So Dan, where in Canada are you?
(Your question reminds me a bit of one of the college exam questions. You know the ones such as, "What do these all have in common?; bread, fish, cows and mosquitos" You can eat all of them except the mosquitoes which lack much nutritional value or perhaps they are all animals except the bread.)
So Dan, the answer is ''where in Canada are you?''
OK,seriously, I''ve owned a Hughes, C&C, Mirage, and a Grampian at one time in my life or another. (That fact scared even me.) I have spent too much time sailing Tanzers to be really healthy and I am wondering if you mean the English Challengers or the Challenger dinghies.
Anyway each of these companies have each produced a wide range of products. Take C&C they produced a really neat 40 and 41 footer and the termainally strange boat called the Mega.
Or take Grampian. Grampian built a nice 31 footer called the Classic 31 and a neat C&C designed 22 footer and they also built the some really junky boats in the late 1960''s and early 1970''s.
Mirage built a really neat line of race boats designed by Bruce Kirby and a mixed collection of cruising boats.
Hughes built a nice line of Sparkman and Stevens designed boats and some really wierd Columbia recycled designs.
Each of the companies, with the posible exception of Grampian, have built boats that are would serve as good boats to learn to sail on. They have also built boats that were not ideal for a beginner. The Tanzer 22, the C&C 24 and 25, The Mirage 24 and 25 (not the Kirby), and the Hughes Northstar 500 are all good boat for a beginner sailor.