13 Things You Didn't Know About ... Jon Zwickel

A Few Things Almost Everyone Knows About Jon:

Where I'm From: I was born near Woodstock, New York (yes, THE Woodstock) ... a small town tucked between the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains, about 90 miles north of New York City.

Family: My wife, Diane and I have a blended family. Our two daughters and two sons are in their 20's. They live in Vancouver and they're busy starting their careers as a nurse, a cinematographer, a mid-wife and a stock broker.

Hobbies: Skiing, cooking, traveling to out-of-the-way places, watching quirky indie-films and trying to finish the New York Times Crossword Puzzle. My wife and I also go to a lot of concerts.

Food & Drink: I stopped eating red meat in the 60's and eliminated gluten from my diet 5 years ago. Instead of eating out, Diane and I are very happy buying local organic and cooking from scratch for our friends. My favourite wines are big and red. We always have two or three bottles of single malt scotch open at any given time. And I have a secret recipe for the ultimate Manhattan (hint: it's all about the cherry!). 

Transportation: We own two cars. An old SAAB Convertible and a new MINI Cooper S-Coupe. Neither one is very practical ... but who cares?

13 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Jon:

1.  ReadingI take all week to  read the Saturday Globe & Mail and the Sunday New York Times. I also usually have two books going, a fiction and a non-fiction. Right now it's "11/22/63" by Stephen King and "Working Effectively With Aboriginal Peoples" by Robert and Cynthia Joseph.

2.  Watching: Newsroom, Breaking Bad, Shameless, Parts Unknown and lots of news.

3.  Following: No-one, I'm not a Facebook-er or Twitter-er.

4.  Listening: My musical taste is extremely eclectic ... classic rock (Grateful Dead, Rolling Stones, Patti Smith, Bob Dylan), new indie (Deep Dark Woods, Barr Brothers, Kathleen Edwards), jazz (Stanley Clarke, Joshua Redmond, John Coltrane, Gary Burton) and other artists who can't be categorized (Steve Earle, Sigur Ros, Zoe Keating, Lucinda Williams).

5.  Always On My Desk: Next to a photo of my wife and our kids is a broken piece of granite engraved with this saying: "A Cluttered Desk Is A Sign Of A Genius" ... I'm convinced that it's true.

6.  Favourite Pen: The one I "borrowed" from the last hotel I stayed in.

7.  Favourite Old Tech Gadget: My Moleskin notebook ... I always buy the black leather one with unlined pages.

8.  Favourite New Tech Gadget: My iPhone ... it never ceases to amaze me.

9.  Favourite Toy: My 1973 Ducati 350 motorcycle. I only ride it on sunny days ... the rest of the time I tinker with it.

10. Next On My Bucket List: My wife and I are planning a month-long road trip through Spain ... tapas, paella and tempranello!

11. Philanthropic Work:The Vancouver Native Housing Society provides affordable housing for the city's underprivileged First Nation peoples. The society is non-profit, but it owns two social enterprises – the Urban Aboriginal Art Gallery and Skwachàys Lodge. I created and am managing a program to convert the lodge into Canada's only Aboriginal arts hotel. The lobby is an art gallery, the rooms will be original art installations, the hotel guests will enjoy interpretive art experiences and be encouraged to purchase artwork. Gallery revenues sustain the native artists … hotel and gallery profits support the housing society.

12. My First Job In This Industry: I was about 13 years old and thought I should be president of the family business. I guess my father disagreed ... he hired me as a bellhop at one of the Howard Johnson's Motor Lodges that he owned.

13. What Keeps Me In This Crazy Industry: I'm a 3rd generation hotelier ... it's in my DNA. The challenges and rewards have been great. But what keeps me here? What's the best part of my work? It's always been watching and listening to families having fun while vacationing in my resorts.

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