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SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont.The Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) has announced J.J. Hilsinger as the 2018 recipient of the Tourism Industry Awards of Excellence’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

In a special Lifetime Achievement Award Lunch held at Caesars Windsor on October 23 — during the 2018 Ontario Tourism Summit — Hilsinger will be celebrated for his commitment to hospitality and community engagement.

“J.J. Hilsinger has been an outspoken figure in Tourism Sault Ste. Marie’s business and tourism community for decades,” according to a release from TIAO. “An active supporter of the city’s growth since the 1950s, J.J.’s name has come to represent entrepreneurship and community spirit.”

After opening Sault Ste. Marie’s first KFC franchise — which eventually expanded to additional businesses — Hilsinger built the Water Tower Inn in 1974. He also spearheaded investment at Searchmont Resort, in addition to groups such as Hospitality and Travel Sault Ste. Marie (HATS) and the city’s economic advisory council in the ’80s.

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