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Jack Rabinovitch (BBHS ’48)

Born: 1930,  Montreal, Quebec

Jack Rabinovitch graduated from McGill University in 1952 with a B.A. in Honours English.

His early experience was as a cub reporter, speechwriter, food retailing and distribution executive and subsequently as an independent builder and real estate developer.

Jack joined Trizec Corporation in 1972 as a project manager and was then appointed Executive Vice-President in 1986, responsible for the profitability and strategic planning of the Eastern North American region. In the next seven years, he was responsible for the planning, development, construction, leasing and financing of 6 million square feet of commercial, retail and hotel space. In addition, he developed many joint ventures with major Fortune 500 companies like Xerox, General Motors, Hilton International and Sheraton Corporation. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Edper Group of companies.

He resigned his corporate duties in 1993 when his wife was stricken with cancer.

Jack joined the Board of the Princess Margaret Hospital in late 1986 and began the significant task of planning, developing and constructing the new Princess Margaret Hospital on University Avenue in Toronto. The new hospital was completed in 1993 – on time and under budget – a first in the province of Ontario. Today, the new Princess Margaret Hospital is the most complete and comprehensive cancer care centre in Canada. Jack is currently on the Board of the Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation. He is also on the Board of the MaRS (Medical and Related Science) Project.

Jack founded The Giller Prize in 1994 to honour the memory of his late wife Doris Giller, an outstanding literary journalist who died of cancer in April 1993. He was assisted by several friends – most notably the late Mordecai Richler, author Alice Munro, and academic David Staines – in building the Prize’s creative template.

In 2005, The Giller Prize teamed up with Scotiabank to create the Scotiabank Giller Prize. It is the first ever co-sponsorship for Canada’s richest literary award for fiction. Under the new agreement, the purse doubled growing to $50,000 with $40,000 going to the winner, and $2,500 being given to each of the four finalists. In 2008, the purse increased again, providing the winning author with $50,000 and each finalist with $5,000.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize is dedicated to celebrating the best in Canadian fiction each year, and to enhancing marketing efforts in bringing these books to the attention of all Canadians. Jack is currently the President of Nodel Investments Ltd., a real estate/venture capital firm. Jack has been honoured with several awards for his contributions to Canada’s literary and civic landscape.

  • Canadian Booksellers Association Lifetime Achievement Award – 2013
  • Officer of the Order of Canada – 2009
  • Honorary Doctorate LLD, Wilfred Laurier University – 2007
  • Honorary Doctorate LLD, McGill University – 2005
  • Honorary Doctorate LLD, University of Toronto – 2002
  • The Order of Canada – 2000
  • Maclean’s Magazine ‘Man of the Year’ – 1999
  • The Order of Ontario – 1997

Jack has lived in Toronto since 1986. He has three daughters – Noni, Daphna and Elana – and three grandchildren – Jacob, Saffi and Luca.