ALVIN C. SEGAL, O.C., O.Q., PhD (HC) z"l

September 19, 1933 – November 4, 2022

It is with immeasurable sadness and grief that we announce the passing of our centre’s namesake Mr. Alvin C. Segal, O.C., O.Q., PhD (HC) on November 4, 2022.

Visionary leader, pillar of the community, and generous philanthropist are but a few ways to describe this incredible man who came from humble beginnings to become one of Canada’s preeminent figures, as both a self-made businessman and as a supporter of important charitable causes.

He started on the factory floor at Peerless Clothing Inc in 1951, the largest supplier of men’s fine tailored clothing in North America. He quickly rose through the ranks to become one of the industry’s most technically knowledgeable individuals in the production of men’s fine tailored clothing as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company. He donated his first Peerless paycheck to Federation CJA, starting his lifelong dedication to philanthropy.

“When I first started working, I was told it was customary to give one week of your yearly salary to charity. I did, and I haven’t looked back since. Giving has given me back so much more.” Alvin C. Segal, O.C., O.Q., PhD (HC)

The Alvin Segal Family Foundation was established in 1994 and has reflected his commitment to bettering the world around him. In addition to our own organization, his many beneficiaries include McGill Jewish Studies Teacher Training Program, the Fraser Institute, the Jewish Public Library, Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv, Atidim and Ben Gurion University, Federation CJA, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, Montréal Symphony Orchestra, Opéra de Montréal, Centraide, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem along with other non-profit institutions. He is also remembered for his unwavering support of the Montreal Jewish General Hospital, playing a key role in establishing the Segal Cancer Centre for Treatment and Research in 2006. He also established the Segal McGill Chair in Molecular Oncology in 2010.

In 2007, the Saidye was reborn as the Segal Centre for Performing Arts. Under his stewardship as Chairman of the Board, the Centre that bears his name has thrived and become a leading player in the development of Canadian theatre. Simply put, we would not be here without him.

Alvin represented all that ‘theatre magic’ truly is: a community united through art, culture, and creativity. Nothing brought him more joy than the Dora Wasserman Yiddish Theatre. He would show up with Danish pastries and pizza in hand for our volunteers, and took pride in the personal recordings of the productions. He created a legacy of generosity and thankfulness that lives on throughout the Segal Centre. He loved musicals most of all, his favourite being Fiddler on the Roof, and we’ll forever think of him whenever we hear those timeless songs.

“Art brings people together and is a positive force in society. My passion is to make this a cultural centre like you’ve never seen in Montreal.” Alvin C. Segal, O.C., O.Q., PhD (HC)

Mr. Segal has received nearly every commendation that an individual could be given in this country. For his business acumen, his contributions to arts and health care sectors, as well as his dedication to education and social services, he was named to the Order of Canada in 2002, was promoted to Officer of the Order of Canada in 2010, and in 2011 was named an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. He was inducted into the Academy of Great Montrealers in the Economic category in 2014 and was named a Commander of the Ordre de Montréal in 2016.

Alvin knew that if the Segal Centre was built on kindness, nourished with love, and treated with patience, it would blossom into the successful organization that it is today. He encouraged those around him to take risks, epitomizing the phrase, “If you build it, they will come.” He exemplified that through the outpouring of resources from the Alvin Segal Family Foundation to ensure the Segal would thrive and stand on its own, building the Segal Centre Endowment and supporting our operations. With his unwavering faith behind us, we will continue Alvin’s legacy. We are privileged and inspired by his family’s continued commitment to the community and the Segal Centre.

"Alvin was a visionary both as entrepreneur and as a pillar of the Jewish community in Montreal. Nothing made him happier than seeing his beloved Segal Centre thrive. He will be missed but we are so grateful that a part of his legacy will live on through our work at the Segal Centre," says Artistic and Executive Director Lisa Rubin.

“Together with the Board of Directors, we mourn the passing of a visionary who personified the importance of philanthropy for the arts, in paving the way for the timely art institution that the Segal Centre is today. We are honoured to carry on his work and legacy,” says President of the Board of Directors Sylvi Plante.

We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife Emmelle, his children Joel, Barbara, and Renee, and to the entire family for their monumental loss. We know his memory is a blessing that everyone who had the honour of meeting him will hold dear. Baruch Dayan Ha’emet