S.S. Keewatin

Eric Conroy

  • Eric Conroy began his adult working career in 1967 as a high school teacher in Richmond Hill Ontario but two years later retired, taking a job in sales at NSI Marketing, a leading Canadian promotions firm.
  • After several years he started his own firm, in conjunction with NSI, managing competitive business NSI couldn’t handle in-house.
  • In 1974 Eric sold his promotion company to McCann Erickson, a U.S. Ad Agency and started his own chain of franchised RADMAN Automotive Cooling and Air Conditioning shops. He also founded an advertising agency, a tire company and a restaurant/bar.
  • In 1982, Eric sold the 43-location RADMAN Auto Centres, the restaurant/bar, the advertising agency, and the tire store.
  • Recruited to work as a consultant for the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto in 1983, he was soon appointed General Manager of the world famous CNE (Canadian National Exhibition)—a contract position he held for two years.
  • In 1985 he worked with Chief of Police Jack Ackroyd to help establish the Public Affairs Unit for the Metropolitan Toronto Police and was retained by the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police for many years as a Public Affairs consultant involved with program development and fundraising.
  • While working with the Canadian police chief’s association, Eric developed Markplan Inc, a publishing company. Since 1990 it has created a series of magazines for youth which culminated in THE MAGAZINE—the only national youth publication sold at retail and through subscription across English Canada. THE MAGAZINE was sold in June of 2011.
  • For 34 years, Eric volunteered as a director with Canada’s largest parade—Toronto’s Original Santa Claus Parade. In his capacity as Vice President of Sponsorship he was responsible for raising the $1.4 million required to fund the event each year. Eric is also on the Executive Committee.
  • Since August 2011, Eric has been engaged in the acquisition and return to Canada of the Edwardian-era passenger steamship S.S. Keewatin. As a teen Eric worked as a waiter on the ship, which ran from Port McNicoll (near Midland) to Fort William (now Thunder Bay). The 350 foot long antique ship was purchased by Skyline Developments as a centerpiece and cultural contribution to a renewed Port McNicoll community. S.S. Keewatin is operated by a charitable foundation dedicated to her preservation: Eric is President & CEO of Friends of Keewatin.
  • Eric was awarded The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for the historic task of returning Keewatin to Canada from the United States. He is a “DISTINGUISHED MEMBER” of the ROYAL CANADIAN MOUNTED POLICE Officers and NCO Messes, a “LIFETIME HONORARY MEMBER” of THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF CHIEFS OF POLICE. He has also been awarded the “ORDER OF BULGARIA” and is an active member of “THE APOSTLES OF IRELAND”. Eric and his wife Fiona live in Port McNicoll and have two grown sons. Through his career he has traveled extensively within all of Canada and over most of the world where he has many contacts and friends.
  • “A STEAK IN THE DRAWER” is Eric’s first-person recollection of experiences as a waiter on a Canadian Pacific Railways Great Lakes ship at 17 and 18. Sold out in Michigan where it was originally published in 2010 to great reviews, it was revised and republished in Canada in June 2012, and has since sold over 10,000 copies.