Sharp, Isadore Nataniel

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SHARP, ISADORE NATANIEL (Issy ; 1931– ), Canadian hotel executive and philanthropist. Founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Four Seasons Hotel Inc., Sharp was born in Toronto, Ontario. He graduated as an architect from Toronto's Ryerson Institute in 1952 and began in the construction business with his father, Max Sharp. On his first trip to Europe in the late 1950s, Sharp became interested in building luxury hotels and in 1961 opened the Four Seasons Motor Hotel in Toronto. From that first hotel he created a worldwide chain that has set the industry standard for fine travel accommodation. In 2005, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts had 66 hotels in 29 countries and more than 20 properties under development. In addition to numerous corporate directorships, Issy Sharp also applied his leadership skills to charitable and community causes. He initiated the corporate sponsorship program supporting the Terry Fox Marathon of Hope and is the founder of the annual Terry Fox Run Program, the largest single-day fundraising event for cancer research worldwide. In 1983, in recognition of his work on behalf of the Canadian Cancer Society, Sharp was the first recipient of the Ruth Hartman Frankel Humanitarian Award. He continued to serve as a director of the National Terry Fox Run and the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award Program, as well as a governor of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. In 1985 he served as co-chairman of the United Jewish Appeal and in 1989 was named the Negev Dinner honouree by the Jewish National Fund of Canada. Among numerous other business and community honors and awards, Sharp was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1993.

[Andrea Knight (2nd ed.)]