Born in Sudbury in 1975, a city in the Northern Ontario (Canada) known, among other things, for snow, cold, hockey and mines. He grew up in a family with roots from Široki Brijeg (BiH), he is married and father of four children.
He graduated in political science and international relations (1994-1997) and law at the University of Ottawa (1997-2000).
Although he thought about a career in diplomacy, his life’s journey took him to the financial center of Canada, on “Bay Street” in Toronto. After much effort, at the age of 34, he became a partner in one of Canada’s strongest and best-known law firms – Stikeman Elliott LLP – which has over 500 lawyers and has a significant stake in high-profile corporate matters in Canada. As the co-head of the company’s mining group, he is recognized on the domestic and international markets for his specialization in international transactions, capital financing and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) processes of companies, mainly related to mining, and for his participation in high-profile transactions up to an estimated value of 20 billion dollars. He is often found in financial centers around the world and mining locations throughout Canada, the US, South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Peru) and Africa.
From an early age he was a participant in Croatian folklore, football and school. As he matured, he became an increasingly active member of the communities in which he lived – be it in Sudbury through Croatian radio and news during the war in the 1990s, the Board of directors of the Croatian Center and the Parish council of St. Mark, and researching the history of Croats in Northern Ontario – or in Toronto through the Board of directors of the Canadian-Croatian Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian-Croatian Scholarship Fund, the Canadian First World War Internment Recognition Fund (including Croats in Canada), the Tribute to Liberty Society (which is erecting a monument to the victims of communism in the center of Ottawa), and the Board of directors of St. Joseph, among other activities. Together with his wife Iva and children (Gabriela, Maks, Nikola and Luka) he is a proud member of the parish community of Kraljica Mira in Norval. In 2013, he was appointed a member of the Council of the Government of the Republic of Croatia for Croats outside the Republic of Croatia as one of the representatives for Canada, and after that he was elected and served as the President of the Council from 2017-2021.
A message to Croats around the world: It is important to remember the words of St. John Paul II, a great friend of the Croatian people; a man who had a great influence on Croatian independence and a special role in the international recognition of Croatia; who, among others, beatified Blessed Cardinal Alojzije Stepinac and canonized St. Leopold Bogdan Mandić and St. Marko Križevčanin during his pontificate: “Please – never, never lose hope, never doubt, never give up and never get discouraged. Don’t be afraid!”
When I think, among other things, of my parents (from where and with what they started in the world in the 1960s/70s), of their renunciation and sacrifice for our family and of the love and pride instilled in our hearts and to all those who contributed, fought and sacrificed in any way, especially those who laid down their lives for our Croatian people, our Croatian homeland, and our religion (including all the guardians of Croatia and Christianity throughout the centuries), who wouldn’t love all that?; who would betray all that? Our beautiful one, we wish, we want and we will fight for you to be as soon as possible the way our ancestors dreamed of you and the way your people deserved. No surrender!
Ivan Tomislav Grbešić