“2023: A Year of Challenges, Triumphs, Moving on and Giving Back”

Duane Francis

Another year has come and gone and it certainly was an eventful one. I want to wish you a very Happy New Year and we look forward to what 2024 has in store for us all. Let’s dive into some highlights from this rollercoaster of a year.

2023 kicked off with a determined global economic recovery, a collective response to the trials brought on by the ever-persistent COVID-19 pandemic. Many nations skillfully navigated the tricky path of reopening their economies, gradually recapturing the buzz of pre-pandemic times. It’s worth tipping our hats to government stimulus packages and those life-saving vaccination campaigns that breathed new life into this recovery.

Inflation continued to be the talk in 2023, taking center stage in economic conversations. Many countries saw inflation rates that hadn’t seen the light of day in years. This was thanks to a cocktail of factors, including supply chain hiccups, soaring energy prices, and the resurgence of demand as economies sprung back to life. To tackle this formidable foe, central banks worldwide orchestrated a symphony of monetary policy adjustments, including continuing to raise interest rates.

After a rough year in 2022, once again the technology sector emerged as the driving force behind economic growth in 2023. Companies put their innovation caps on, focusing on areas like artificial intelligence, renewable energy, and the roaring electric vehicle industry. Tech giants expanded their territories, causing a surge in demand for tech-savvy professionals. The world of trade was no calm sea in 2023. Trade tensions continued to simmer, with some countries locked in tariff battles and imposing trade restrictions. This sent ripples through global supply chains and international trade networks, making the web of global commerce even more intricate.

The way we work continued to shift gears as remote work and hybrid setups remained the talk of the town, even as the pandemic slowly faded. This transformation had consequences for commercial real estate, transportation, and our notions of what work looks like.

Geopolitical events, including conflicts (Ukraine and Gaza) and diplomatic tensions, sent shockwaves through the economic landscape. These events cast shadows on energy prices, disrupted trade, and added layers of uncertainty to global economic stability. Both conflicts contributed to a global mood of risk aversion. Investors became more cautious and risk-sensitive, impacting their investment decisions and portfolio allocations.  Despite the twists and turns, financial markets generally had a good time in 2023, especially towards the end of the year. Stock markets reached new heights, and cryptocurrencies continued to beckon investors, both big and small.

To sum it up, 2023 was a year of economic rebirth, the specter of inflation, and an unstoppable march of innovation. While the world grappled with the persistent challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic, it also showed remarkable adaptability in the face of shifting economic tides. Sustainability took center stage, shaping the global economy as it embraced a multitude of challenges and countless opportunities.

2023 was a year where we continued our mission to “Do well and Do good” in our community. The 20th Annual “Let’s Take a Swing at Cancer” Golf Tournament was nothing short of amazing, raising a whopping $42,000 for the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation (ORCF). It’s our largest fundraising year ever, and we’re not stopping there! Get ready for the 21st Anniversary on June 4th, 2024 – mark your calendars!

I personally took on a new challenge and stepped into the boxing ring for the “Fight for the Cure” charity boxing event. After seven months of intense training, I can say it was quite the journey, and I’m grateful I survived the fight! But the most incredible part? We raised over $60,000 as part of a record-breaking total of $1.1 Million dollars for the ORCF. It was an unforgettable experience, and I couldn’t have done it without your support. We also continued our tradition of being major sponsors at the Christmas Cheer Breakfast, where 28 charities in the community felt the impact of the over $100,000 raised that morning. It’s always heartwarming to see the difference we can make together.

Now, it’s time for a big change as our branch owner, colleague and friend, Michael Prittie, embarks on a new journey called retirement. We can’t thank him enough for his incredible 37 years of dedication to our branch. Michael’s been a true leader, not only in terms of professional expertise but also for his caring heart. His retirement marks the end of an era, and we wish him all the best. With Michael’s retirement, I’m honored to step into the role of leading our branch. It’s an exciting opportunity to build on the strong foundation that Michael helped establish, and I’m thrilled to work alongside our amazing team to ensure our continued success. Rest assured, I’m committed to upholding the high standards of excellence that define our branch, and I can’t wait to see what we can achieve together in this new chapter.

We’re also excited to welcome Nicole Bourgeois, who joined our team at the end of November. She is the friendly voice you’ll hear and the welcoming face you’ll see if you visit our office or give us a call. Nicole joins our talented group alongside Feda, Leric, Alex, and Shawn, all of whom are dedicated to exceeding your expectations.

Our seminar series will continue, and we’re thrilled to be “back in person” in our boardroom at 1545 Carling Avenue. These seminars run from January to May and then again from September to November, with a well-deserved summer break in between. We’re always open to your suggestions for topics that interest you, and feel free to invite your friends and colleagues to join us – they’ll likely find the presentations valuable, and the more, the merrier!

In closing, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your continued trust in our team. We’re excited about the possibilities that 2024 holds and are here to support you every step of the way.

Let’s make it a fantastic year!

Warm regards,


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