A SOLID START
When Rene DeSantis enrolled at George Brown College to study graphic design in 1970, he had no idea it was the beginning of a lasting partnership. During DeSantis’s studies, the City of Toronto held a competition to create a new flag for the city’s anniversary celebrations. Out of more than 250 entrants, DeSantis’s design was chosen for its abstract representation of city hall with a red maple leaf at the base, forming a "T" shape for "Toronto". The rich blue colour was chosen to represent the sky above city hall and the nearby waterfront of Lake Ontario. In 1999, the newly amalgamated City of Toronto was seeking a new identity and decided to investigate the possibility of adopting a new flag. However, after a review of several new submissions, it was decided to keep the original design and it continues to fly to this day.
A MARKETING MAVERICK
In 1992, DeSantis founded Montana Steele Strategic Marketing, a full-service Toronto-based firm with specialized expertise in corporate, real estate, retail, and destination marketing. Over the span of 25 years, Montana Steele has launched over 700 successful real estate projects and won over 200 awards of excellence at national and international levels. As president of Montana Steele, DeSantis has developed iconic brands and campaigns for clients across North America, including projects such as Maple Leaf Square, King Edward, Ritz Carlton, and the memorable Pizza Nova jingle.
DeSantis has also launched a number of other ventures, including eieihome.com, where homeowners can find over 200,000 quality local home contractors and 1000s of inspiring renovation articles, photos, tips, and real customer reviews. Established in 2010, eieihomes.com has become Canada’s leading home improvement website. DeSantis also launched newinhomes.com, which emerged in the early 2000s as the first online new home and real estate search engine to serve the Canadian consumer.
Over the years, DeSantis has made his mark in the marketing industry with countless iconic projects. He has partnered with the City of Toronto, the Government of Canada, and the Planning and Transportation Committee to create powerful campaigns. This includes "Together We’re Better" to promote Canada’s multiculturalism, the Tree Advocacy Program to make Toronto greener and more sustainable, and most recently he sat on the Advisory Board for "TO Canada With Love" in celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday.
The common thread in DeSantis' diverse experiences is his dedication to giving back to his city and country.