After almost 40 years in Prince Edward Island's restaurant and tourism business, Liam and Kim Dolan may finally get a chance to sit down as they are honoured as the 2021 entrepreneurs of the year by the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce.
The award will be given to the Dolans March 24 at a ceremony for the chamber's Excellence Awards, and recognizes the couple's accomplishments and entrepreneurial spirit.
"Liam and Kim embrace the spirit of entrepreneurship," said Colin Younker, president of the chamber's board, in a written release. "Through their dedication to the family business, promotion of P.E.I.'s culinary offerings and contributions in the community, they set the standard for aspiring entrepreneurs."
"We are humbled, grateful and honoured to be recognized in our community as entrepreneurs of the year," Kim Dolan said in the release. "We truly would like to thank the Greater Charlottetown Chamber of Commerce for all the tireless, dedicated work they do on behalf of ours and all businesses."
Straight out of Ireland
Liam moved from Ireland to P.E.I. in 1978 at age 19. Working as a chef, he dreamed of opening his own restaurant, the release said. He met Kim and in 1983 the couple opened the Claddagh Room on Sydney Street in Charlottetown. Two years later they opened the popular Olde Dublin Pub upstairs, where live bands play traditional Celtic music.
In 1994, the Dolans bought Peake's Quay on the Charlottetown waterfront, which came with the opportunity to operate the nearby Charlottetown Yacht Club. The venues became magnets for the public and further development of the area with seasonal shops and an expanded boardwalk ensued. Now, it's a major tourism destination and growth continues.
In 1996, Liam founded the P.E.I. International Shellfish Festival, a successful event which continues to grow and attract more tourists to P.E.I. during the shoulder season contributing millions to the local economy.
The pair has also been active in the community, volunteering with events and advancing the food and beverage industry locally and nationally. Liam has been a member of industry boards including the P.E.I. Chefs Association, Restaurants Canada and the American Restaurant Association, and currently chairs Downtown Charlottetown Inc., a non-profit that works with businesses to create and maintain a vibrant downtown.
Kim is a well-known Island curler, having volunteered with the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and other Canadian championships hosted in Charlottetown. The family contributes to charitable organizations in the community, including Make A Wish Canada.
The couple sold the Claddagh Oyster House and the Olde Dublin Pub in 2018, but continue to work at Peake's Quay Restaurant and Bar with their children, Marc and Sinead.
Along with Peter MacDonald and Dan MacIsaac, Liam will also be inducted into P.E.I.'s Business Hall of Fame this June.
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