As many of you are aware, Paul Oberman, a member of the Pug Awards advisory board, died tragically in a plane crash on March 7 2011, leaving behind his parents Mickey and Helen, brother Jeff, wife Eve Lewis, their six children, and as was evident at the funeral, hundreds of friends and admiring colleagues.
Paul was a loving family man, a gifted community leader, a successful and talented real estate developer, and a friend and generous supporter of the Pug Awards and Design Exchange. Those who knew Paul well would agree that he possessed a rare ability to dream and to then to follow through on his grand vision with painstaking detail and precise execution. A perfectionist by nature, a man of impeccable taste and refined sensibility, Paul’s qualities were instilled into the very buildings he brought back to life.
When we indulge ourselves in the fine foods and spirits at the exquisitely renovated shops at Scrivener’s Square or relive our past when observing the beautifully restored Gooderman Flatiron Building or simply promenade along King Street East at St. James Place, it is Paul’s work, his artful touch, his “joie de vivre” that speaks to us, soothes our eyes and calmly reassures us as we go along our way.
In Paul’s passing, we have lost arguably Toronto’s most distinguished heritage developer, a real estate connoisseur who understood how to create a sense of place, to sensitively connect the past and future, and to add vibrancy and character to our communities.
As a tribute to Paul’s lifetime achievement in real estate development, which was sadly cut short, in memory of his contribution to Toronto’s heritage legacy and built environment, and out of admiration for his civic leadership, the Pug Awards has created a new people’s choice award called the Paul Oberman Award for excellence in adaptive re-use and heritage restoration.
This evening, we will be presenting the Paul Oberman Award for the first time in both the residential and commercial / institutional categories and I would now like to invite Eve Lewis to join me in making the presentation to the winners.
Speech by Gary Berman