Heritage Toronto


Award to be presented posthumously to Paul Oberman

Heritage Toronto is pleased to announce the 2011 Heritage Toronto Special Achievement Award Recipient, which will be presented Tuesday, October 4th at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s Koerner Hall. The Award will be given to the late Paul Oberman, a developer and friend to the heritage community who had a passion for restoring and managing heritage properties.

Mr. Oberman was active in Canada’s real estate industry for almost three decades. A visionary with a passion for architecture, urban design and business, he owned and operated Equifund Corporation from 1983 to 1996, and subsequently was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Woodcliffe Landmark Properties until his passing in March of 2011. Under his direction and commitment, these companies became recognized as industry leaders in the areas of architectural merit and heritage preservation.

Paul Oberman believed that neighbourhoods thrive when architectural heritage is preserved and re-purposed as a backdrop for healthy community interaction. Heritage properties, he advocated, could be developed in harmony with cutting edge modern design to yield financial prosperity while contributing to the vibrancy of the city. This led him to focus on the adaptive reuse of many historically significant buildings, repurposing these structures and incorporating them into the fabric of 21st century Toronto.

His many successful projects include the North Toronto Station, King James Place, and most recently the Shops of Summerhill and the ongoing redevelopment on Market Street. Mr. Oberman also acquired the Gooderham Flatiron Building in 2005 and, through his passion and expertise, this iconic landmark building has been preserved for generations to enjoy.

His projects have been widely published and have received numerous awards, including Canada’s highest architectural honour, the Governor General’s Award for Architecture, and recognition by Heritage Canada for outstanding stewardship of Canada’s architectural heritage.

Mr. Oberman was also a generous supporter of many heritage organizations and a vocal supporter and ally when heritage buildings were threatened. He attempted to save the Downsview Hangars, which were demolished in 2010, and continued to work closely with the heritage community to help preserve our architectural record.

“Thank you, Heritage Toronto, for recognizing the lifetime of contributions that Paul made to Toronto through his dedication to heritage preservation and community building. It is an honour for me and our family to receive this award on Paul’s behalf,” says Eve Lewis, Mr. Oberman’s wife and President and CEO of Woodcliffe.

The 2011 Heritage Toronto Awards celebrate outstanding contributions – by professionals and volunteers – in the promotion and conservation of Toronto’s history and heritage landmarks. Nominations for the full list of Awards will be announced on September 22nd.

The Special Achievement Award will be presented in conjunction with the William Kilbourn Memorial Lecture and Awards. Cameron Bailey, Co-Director of the Toronto International Film Festival (©TIFF) will deliver this year’s Lecture, “Toronto in Focus: A City of Festivals”. The Lecture will discuss how the “Festival of Festivals” – the Toronto International Film Festival – has paved the way for a cultural boom of film and other festivals in this city over the past 30 years.

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