Higgins Event Rentals

The founding of Higgins Event Rentals is the charming story of Denis and Peggy; high school sweethearts.

This husband and wife team who began a small and humble business in Toronto nearly 33 years ago, grew into a strong family of 4 sons and 1 daughter. And their legacy grew into a devoted family operation in Toronto with over 60 employees.

Founded as United Rent-All in 1982, their small business operated pretty much like a general rental store in Etobicoke’s Royal York Plaza. Taking over the space from a department store, they warehoused chain saws, cement mixers, baby cribs and other odd items for rent.

You may be surprised to learn that, at that time, only a fraction of their business offered dishes, glassware, cutlery, linen, tables and chairs. However, from their humble beginnings they eventually set a blistering pace focused on growth and become pioneers of the event rental industry in Toronto.

As part of their natural evolution, Denis found a buyer for the tool side of the company and the sale allowed the couple to focus on the growing needs of the “party rental” industry.

While it was their first foray into entrepreneurship, Denis had been a banker by trade and could handle operations and finance. Peggy would find herself to be the driving force, with the natural flare for design, purchasing and well harvested hospitality skills needed to deal with event planners, designers and producers.

As the company scaled up, the children became more and more involved. Mike, Dave & John worked in the family business almost from the beginning, starting with summers and weekends. They learned the business from the ground up.

Denis and Peggy consistently challenged the old model of event rentals by sourcing new designs, seeking out new products and setting new standards for the industry. When Denis & Peggy retired in 2000, the second generation of the Higgins family took over the helm of the company.

Throughout their years of growth, the company has relocated several times in favour of larger premises. More warehouse space allowed for more shipments and made way for larger items like party tents; an area of expertise for which the company has become renowned.

The Higgins business is a mainstay in the Toronto Event Rental industry. While some of the large event rental businesses in Toronto are owned by private equity firms, this family business is here to stay.

It has grown to 2 locations, 3 warehouses, 10 five ton trucks and 75 staff in the summer-time peak. Inventory now boasts over 1,800 event products.

Want to join the Higgins team? Apply here!

Higgins continues to hire newcomers to Canada, students and are equal opportunity employers. They pride themselves on reducing their corporate footprint by being “Green” conscious, and are very conscientious about supporting the local economy. They also buy Canadian whenever possible.

Meet Our Team

Dave Higgins
Dave Higgins Owner
My official title is VP Finance & Administration although I wear several other “hats’ as well. I oversee the Oakville office, I organized a large food event for 4 years called Oakville Taste and help in several capacities at our Toronto office. I graduated from the University of Western Ontario many years ago ( in the horse and buggy era) , and I call Oakville home with my wife and 3 sons. My sons all play hockey and so do I – on the mighty Rink Rats on Tuesday nights- and we also have a back yard rink at home. I have been in the event business for over 25 years and still hard at work each day although I do love to travel to warm climates in March and a cottage in the summer. Feel free to contact me with any questions !
John Higgins
John HigginsOwner
I have spent the majority of my life surrounded by my family and the Event Rental industry. Being the youngest of 5 children, I could often be found in my younger years at a sports field or an arena, carving out my sports legacy. When my dreams of NHL stardom failed miserably, I completed my degree, joined the family business, and have been working to maintain and grow it ever since. I still enjoy every minute of operating and continually improving my family’s business! We have built such a fantastic team that it’s a real honour to be involved. I learned from my parents the Golden Rule: “treat others as you want to be treated” and this guides my actions every day.
In my personal life, I am so fortunate to enjoy the company of my beautiful wife, 2 talented teenaged daughters and my Golden Retriever, Bailey. I still enjoy sports, although at a more leisurely pace: running, golfing and behind the bench coaching girls’ hockey. Travel and food are also passions, with Eastern Europe on the itinerary for this summer.
Mike Higgins
Mike HigginsOwner - Retired
After 33 years of working hard to satisfy the needs and expectations of Higgins Event Rentals customers Mike has retired. He plans to spend more time his wife and 3 kids as much as possible at his cabin in the woods. While in the city, he will pursue his passion for photography, fishing and food..
Paul Visaya
Paul VisayaDirector of Operations & Quality
I have been with Higgins since 2002. I began back then as an order picker and quickly proved myself MVP on the Higgins team. I have always considered myself loyal and both a team player and team leader at the same time. I perform well under pressure, a trait any successful person in the rental business is familiar with, especially when juggling several tasks at once that the job requires.
As to my personal life, I am married to a beautiful lady, Mylene. She is my calm after the storm.
Things even my colleagues never knew about me….I play the piano and just learned to play the guitar recently. Fun fact: I don’t know how to pronounce the word “inventory”.
Scott Coomber
Scott CoomberDirector of Tent Sales & Operations
I have been installing tents for 16 years. What started as a part time job on weekends has morphed into a fun and challenging career. While Higgins may not be the biggest company, I like to think we’re the best. It’s our attention to detail that ensures clients will return year after year. I treat every job as the most important job. My crew have been with me for years, in fact, we have 60 years’ combined experience between the top four installers.
My wife and I have 2 children, aged 1 and 3 to keep us running day and night. Our Hamilton home is a work in progress where I love to spend my time tearing things down and putting them back up, a little straighter, newer and more organized. Our tent department, like my home renovations, aspire to be innovative and interesting yet practical.
Laura Dobie
Laura DobieDirector of Customer Service
With almost 14 years spent at Higgins Event Rentals, I think it’s safe to say that I like my job. I would describe myself as outgoing, loyal and passionate, which are characteristics that I think I personify daily at the office and at home. I strive to exceed expectations in all areas of my life, especially with my clients.
In my downtime, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, enjoying the outdoors or catching up with a glass of wine. You will occasionally catch me saying I am cashing it all in and moving to Mexico where I will live in a hut and sell cerveza on the beach……one day, maybe!
Andrew Zimbel
Andrew Zimbel Director of Sales & Marketing
In 1982 from a payphone (remember those?) in the basement of the Art Gallery of Ontario, I called a company called United Rent-All asking for rentals for the third catering job of my early career. Denis Higgins answered the phone and said “Don’t worry we’ll take care of you!”

For the next 30 years the Higgins family provided all the rental equipment I needed to create amazing events of every type. From a wedding in a back yard to a 200’ long salad that fed 13,000 people! Denis’ commitment to me all those years ago was fulfilled; Higgins Event Rentals had my back.

Now, after a long career as a caterer and event planner it’s my turn to support a younger generation of caterers in their quest to create great events. As a caterer, chef, venue manager, and event planner I bring a wealth of knowledge to our customers. You can ask me anything from “How to make great coffee in a coffee urn?” to “How do I serve all these people out of my tiny kitchen”. I will help you make your events Amazing!

As a bit of a techno geek, I love finding ways to make work easier. Whether it is by creating a time saving Excel spreadsheet, or finding a cool trick with the Google Form or creating a work around with catering software like Caterease, I use technology to help you sell more, do more, and have time for yourself.

When I’m not at work I love cooking for my family, friends! Cooking was my first passion. It was what got me into this business. My favorite cookbooks are Jacque Pepin’s La Method & Le Technique .

Shauna Murray
Shauna MurrayAccount Manager (Tent specialist)
I have been working in the hospitality industry for 25 years. I started by working part time in a cooking school, assisting in the kitchen, and I was hooked. I enjoyed it so much that I worked throughout the years with a number of caterers, many of whom are my clients now. I switched it up a little when I was referred to Higgins by one of my catering employers. I have been with Higgins for 11 years, first assisting my clients with rentals and now working closely with our tent department.

I love to cook and entertain in my spare time (what’s that?). I am married to a wonderful guy and have two great kids, a 20 year old daughter and 16 year old son, all whom I love dearly. They make all the hard work worthwhile.

Alicia-Nicole Fredericks
Alicia-Nicole FredericksAccount Manager (Celebration specialist)
I have been with Higgins since 2006, starting out part time in the warehouse. I have worked in the hospitality industry since I was 14, gaining experience from deli’s, hotels, restaurants, banquet halls and private golf courses. I have a diploma in hotel restaurant management and have taken courses in cake decorating, sales and marketing and various programs offered through the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

When I find a free moment, I enjoy drawing, painting and playing sports. My favorite place to unwind is up north on the lake with family, friends & my wonderful hubby. I am a HUGE fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs and I know that they will win the cup next year!

Michelle Nicol
Michelle NicolAccount Manager (Festival specialist)
I was welcomed into the Higgins family earlier this spring and have been in the rental industry for nearly 10 years, specializing in large scale tented events and street festivals. Knowing early on that I had a passion for events, I moved to Toronto from Thunder Bay after High school to attend Seneca College. After graduating with High Honours at the top of my class in both Visual Merchandising and Event Management; Event & Exhibit Design, I dove head first into the rental industry and haven’t looked back!

I believe that knowledge is power, and am always looking to grow as a professional through courses, accreditations and volunteer opportunities. I stay involved in the industry by sitting on various boards (Seneca College PAC, American Rental Association Events & Tents, former ISES VP of Programs, etc) and have earned My CERP designation (Certified Event Rental Professional) through the rental association.

Having just moved to the west end, I love relaxing in my new backyard with a fruity beverage, going on spontaneous journeys and spending time with my sweet dog, Willow. My friends would describe me as cheerful, organized and an eternal optimist.

I firmly believe in the quote “Be a Fruit Loop in a World Of Cheerios!”.

Frank Dupont
Frank Dupont Large Equipment Controller
I have worked at Higgins Event Rentals for 13 years or so, mostly in the back warehouse prepping the larger rental items and making sure the trucks are organized and loaded properly every day. I tend to be a positive and helpful person, which means most of my co-workers think of me as “the nice guy”, which is true – I am a nice guy! In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my 3 cats and Alicia, my fiancé. When I am not up north fishing or hiking with family and friends, I am playing hockey or watching a movie. And I will forever and always be cheering on my team, The Maple Leafs!
Wanda Chan
Wanda ChanAccount Manager
Originally from a small town in Quebec, I have grown up with hospitality in my family.
Summers of working at my parents’ restaurant from a young age helped me to understand
the time and effort It takes to make events happen and fostered an appreciation for great food.

My school interests focused on the sciences and psychology through college and university, completed with a BA. Moving to Toronto was part of the next phase when a new opportunity arose…catering …plus the events that sometimes come along with it. …the years passed. What a great time and a fun detour. Now I have the opportunity to work from a different side of the coin with Higgins and it’s just as interesting. And finally to round out the circle, I am also part of the accounting side, helping to finalizing billing and payments.

Simone Essar
Simone EssarAccounting
“I am a people person. I have spent 15 years of my adult life doing volunteer work in Honduras and Dominican Republic, very satisfying. Curiously, when I would come back to Canada to work for money, many years in catering I often worked with Higgins rentals, and in yet another job helped detail one of Higgins trucks. So, when this job became available I thought how great I already know about them! Even better, working with a family run company where the owner’s live by the Golden rule makes this the perfect fit. And I live in the neighborhood, so I can start and finish my day walking or biking which is a wonderful bonus, as I love being outside!”

Hai Mach
Hai MachLinen Specialist we call Mama Hai
I have been with the Higgins family for almost 30 years, and was one of the first employees hired by Denis Higgins. Most of my family is back home in Vietnam except for one brother. The Higgins family has been a big part of my family since I left home.
When I am not at work I enjoy watching Chinese movies. A big passion of mine is cooking authentic food.
One thing I do not like to do is shop! I call myself cheap because all I want to do is save.
Mohamed Omar
Mohamed OmarDelivery guy with the smile we call “Mo”
I began working for Higgins 17 years ago, in 1998. I was born and raised in Mogadishu, Somalia and moved to Canada, the same year I started working at Higgins. I brought my family here, hoping to find opportunities for work and to give my family a better life. I am married and have one son and one daughter who are now grown. I still travel back to Somalia every winter to visit family and escape the snow. I enjoy delivering rentals for Higgins and making the customers happy. When I am not working, I spend time with my family and cheer on the Montreal Canadians! Go Habs!
Brian Henneh
Brian HennehSupervisor Delivery (Team Leader)
I have worked with Higgins for over 17 years. I am originally from Accra, Ghana,
Africa. My wife & I have 3 children. Two girls & one boy who was just born this month.
We do not have any pets but I would like to get a poodle.
When I’m not at work, most of my spare time is spent playing with my kids when I am not playing ball.
I am a huge baseball fan whether it’s watching or playing. Exercise is a big part of my routine.
I also enjoy Anthony Bourdain culinary personality.
Dave Clark
Dave ClarkSupervisor Delivery (Dispatch)
I have worked at Higgins for 5 years.
I am from Moncton, New Brunswick. I am married with 2 daughters. 1 living here in Etobicoke & the other who we had a great time visiting in Australia this past year.
When I am not at work I like mountain biking. My favourite sports or hobbies are deep sea fishing and birding. I like to watch House of Cards.

Melissa Hombrebueno
Melissa HombrebuenoCustomer Service
In February of 2016 I was very fortunate to become part of the Higgins team. Everyone at Higgins has been so helpful and encouraging in showing me the ropes to the event industry, and I feel that I have grown so much since I joined the company.

During my spare time I like to play with my dog, Henry, and teach him tricks. We spend the warmer months outdoors as much as possible. On weekends he and I like to visit my mom to help her garden. When there is an interesting exhibit at the AGO or the ROM I make a point to visit and savour the experience.

Pralay Patel
Pralay PatelDriver
I have been with Higgins Event Rentals for 10 years now.
I am from Gujarat India. I am married with a son and a daughter.
I enjoy cricket in India and in my spare time like to hang out with my family.
Abdalla Haji
Abdalla HajiDriver-Tent Division
Andre Corby
Andre CorbySupervisor Tent Operations
I have been at Higgins for 2 years now. I was born & raised in Toronto.
I have a 5 year old Snake (Ball Python) named Daisy.
Basketball is my favourite sport. My team would be The San Antonio Spurs.
When I am not at work or watching basketball I am a big fan of sleep.
Andy OsaweDriver-Tent Division
Craig Langdon
Craig LangdonDriver-tent division
Delcarme Adrien
Delcarme AdrienOrder Picker
I have worked with the Higgins company for 19 years now.
I was born in Haiti. I am married with 3 kids. We do not have any pets.
My favourite sport is soccer and when I am not at work I enjoy relaxing.
Ngo Manh (Jenny)
Ngo Manh (Jenny)
I have been working at Higgins for almost 24 years.
I am from Vietnam. I have 2 children a boy and a girl who are all grown up now. We have a dog at home and enjoying going for strolls. When I have free time I like to be by the water on the beach.

Manny BaltazarInventory Controller
I have been working with Higgins Event Rentals for 4 Years.
I enjoy playing sports especially basketball, badminton and skating.
In my spare time I like to cook. My favorite foods to cook are Spanish ones called
adobo and afidada.
My wife works as an accounting assistant & in our spare time we like to spend time together.

Some of Our Happy Clients