Sunwing has been for a. in all the news Loud flight of influencers take a trip from Montreal to Cancun, but the story of the owner of the Canadian travel company has its roots in Toronto’s jazz scene.
Colin Hunter is the founder, owner and chairman of the Sunwing tour group, one of the largest travel companies in North America.
Along with his wife, Joan Hunter and founding managing director Sybil Walker, Colin Hunter gave Toronto a new place to listen to live music in 2013.
The Jazz Bistro near Yonge and Dundas has made a name for itself over the past eight years as a place to experience Toronto jazz in a lush supper club setting. It’s an elegant experience like no other jazz venue in town.
Here you can also hear Colin Hunter singing classics like “Come Fly With Me”, “Call Me Irresponsible” and “I’ve Got You Under My Skin”.
“My early favorites were Tony Bennett and Frank Sinatra, and the first song I remember was ‘Because of You,’ and I was about 13 years old,” Hunter told blogTO.
“When I was at university in India, I sang in the entertainment district of [Mumbai] a couple of nights a month. “
Hunter says he’s always loved singing, from karaoke for fun to a surprise serenade for his wife while vacationing on a luxury cruise.
When he met the pianist Joe Sealy at the wedding of a mutual friend it was the beginning of a longstanding musical partnership.
The two have worked together on more gigs than they can count, recording a dozen albums that can be heard as in-flight entertainment on Sunwing flights.
Hunter has also toured internationally and prides itself on working with the best musicians in the business, most commonly Sealy and his quartet members: Paul Novotny on bass, Daniel Barnes on drums and Alison Young on saxophone.
The inspiration behind the Jazz Bistro is called an opulent club in Montreal House of Jazz, where Hunter made frequent appearances until it closed in 2020.
When it came time to design the Jazz Bistro space, Hunter was just “writing the checks” when his wife Joan was overseeing the construction, renovation, and branding of the huge 3-story space.
Inside there is a color scheme of black and red with gold accents, which gives the Jazz Bistro its dark, cozy atmosphere.
Recently, before the last lockdown, new General Manager Ted Haberer introduced a few new program options, including nightly weekend jam sessions that invite the next generation of musicians to gather in style.
Hunter still performs regularly on the venue’s stage, although his next appearance will have to wait until live music is allowed again in the province.
And that now infamous Sunwing flight from Quebec? Perhaps he’ll incorporate a clever reference to it in an upcoming song.
Colin Hunter’s Ori Dagan performs with the Joe Sealy Quartet