Shalom Life | October 17, 2015

Joe Rotman, Toronto Businessman, Philanthropist, and Icon, Dead at 80

"He was one of those rare leaders who dedicated much of his time, business acumen and personal wealth toward a wide range of philanthropic endeavours"

By: Daniel Koren

Published: January 27th, 2015 in News » World

Photo: Joseph Rotman

Credit: Tibor Kolley / The Globe and Mail


Toronto's Jewish community lost one of its greatest and most influential leaders Tuesday, after both Western University and Toronto mayor John Tory confirmed the death of Canadian businessman and philanthropist Joseph Rotman.

He was 80 years old.

"Mr. Rotman stood among a small group of great Canadians who contributed in many extraordinary ways to the betterment of our country," said Western's president and vice-chancellor, Amit Chakma.

Rotman was a chancellor at Western, and also had a school named after him there: the Rotman Institute of Philosophy at Western University. The Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto is also named for him.

"He was one of those rare leaders who dedicated much of his time, business acumen and personal wealth toward a wide range of philanthropic endeavours that had transformative effects on the arts, health-care and higher education in Canada," Chakma added.

Tory, via Twitter, sent his condolences to Rotman's family, and the entire city of Toronto, just hours after he commemorated the victims of the Shoah in honour of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.


Born in Toronto on Jan. 6th, 1935, Rotman will forever be remembered for his business acumen, successfully founding many companies in oil and gas, real estate and venture capital, including the Clairvest Group Inc. (a private equity management firm).

He was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame in May 2009

Equally important, he will also be remembered for his generosity, philanthropy, and undisputed impact on Toronto and its Jewish community. As a philanthropist, Rotman dedicated much of his time and efforts into Toronto's arts community, not to mention the education and healthcare sectors.

At the time of his death, Rotman was the chair of the Canada Council for the Arts.

Rotman was a giant in Toronto's Jewish community, and he will be sorely missed, as a philanthropist and businessman, but also, as a friend, a leader, and a Canadian icon.

Our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.

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