Pat Butler named 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award winner

Pat Butler

For someone with such a successful career, Pat Butler seems to have effectively flown under the radar. But this has certainly not hindered the advancement of his company.

“Pat is the ultimate entrepreneur, arriving in Ottawa in 1965 with very little money in his pocket. Through hard work, smarts, determination and a continuous growth mentality, he has built one of Ottawa’s largest private-sector entities: the Butler Automotive Group,” said Cyril Leeder, CEO of Myers Automotive Group, who nominated Butler, 85, for the award. 

Butler Automotive Group consists of Leisure Days RV Group, five new car dealerships and three Harley-Davidson motorcycle dealerships, as well as Powersports Canada. 

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While national in scope, Leeder noted, the bulk of operations are local, with many locations in Ottawa, the Ottawa Valley and Eastern Ontario. The group employs more than 1,200 people, about 800 in the Ottawa area. 

“At 85 years old, he is still active, every day, in the operations of Butler Automotive Group,” said Leeder.

Butler started in the automotive industry in 1956 in Toronto at age 18. He moved to Ottawa in 1965 to work with the Dilawri Group. In 1972, he had scraped together enough of a grubstake to purchase his first dealership, Mckenzie Mercury (now Lincoln Heights Ford Lincoln) and has never looked back. “He has been a serial entrepreneur ever since,” noted Leeder. 

“We are still evolving the company to catch up to him,” Lynn Norton, company chief operating officer, told RV News Magazine earlier this year. “He is still pedal to the metal every single day.

“One of Pat’s greatest assets is his incredible vision for the future,” added Norton. “We as a management team are so fortunate to benefit from his 60 years of experience in the automotive industry.”

“Pat is one of Ottawa’s true gems,” said Leeder in his letter of recommendation. “He has spent 66 years working in the automotive business and 50 of those years with ownership in Ottawa. He has helped build a significant number of businesses, played a major role in the development of many careers, generously gives back to the community he calls home, all the while seeking no personal attention or limelight.”

Butler is the 12th recipient of the award, jointly presented by Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Board of Trade (OBoT). The award, part of the Best Ottawa Business Awards (the BOBS), is presented to a businessperson who demonstrates long-term business success, innovation and perseverance, strong leadership and a legacy of community building. The selection process involves OBJ, OBoT and past recipients.

The BOBs is an annual award ceremony and gala that celebrates Ottawa’s history of innovative, ethical and profitable business, and recognizes its entrepreneurial spirit. Join us on Thursday, Nov. 24 at the Westin Ottawa. Purchase your tickets by visiting

Past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award are:

2021: Jim Taggart

2020: Rob Ashe

2019: Dr. Jack Kitts

2018: Gordon Reid

2017: John Ruddy

2016: Michael Potter

2015: Shirley Westeinde

2014: Roger Greenberg

2013: Wes Nicol

2012: John Kelly

2011: Jim Durrell

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