10 JUL 2019: Interesting. Intelligent. Amusing. Opinionated. Entrepreneurial. Warm. Cool. Worldly. Witty. Silly... and just plain fun. Friends used all those terms to describe Frank Orlando, who tragically, and far too soon, died on Friday.

And they are right. Whether you were his friend, or a business associate, and I count myself privileged to have been both, Frank’s approach was much the same. He was informed, interested, ready to talk ideas, offer suggestions, be they business, politics or anything else. He had his own viewpoint and philosophies but was always ready to hear an opposing view and discuss/argue it - not with rancor but with a genuine love of learning something new and the challenge of differing viewpoints.

He wasn’t always easy. At times in the past I’ve even heard the acronym SOB used. But Frank was never one to suffer fools and had little patience with idiots – or those he believed to be behaving like idiots (an elastic category – though friends got a bit of a break). If that’s how he appeared to some on occasion – it was likely they deserved it.


Frank lived and worked in Cuba for a long time with Guitart Hotels, opening one of their first hotels there.  In Canada he worked at Skylark Holidays, where he made friends who remain close to this day. He worked for a couple of years at CP Holidays where he met Michelle Pinard in 1984.

“He stalked me after CP Holidays,” says Michelle who left the company shortly after Frank arrived there, and Frank has readily and happily agreed with her assessment. They became friends – serving occasionally as each other’s date at friends’ weddings. “Wedding date pals” Michelle remembers with a laugh. The friendship developed into something more meaningful and they moved in together in 2001 and then married in 2003.

Nobody on the outside really knows what makes a marriage – but this one seemed a perfect partnership of two adults who respected, supported, cared for, loved, and were proud of each other and their accomplishments – individually and jointly. They were easy to be around – gracious, welcoming, fun. A couple who thought nothing of spontaneously inviting a group of friends to their home after a travel event, where over drinks, conversation and laughter, Frank whipped up a risotto for 14 with whatever he found in the fridge. To this day it’s the best risotto I’ve ever eaten.


But back to business. After Skylark, Frank went on to be a product buyer at Thomson Vacations, VP Product Planning at Regent Holidays, and a four-year consulting contract at Sears Canada. Along the way, ever smart and entrepreneurial, he also developed a piece of software he called Green Screen for the travel industry.  In 2005 Frank founded Travelwatch which provided electronic content and email customer campaigns to the travel industry. Michelle joined him at the company and they were subsequently acquired by Vancouver based BranchUp with Frank and Michelle continuing in their roles, now as part of the BranchUp team.

Frank loved to travel. He spoke English, Italian and Spanish. He was a voracious reader and enjoyed sports. He played golf, followed the Jays and Formula 1 racing, loved being on the water – had a captain’s licence and tried windsurfing and waterskiing. He was a news junkie. Loved food and culture - all kinds of music, art and architecture and, I’m told, had a secret hankering to be an architect or a concert pianist – why not both? He had a lovely sense of the absurd. And right up there - he loved his dog, Paco.


He loved to ride his motorbike named Bubbles ...don’t ask. It had a bumper sticker depicting bubbles on the back - and the license plate was BBLS.  It was all personal with Frank - every bike or car he has owned has had a name. The current Audi is Fritz.

Friends were a part of Frank’s DNA. For many years Frank shared a cottage in Muskoka with a group of friends. He was a loyal friend and he made friends for life. Good friends. Lots of friends. They will always remember him with a smile.

But this week, along with Michelle, his sisters, and other members of his family, his friends are devastated at a vibrant, outstanding, inspired and inspiring life that has ended far too soon.

They will miss him. As will we all.

Frank’s Celebration of Life will be held Friday, September 6 from 3-5 pm.
R.S. Kane Funeral Home,
6150 Yonge Street, Toronto,
Ontario M2M 3W9



Jen Savedra

Jen Savedra is the founder and editor in chief of Travel Industry Today with  a long career and considerable experience in various sectors of travel and tourism. She is dedicated to producing a publication that differentiates itself from the pack. One that pulls no punches, and - along with being a forum for news and ideas - is easy to navigate and always fun to read.

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