CTV News has learned a well-known Windsor businessman has died.
Mark Boscariol owns Good Neighbour in Walkerville and Snackbar-B-Q and Downtown Pizza Co. in the city’s core.
Friend shared their thoughts today with CTV’s Rich Garton.
“My heart is broken right now, for his wife and his son… As well as the City of Windsor,” said Ward 4 councillor Chris Holt.
“This is a devastating blow to his wife and son his entire family and the Windsor community,” said Larry Horwitz, chair of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association.
“There aren’t enough adjectives to describe him effectively,” said long-time friend Randy Diestelmann. “Top notch, blue ribbon, superior and one of a kind.”
According to his Facebook page, Boscariol was 51 years old. The business owner was always cooking up new ideas with friends.
“Seven days a week, 24 hours a day, Mark Boscariol would text me ideas, about how to fix this, how to fix that,” said Holt, who first encountered Boscariol through his blog some 15 years ago. The two have been friends ever since.
“Mark was a million miles an hour. We would sit around and talk about an idea amongst friends. Most of us went home, we’d mull over the idea,” said co-host of Rose City Politics, Paul Synnott. “Mark had already hired three people, rented a space and started moving ahead with it. He was just like that.”
He wasn’t just a restaurateur. Boscariol was also a driving force behind Buskerfest and the rejuvenated Windsor International Film Festival. He also provided space for tech-hub Windsor Hackforge and Higher Limits Cannabis Lounge.
“That’s the guy who went out of his way to rent us a space when no other landlord would dare rent a space for a medical cannabis lounge,” said lounge owner, Jon Liedtke.
Boscariol was also the chair of the Downtown Windsor Business Improvement Association in 2005 and 2006.
In recent years, Boscariol would show up at Windsor city council meetings and challenge elected officials and city administration. He was particularly vocal about the conversion of the Pelissier Street parking garage from retail to parking spaces, even once offering to buy the structure.
“He was someone who was out there doing what needed to be done,” said Liedtke. “He put his money where his mouth was. He was someone who was out there defying what the status quo suggested and pushing toward something better, bigger and nobler than we had.”
He parlayed that fire into a seat around the table at local podcast, Rose City Politics, where he took part in his final show, Wednesday night.
“Mark was never personal,” remembered Synnott. “You could sit there and argue with him for hours and then we’d go have a beer.”
“As much as we would argue with him on Rose City Politics, we always loved each other and we always shared that vision of a better Windsor,” said Rose City Politics panelist, Sarah Morris. “And I know I’m going to continue to make that a reality.”
Boscariol will also be remembered for his energy, as friends often referred to him as the “energizer bunny.”
“He was like a nine volt battery,” said Randy Diestelmann. “You’d think it would be dead, done and over with, and you’d stick it on your tongue, and there was always something left.”
“That was Mark Boscariol.”
Many Windsorites also took to social media to offer tributes and condolences: