Boston Pizza: Celebrating 35 Years in Fort McMurray
In 1982 Doug and Linda Macdonald moved to Fort McMurray from Edmonton with their two children Mark and Lori, and opened two Boston Pizza restaurants; one in the Morrison centre which sat 90 people, and the other was in Gregoire and sat 50 people. They sold their car at the time and had family members as partners to help get them started. The economy was forecasted to boom, however, took a turn for the worse when an oil sands project never got going. It was a struggle for 12 years, but they remained positive and continued to work hard to help build their business, which got better and better each year.
In 1989 their son Mark started working as a dishwasher at the age of 14, and throughout the next five years he took on many different roles at the restaurant learning all different areas. In October 1994, they moved to the current location on MacDonald Avenue downtown and had one bigger store rather than two smaller. The Boston Pizza menu was increasing at a rapid pace and the two smaller restaurants were not equipped for the new large menu. The location change proved to be a huge success; Mark joined his mother Linda in a full-time role, while Doug went on to pursue other family business ventures in Fort McMurray.
In 2005, Linda and Mark opened the Timberlea location, and current partner, Victor Wiley, started as the General Manager. It was the first restaurant to open in the Timberlea area which helped Boston Pizza once again improve the ability to serve all of Fort McMurray. Since the Timberlea store has opened, both restaurants in Fort McMurray have been proud to represent Fort McMurray on a national level winning several different awards such as Marketing, Fundraising, and Sales. Linda and Mark were also named Franchisees of the Year in 2006 which is a national award given for operational excellence.
Opening the store after the evacuation in 2016 was hard, especially due to lack of staff. At that time, the family tradition continued as Mark’s children began to work for the family business. Ethan and Ella began to work in the stores which mark the third generation of Macdonalds to work in Fort McMurray in the same restaurant.
In 2016 Linda was named A Woman of Inspiration by Girls Inc. in Fort McMurray, and was the first woman to join the Boston Pizza International Hall of fame. These awards reflect on the type of business owner she is.
After 35 years Linda is still very active within the restaurants. She loves working in this industry, and believes that being excited about work, and laughing and having fun are what make you successful. She is never one to worry about outside influences. As many other long-time businesses in Fort McMurray, she understands the ups and downs of the city. Her belief is if we take care of our customers, and provide a great meal and friendly service, they will continue to enjoy the Boston Pizza experience.
This past April, Boston Pizza celebrated 35 years of being in business in Fort McMurray, which makes it the longest standing dine-in restaurant in the area. We can’t express enough the gratitude we feel for the community that has helped support us for that long. We will continue to be an avid supporter of youth, families, and sports in the community to show how much this community means to us.
Thank you to all of Fort McMurray for the last 35 years! We look forward to being a part of your family long into the future.