Blake Goldring joins Circle of Honour


TORONTO – Community leaders, dignitaries and politicians gathered at the Fort York Armoury last week as Blake Goldring, chairman and CEO, AGF Management, received B’nai Brith Canada’s Award of Merit, thereby becoming the latest to join the organization’s Circle of Honour.

Goldring was given the human rights organization’s highest honour in recognition of his outstanding personal and professional contributions to society, and in particular, the work he has done as founder and chairman of Canada Company.

The significance of the lighting of the B’nai Brith menorah at the beginning of the event was explained by Ruth Klein, national director, B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights and Institute for International Affairs, and David Colodny, member, B’nai Brith Canada board of governors.

“We light the candles of the traditional B’nai Brith menorah tonight,” said Klein, “to highlight the foundational principles on which our organization is based and to honour the people who personify these principles by their actions as well as by their words.”

The first candle was lit by Chief of Land Staff Lieutenant Peter J. Devlin in recognition of the sacrifices made by members of the Canadian Armed Forces as they fight against terrorism and oppression overseas.

Staunch ally of Israel and the Jewish people, Dr. Charles McVety, president of Canada Christian College, lit the second candle as an expression of hope that Israel will have true peace and security.

The work of Canada’s law enforcement agencies at home was commended as Toronto Police Chief William Blair and Superintendent of York Regional Police Paul Pederson lit the third candle.

Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman were invited to light the fourth candle as a tribute to their dedication to the well being of senior citizens through B’nai Brith’s Dr. Max and Gianna Glassman Senior’s Outreach Program.

Past Award of Merit honourees, John Klemke of Edmonton and Paul Godfrey of Toronto, lit the fifth candle to honour all philanthropists at the gala.

The sixth candle, dedicated to the leaders of the future, was lit by two young men known for their commitment to community activism, Aaron Rosenberg of B’nai Brith on Campus and Paul Cooper, chair of public affairs for B’nai Brith.

Blake Goldring’s mother lit the seventh candle which represented the value of a family commitment to leadership that is handed down from generation to generation.

As he presented the 2011 Award of Merit, B’nai Brith Canada President Eric Bissell told Blake Goldring, “I am truly humbled to be able to present this award to you. You are a most deserving individual.”

Dr. Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada, co-presented the award.

Bissell read the inscription which said, in part, “B’nai Brith Canada is proud to recognize the outstanding personal and professional contributions that you have made to your community, your province and your country. These qualities are an inspiration to all of us who strive to advance social, cultural and economic well-being of Canadian society. Your vision, creativity and dedication embody the qualities that B’nai Brith emulates in carrying out its fundamental precept of People Helping People.”

The 700 guests enjoyed a gala evening at the historic armoury and included videos about Goldring’s life and work, as well as about B’nai Brith Canada.

The venue was apropos of the commitment, shared by Goldring and B’nai Brith, to helping members of Canada’s military. In his acceptance speech, Goldring, the first-ever Honourary Colonel of the Canadian Army, paid tribute to the members of the military who were present and spoke about a group of 554 young soldiers who had gathered at the armoury in 1942. The soldiers were shipped to England for additional training, then sent into battle, and most of them died or were captured at Dieppe.

“It’s particularly poignant that we can celebrate freedom here tonight in this hall with these young people,” said Goldring. “We Canadians are such a fortunate people. We live in a country that is filled with natural resources, natural gas, oil, water, even gold. But perhaps one of the greatest features about Canada – that we don’t talk about enough – is our freedom, our liberty.”

Master of Ceremony duties were shared by Michael Mostyn, former director of public affairs for B’nai Brith Canada, and Amanda Lang, host of CBC-TV’s The Lang and O’Leary Exchange. Music was performed by the Band of The Royal Regiment of Canada under the musical direction of Captain William A. Mighton, CD.

Dr. Aubrey Zidenberg, chair of the League for Human Right’s Special Advisory Board, introduced the keynote speaker, Julian Fantino, associate minister of national defence.
Lt. Devlin paid tribute to Goldring.

James Pasternak, Toronto City Councillor for Ward 10, brought congratulations on behalf of Mayor Rob Ford.

Henry Schnurbach, treasurer, B’nai Brith Canada, presented a special award to Bill Morneau, executive chairman of Morneau Shepell, and Award of Merit Dinner co-chair.
Rochelle Wilner, past national president, B’nai Brith Canada, spoke about Operation Thank You.

B’nai Brith Board Member Dr. Leon Genesove led a toast to Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and past national president Joe Bogoroch led a toast to Israel, its President Shimon Peres and its Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Canadian Forces Chaplain Rabbi Captain Lazer Danziger gave the invocation. Canadian philanthropist and humanitarian, and Honourary Chair of the B’nai Brith Foundation, Leslie Dan, said the motzi.

Seated at the head table were: 2011 Award of Merit Recipient Blake Goldring and his wife Belinda (their three daughters and Mrs. Goldring were seated at another table); Lt. General Devlin and his wife Judy; Dan and his wife Anna; Morneau and his wife Lynn McCain; Senior Managing Partner of Torquest Partners, and Dinner Co-chair, Brent Belzberg and his wife Lynn; Bill Sobel, a good friend of Goldring’s who travelled from Beverley Hills; Julian Fantino; Frank Dimant and his wife Florence; and Eric Bissell and his wife Naomi.

Notable attendees included representatives from the embassies and consulates of Austria, Greece, Italy, Spain, Israel, Canada, the Russian Federation and the Republics of Turkey, Hungary and  Bulgaria.

Canadian politicians in attendance were: Senators Art Eggleton and Don Meredith;

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