins,” Tony Colonna, franchise owner and operator at the local McDonald’s on Eastern and Woodward Avenues, tells us. “That’s what other long-time employees say. I love what I do. Every day is a new day, with great people and a positive outcome.”
Tony’s career started when he was fifteen at one of the world’s largest and most well-known food chains. As a high school student in Toronto’s west end, he was looking for a part time job where he could make a bit of money and meet people. He started at one of the first locations in the city.
Over the past 34 years, he literally “climbed the ladder” – from part-time cleaner, to full-time employee, assistant manager, store manager, supervisor, business consultant, and today, a franchise owner operator of seven McDonald’s locations across the GTA. His store locations vary from the heart of downtown at Queen and Church Streets, to the community-based location on Woodward Avenue in the Beaches.
One of five children, Tony grew up with a love for food, wine and gardening. His parents immigrated to Toronto from Italy 55 years ago and made Canada their home. To this day, Tony’s parents grow the “essentials” in their backyard garden for great Italian food– tomatoes, basil, zucchinis, etc. In recent years, they’ve been helping their next door neighbours, from India, on how to nurture a green thumb. “This is also the time of year when we mash up the grapes to make wine,” he tells us.
Travel is one of Tony’s favourite past times, although these past few weeks, the storms in the Caribbean have been a personal concern for him. “We have no idea here, what people are going through down there.” He is planning a trip in a week to see for himself.
Tony’s day begins around 7 AM, 6 days a week. Smiling, friendly employees meet you when you walk through the door, something that Tony talks a lot about.
To this day, Tony continues to enjoy his “McDonald” favourite foods, a quarter pounder with cheese, fries, and these days, coffee. “I didn’t drink coffee for many years,” he says, “but when the company reformulated the blend a few years ago I started and now I love my daily cup.”
“The culture of the company is all about people,” he says, “It’s also why we are so involved in community fundraising through activities like McHappy Day, a long standing Canadian tradition for the company that raises money in support of Ronald McDonald House and other children’s charities. This year in May, we raised $5148.29 in one day.”
Tony has recently received the award from the YWCA in Toronto in recognition of his continued support for a program that places young people looking for jobs at McDonald’s locations.
He notes that this is the company’s 50th birthday in Canada, a testament to its ability to be relevant to its customers, such as now providing all day breakfast, and the support and opportunities it provides for its people – franchise owners like himself.
29-31 Woodward Ave | 416-463-2124