John Thorpe - Canada’s Largest Ribfest

John Thorpe - Canada’s Largest Ribfest

Inducted in 2013

John Thorpe was born in Vancouver and grew up in Oakville, Ontario.  He went to McMaster University and studied Physical Education, majoring in Kinesiology.  A family oriented man; he currently resides in Burlington with his wife, and his two children. 

Community and giving back has always underpinned John’s activities, professionally and personally.  Drawing inspiration from the world’s largest community service group, The Rotary Club, John joined the Rotary Club of Burlington Lakeshore in 1987.

Five years later, in 1993 John, and Tim Farrar, a close friend from University, combined their passion for cycling and inspiration of the Paris to Roubaix race in France and created the Paris to Ancaster Race.  It has grown from a handful of cycle enthusiasts to 2,200 strong in 2012, making it the biggest bike race in the country.

In 1996, John, again with close friend and fellow Rotarian, Robert Peeling embarked on co-founding a ribfest as fundraiser for the club.  Now in its 18th year, Ribfest has now become Canada’s Largest Ribfest and has been dubbed ‘the Superbowl of Ribfests’ by the National Post.  Annually drawing a crowd of over 150,000 people, Ribfest has leveraged over $3 million charitable dollars over the years.  John and Bob have gone to help set up 26 other ribfests throughout Ontario and as far as B.C.

John is currently the president of Utter Morris Insurance, located in Burlington with more than 20 years of experience in the insurance industry specializing in commercial insurance. 

When pressed what was the most important advice John was ever given, he states ‘ to do the best at whatever it is you do – it is not just doing the things you love but loving that you do. His advice to others: “Make the world a better place for having you in it”.