Paré was highly instrumental in ushering in a new era of Canadian tennis when in 1979 he brought Imperial Tobacco Limited to Canada’s premier men’s and women’s tennis championships as the title sponsor. This pioneering sponsorship resulted in the creation of the Player’s International and the Player’s Challenge.
When Rothmans stopped sponsoring the Canadian Open in 1978, Imperial Tobacco, who were the leaders in the Canadian cigarette market, stepped up to the plate. Led by Paré who was Chairman and CEO of Imasco Limited (Imperial Tobacco’s parent company), they were a delight to work with right from the beginning. Despite being CEO of the holding company, Paré involved himself directly in all of the negotiations concerning the tennis, primarily because he loved the game. His influence on what happened to the Canadian Open was highly significant. Imperial Tobacco was extremely generous and wanted everything to be first class. As a result, Tennis Canada entered into an arrangement with Mark McCormick’s IMG (a powerhouse in sports, representing many top golf and tennis players and events). This basically guaranteed a good entry list, which included several top players, thus increasing the prestige of the tournament. This also led John Beddington, who had worked for IMG, to serve as tournament director in 1979 and for several years thereafter.
Another condition of Imperial’s sponsorship involved alternating the site of the tournament between Toronto and Montreal, the latter being the head office location of both Imasco and Imperial Tobacco. Tennis Canada was successful in convincing the Men’s Pro Council that this was a good idea even though it created a precedent; shortly thereafter the WTA wanted a separate women’s event so that is when Tennis Canada began alternating the men’s and women’s events between the two cities, but on different dates. Paré was also involved in helping to secure the Jarry Park location for the Montreal event.
Paré always attended the Toronto event everyday with his wife and entertained players, donors, sponsors and fans. He also hosted and attended many of the Tournament Executive Committee meetings. This was quite unusual as most CEOs would delegate to someone else, but not Paré, he loved the game. During the week in Toronto Paré often played tennis in the mornings before the gates would open to the public and he usually presented the winners’ trophies.
Paré retired as Chairman of Imasco in 1987.