Caithrin Rintoul grew up on a farm in Ontario and then moved to Paris and Montréal after high school to complete his training. At the same time, he worked in restaurant kitchens in Québec, Ontario and France, and for innovative urban agriculture businesses here and in Europe.
His experience in the food and restaurant industry helped him realize that the road from farm to fork was not always straight. As a former chef who loves good food and technology, he saw a business opportunity right there and, in April 2013, he founded Provender—an online marketplace that connects local sustainable farmers directly with restaurateurs.
A consultant and lecturer on urban agriculture, Caithrin has led workshops and seminars in Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver. His team works in Québec, Massachusetts and Minnesota.
“Personally, as a Montrealer, I often ask myself what I could do to spark a revolution that would open up new cultural, economic and political possibilities to benefit everyone in the city.”
Why did you decide to become an ambassador? Why is it important for you to be a Greater Montréal ambassador?
I believe in Montréal. We live in a city that has a strong potential for growth and is recognized worldwide for its entrepreneurial spirit. Looking at other cities around the world, I realize that Montréal can still shape its destiny and better position itself in this new market. As entrepreneurs, we are lucky to be living here, getting new projects off the ground and building wealth for generations to come.
Montréal needs us. That’s why I’ve chosen to become an ambassador.
What do you like most about Greater Montréal?
Montrealers share a certain outlook on life that’s rooted in the city’s complex history and multicultural character. I think that’s what makes the city so innovative. It’s great that anyone can still become an entrepreneur in Montréal, especially in the high-tech industry.
Montréal has a diversified economy. It doesn’t rely on one major source of wealth like Calgary on its oil, but it’s not as saturated as New York City either. At some point in history, the city’s economy and social life revolved around its port and booming fur industry, but even then people could see potential for a brighter future and tried to imagine what 21st-century Montréal would be like. This still holds true today. I love this open-mindedness and the fact that we’re always looking for ways to make things better for the future.
What are the three words that best describe Greater Montréal?
Culture, history and potential
What do you hope Greater Montréal will be like in 20 years?
I find that we think small too often. I believe we should look ahead and forget about our challenges for a while. If we want to overcome them, we need to stop dwelling on them and start focusing on the economy of the future instead. We must expand our horizons, work on changes and become world leaders. Personally, as a Montrealer, I often ask myself what I could do to spark a revolution that would open up new cultural, economic and political possibilities to benefit everyone in the city.
Are you from Montréal?
I was born in Ontario, but I’ve lived in Montréal for eight years now. Before moving here, I was studying in Paris but my French visa expired and I had to return to Canada. I didn’t feel like going back to Ontario because I wanted to live in a city where I could breathe culture wherever I went. That’s how I ended up in Montréal, thinking that I would stay here for three months until my French visa was renewed. I didn’t know anyone, I didn’t know the city and I didn’t speak French. I rented a small apartment on Plateau Mont-Royal and immersed myself in Montréal’s culture. That was in 2006. The city was alive and buzzing with cultural activities—Mile End especially. When my visa finally came, I put it on the fridge door and looked at it every day for two months thinking about my return to Paris. Then one day I woke up and just knew that I belonged in Montréal. So I took my visa and the envelope and threw them in the trash.
What are you passionate about?
I love Montréal’s music scene. That’s one of the main reasons I live in Mile End. It’s a beautiful, artistic neighbourhood with a vibrant music community. We’re really lucky to have something like that here in Montréal.
I also like hot yoga. Greater Montréal has some of the best yoga instructors in the world and a plethora of yoga studios. And hot yoga here in winter, trust me, it’s just great. When it’s minus 40°C outside, it feels really nice to be in a room where the temperature is plus 30°C.
If you could have a physical or mental superpower, what would it be? Why?
I’d like to talk to people, look them in the eye and make them aware of their tremendous potential right here, right now. I wish they could see and get a feeling of what their lives would be like if they reached their full potential.
If I had a superpower, it would be the ability to help everyone around me realize that.