For Peter Mercanti it all started in Abruzzo Italy, the second born to Giuseppe and Iolanda Mercanti. Traditionally the people of Abruzzo have been known for their kindness and exquisite cuisine, hence Peter’s passion for people and food.
Giuseppe Mercanti and Iolanda Mancini were born and raised in Abruzzo where the two families farmed the land on a sharecropping basis, it was here where Giuseppe fell in love with his beloved Iolanda. After a short eight month engagement, Giuseppe and Iolanda were married, September 14, 1946.
It was not long before Giuseppe and Iolanda started thinking of having a family of their own. One year exactly after their wed¬ding Iolanda gave birth to their first child, a boy, Sam. Two years later they were blessed with a second boy, Peter, and then three years later, their third son Morris Mercanti.
Giuseppe and Iolanda had an uncle, Eugenio who immigrated to Canada and settled in Hamilton, Ontario. Giuseppe and Iolanda decided they would like to immigrate to Canada too. With the help of their Uncle Eugenio the Mercanti family set sail on March 21, 1956 aboard the Vulcania from Napoli. On April 12, 1956 the Mercanti family arrived in Halifax, Nova Scotia. From there Giuseppe, Iolanda and their three sons took a two day train ride to Hamilton Ontario, where they settled. Four years after settling in Hamilton, Giuseppe and Iolanda welcomed into the family their first and only daughter Rosanna Mercanti.
The 70’s was when the legacy of Peter Mercanti began, when Peter met his mentor, Pasquale (Pat) Paletta, a hardworking man with unique business savvy. Pat gave Peter his first job in the food industry and inspired him to be great and do great things. On April 18, 1970 Peter married his love, a beautiful young lady,Gabriella Fernetti. Over the years Peter and Gabriella welcomed into their family, three wonderful children. First was their beautiful daughter Daniella, several years later came their first son, Peter (PJ) and then shortly thereafter a second son, Joseph (Joey).
In 1978 the Mercanti brothers (Sam, Peter and Morris) in partnership with their Uncle Carmen Mancini and Tony DePau¬lo, opened an Italian Style Bakery on Concession Street in Hamilton, called Carmen’s Bakery, which ran for about a decade.
The 80’s was the next phase in Peter Mercanti’s story. With the help of his brothers Peter, Sam and Morris, branched out with their own building, the icon¬ic Carmen’s Banquet and Convention Centre, located on Stone Church Road East, Hamilton. A 38,000 square foot facility that would one day be host to Prime Ministers, past American Presidents, Academy Award winning Entertainers and most importantly making dreams a reality for many a blushing bride.
The 90’s brought forth the birth of Carmen’s Piazza on Anchor Road in Hamilton, a boutique venue with three quaint event spaces. From this location the Mercanti brothers catered to many off premise locations, RBG, Warplane Heritage Museum, The Hamilton Spectator, Beverly Golf Country Club, King’s Forest Golf Course, Chedoke Civic Golf Course, Heron Point Golf Course and the Holiday Inn Oakville.
The 2000’s a millennial milestone for Peter and his family. Peter Mercanti with great pride introduces his son’s PJ and Joey to the business in 2004 and in 2010 Carmen’s secures the exclusive rights to operate the Lakeview ballroom at Confederation Park. Carmen’s also welcomes Al Pacino to Hamilton, an event that raised $150,000 for the Good Shepherd Centre. 2011 Peter Mer¬canti receives the Hamilton Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award and opens the doors to the Best West¬ern Premier C-Hotel by Carmen’s a boutique hotel with 52 spacious rooms, featuring two banquet rooms, roof top terrace and the Baci Ristorante.
2012 the Mercanti brothers, Sam, Peter and Morris are inducted into the Hamilton Gallery of Distinction; the first time siblings entered into the Gallery simultaneously.
2013 after a very com¬petitive bidding process Carmen’s secures the rights to operate the Hamilton Convention Centre and later host the 2015 Juno Awards Dinner Gala. Carmen’s also welcomed Tony Bennett to Hamilton; an event that raised $50,000 for the Dia¬betes Association.
2015 not only brought the Juno Awards, but it also brought forth the Rise! The rise of a new era for Carmen’s with the formation of Carmen’s Group and Peter Mercanti officially turning over the Carmen’s business to his sons PJ and Joey. But Peter was not out of the game, with Carmen’s in good hands Peter is able to focus on his other passion “Mama Yolanda’s Lasagna”, the same recipe that Peter’s Mama used to make in Italy, the same recipe introduced to Hamilton at Carmen’s Bakery and served time and time again at Carmen’s Banquet and Convention Centre and many off premise catering events. The same lasagna that Al Pacino raved about and took home with him after his visit in 2010.