Today marks the passing of a true Canadian icon. Peter Munk 1927 – 2018, nine meaningful decades of a life well lived. Little did I know at the time that the beautiful wooden cabinet Clairtone Hi Fidelity record player that sat in our living room as I was growing up was the product of Peter Munk’s first serious endeavour with his partner David Gilmour.
After the devastating loss of Clairtone in 1967 came the unprecedented success of Barrick Gold in 1983. And with that fortune, Munk began to give back. From the Peter and Melanie Munk Cardiac Centre to his School of Global Affairs at University of Toronto to his million dollar donation to the families who lost everything in the Fort McMurray fires, Peter Munk gave back to his chosen country.
Most selfishly for me, Peter Munk saved my life. Through his generous funding of cardiac research and training, the skilled team at Toronto General Hospital University Health Network brought me back to life, and continue to keep my big, fast paced heart in good health. I promise to earn it.
Peter Newman , in his book Titans, is quoted as saying that Munk, a refugee who lost everything to Nazi persecution in Europe, was driven by “restitution, redemption, revenge.” Restitution: restoring hope for those suffering from war, disaster and illness; Redemption: bringing balance to the dark and light forces in our lives; Revenge: holding the monsters to account.
Much like the mythical Count of Monte Cristo, Peter Munk escaped from the dungeons of war ravaged Europe to rise to a position of fame and fortune and use that fortune for good – with the greatest gifts, he said, to come after his death.
Well, Mr. Munk, I never met you, but my heart beats now because of your philanthropy. And by some fateful coincidence those three R’s of yours are the three forces that have driven my journalism since my recovery. Thank you.
Skid Crease, Caledon
*image from mcleans.ca