MONTREAL, Nov. 16, 2011 /CNW Telbec/ - The Board of Trade of
Metropolitan Montreal is proud to pay tribute two four luminaries who
will be inducted into the Academy of Great Montrealers during a
reception held in their honour.
"The Academy of Great Montrealers is more than an institution," said
Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan
Montreal. "It recognizes people who are pillars of the economic,
cultural, scientific and social sectors whom we are indebted to for
making Montréal the special city that it is. These men and women define
our society with their vision and are a source of inspiration for those
This year, the Academy has chosen to recognize, in the economic sector,
Aldo Bensadoun, Founder and Executive Chairman of the ALDO Group, a
well-known and internationally recognized innovator and businessman. In
the cultural sector, the outstanding contribution of Frédéric Back,
Animation Director and talented artist of international acclaim, is
being honoured. Pierre Fortin, Emeritus Professor in Economics at UQAM
and one of the most well-known and influential economists in Quebec, is
being honoured in the scientific sector. Finally, Sid Stevens,
Executive Vice-President of Sun Youth, is honoured in the social sector
for having dedicated his life to the well-being of youth and social
"The greats of this world are those whose accomplishments stretch beyond
their field of expertise," Michel Leblanc said. "This is the case for
Mr. Bensadoun, Mr. Back, Mr. Fortin and Mr. Stevens, who have put their
talent at the service of our city's development and reputation.
Since 1978, 118 luminaries have been honoured, including this year's
honourees, and together they form the Academy of Great Montrealers. The
recipients' biographical notes are attached.
The 2011 Tribute to Great Montrealers reception is made possible through the support of Hydro-Québec, in
cooperation with Le Devoir and The Gazette.
The Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal has some 7,000 members. Its
primary mission is to represent the interests of the business community
of Greater Montréal and to provide individuals, merchants, and
businesses of all sizes with a variety of specialized services to help
them achieve their full potential in terms of innovation, productivity
and competitiveness. The Board of Trade is Quebec's leading private
economic development organization.
Founder and Executive Chairman
A man of influence in the Montréal business world, Aldo Bensadoun is
executive chairman of ALDO Group Inc., which he founded in 1972. Based
in Montréal, ALDO Group is a private company that is internationally
recognized as a leader in retail.
The son of a shoe merchant and grandson of a shoemaker, Aldo Bensadoun
studied at the primary and secondary levels in France and at Cornell
University in Ithaca, New York. He also received a degree in economics
from Montréal's McGill University. He then got involved in commercial
research, which led him to complete a project for a local shoe
retailer. His knowledge of the shoe market, his passion for creativity
and his innovative spirit prompted him to found his own business.
Today the ALDO Group has over 1,000 stores in Canada, the United States,
the United Kingdom, Denmark and Ireland. It is represented by six
banners: ALDO, ALDO Accessories, Locale, Little Burgundy, Spring and
Globo, and has a presence in 60 other countries where it operates more
than 500 stores.
Mr. Bensadoun is actively involved in the day-to-day operations of his
company and continues to lead the ALDO Group's strategic growth.
Convinced that an organization's development is a function of the
professional development of its human resources, he has made his
employees a priority and established himself as an industry leader by
offering innovative recognition programs.
Aldo Bensadoun also applies this philosophy to his customers. He
believes that prosperous, successful businesses are those that stay
centred on their values and that offer products and services that
deliver a sense of well-being. This perspective has allowed the ALDO
Group to stay one step ahead of both trends and the needs of consumers,
and is what has made its popularity.
In addition to his role on industry associations such as the Retail
Council of Canada, the International Council of Shopping Centers and
the National Retail Federation in the U.S., Mr. Bensadoun is a member
of the board of directors of Aritzia, a Canadian name in fashion that
is growing in popularity abroad and among celebrities.
A major philanthropist, Mr. Bensadoun has made social responsibility a
pillar of his company. Whether in education, social services, medicine
or the arts, giving back to the community has always been second nature
to him. He often takes part in fundraising activities and gets involved
in many community and international causes.
A forerunner even in the choice of causes it takes up, the ALDO Group
was one of the first companies to help fight AIDS in 1985, when the
disease was still taboo. Today, it also supports Hope & Cope, a
Montréal non-profit organization that offers a psychosocial approach to
the treatment of cancer.
In 2011, Mr. Bensadoun was inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of
Acclaimed around the world, the works of Frédéric Back never fail to
impress. They have stirred and continue to stir the imaginations of
young and old alike.
Born in Germany to Alsatian parents, Frédéric Back moved to Montréal in
1948 and began his career as a teacher at the École du meuble de Montréal and the École des beaux-arts de Montréal. In 1952, he began working for Radio-Canada as an illustrator and set,
model and visual effects designer for a number of educational, cultural
and science shows. During these years, he worked for a wide range of
shows and produced animated sequences for the ballet The Firebird, broadcast as part of Beaux Dimanches on Radio-Canada in 1979. This work earned him a Golden Prague and an
Emmy Award in 1980.
Produced in 1970, his first animation film, Abracadabra, was presented to the European Broadcasting Union in Copenhagen and was
then bought by television networks in nine countries. This initial
success was followed by eight other films written and animated by Back.
He was nominated four times for an Academy Award and twice won the Best
Animated Film award, first for Crac! in 1982 and then for The Man Who Planted Trees in 1987. The latter film also won more than 40 awards at film festivals
around the world.
Many people can admire his work and draw inspiration from it in everyday
life. Frédéric Back, known primarily for his film work, is also a
stained glass artist, muralist, interior designer and poster designer.
In the 1960s, he created a number of stained glass windows for churches
and public places, including for the Place-des-Arts metro station in
In addition to being a very talented artist, Frédéric Back has put his
body of work at the service of causes he cares about, becoming a
pioneer of the environmental movement. A founding member of the Society
to Overcome Pollution and the Société québécoise pour la défense des animaux, as well as a member of a good number of organizations dedicated to
protecting the environment, he is a regular contributor at schools on
the topic of animation and the environment. He also illustrates books
and posters and continues to plant trees.
His involvement in environmental causes earned Frédéric Back a number of
honours. In 2005, he received an honorary Physis for his
awareness-raising activities. He was inducted in the Cercle des Phénix de l'environnement in 2007, and as a member of the organization Les artistes pour la paix, in 2010 he received an award that paid tribute to his social
involvement and his fight against nuclear weapons.
Frédéric Back is a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec, an Officer of the Order of Canada and an Officer of France's Ordre des arts et des lettres.
Emeritus Professor in Economics
École des sciences de la gestion, UQAM
Pierre Fortin is one of the most well-known economists in Quebec,
equally in academic, political and media circles and with the public in
general. An accomplished professor and researcher, he is a man of
conviction who uses his knowledge and talents to enhance the well-being
of the public.
Emeritus professor in economics at the Université du Québec à Montréal
(UQAM), Dr. Fortin holds a doctorate in economics from the University
of California at Berkeley, a master's in mathematics from the
Université de Montréal, a bachelor's degree in mathematics from
Université Laval and a bachelor of arts in classical humanities from
the Collège des Jésuites de Québec.
The recipient of the Governor General's Gold Medal, he is the author of
around a dozen books and some 200 articles that have appeared in
scientific journals and texts in Canada and abroad. His main fields of
research include economic growth, monetary and budgetary policy, social
policy and the economies of Canada and Quebec.
Dr. Fortin is interested in practical applications of his research and
is the author or co-author of some 40 studies and reports for public
and private organizations in Canada, as well as having led a number of
government task forces. During the 1980s, he was a member of the
Economic Advisory Panel of the Minister of Finance of Canada and chief
economic advisor to the Premier of Quebec. More recently, he was part
of the Advisory Committee on Economy and Public Finance to the Minister
of Finance of Quebec (2009-2010).
Very much involved in the community, Dr. Fortin is a fellow of the Royal
Society of Canada, associate researcher at the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur les politiques économiques et
l'emploi (CIRPÉE) and the C.D. Howe Institute, a researcher affiliated with
Analysis Group and a director of the Canadian Institute for Advanced
Research (CIAR) and the Centre for the Study of Living Standards. He
was associate editor of the Canadian Journal of Economics, director of L'Actualité économique and president of the Société canadienne-française de science économique (SCSE) and the Canadian Economics Association (CEA). He was also a
member of the social trends committee of the Assemblée des évêques du Québec from 1990 to 2005.
Skilled at conveying difficult concepts to laypeople, Mr. Fortin has
often helped explain economic phenomena in the media. His column on the
economy published for the past ten years in the magazine L'actualité earned him Gold at the National Magazine Awards in 2004 and 2008 as the
author of "the best regular column in a Canadian magazine," as well as
the Grand Prix of the Association québécoise des éditeurs de magazines ("editorial: analysis, opinion, essay" category) in 2009 and 2010.
His talents as an educator are much appreciated by his students. Dr.
Fortin's door is always open, and he has taught both introductory
courses and graduate-level courses, supervising the work of students at
the master's and doctoral level. UQAM's management alumni association,
the Association des diplômés en gestion, awarded him its Performance award in 2002, recognizing his excellence
Dr. Fortin's work, involvement and contribution have been recognized
many times over. In 1995, the Association des économistes québécois (ASDEQ) named him the most renowned Quebec economist of the past
decade. In 1997, he received the Douglas-Purvis Memorial Prize for his
outstanding contribution to Canadian political economy. In 2003, the
Quebec branch of Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, the Manufacturiers et exportateurs du Québec, honoured him for his outstanding contribution to the advance of the
manufacturing and export sector.
Dr. Fortin's involvement in teaching, research and service to the
community has inspired an entire generation of decision-makers, who
count him as one of their role models.
Sun Youth Organization
Sid Stevens' dedication to the youth of Montréal is well known.
Throughout his career, he has devoted himself to the community through
Sun Youth. He has used his expertise, energy and time to help solve
young people's problems by driving home the point that those who suffer
from social inequities have the right to a better outlook for the
Born in Montréal in 1940 to a family that lived in an area bordering the
Main, Mr. Stevens grew up in a world where community mattered. This
upbringing gave him an understanding of the difficulties faced in city
centres and helped him find practical solutions to them.
In 1954, while Sid Stevens was a teenager, he cofounded a sports and
recreation organization for youth with his friend Earl De La Perralle,
which would become Sun Youth. Today Mr. Stevens is executive
vice-president of what was once that small neighbourhood organization,
which now touches the lives of almost 300,000 Montrealers. Sun Youth
offers food and clothing banks, emergency services, recreational
facilities, youth summer camps and more.
Elected to the Montréal city council in 1978, Mr. Stevens quickly
asserted his manner of addressing problems. He has earned respect and
admiration for his community initiatives in crime prevention.
Montrealers are indebted to him for the Crime Stoppers program,
Montréal's plan for victims of fires, the Plan de sécurité-incendie de Montréal, an intervention plan for families in need in the event of local
disasters, an assistance project for seniors who are losing their
autonomy, a special unit that helps victims of violence or crime and a
summer camp for disadvantaged youth.
Mr. Stevens believes that community life helps create a healthy
environment for youth and that everyone can help improve their
environment, so he promotes community involvement in recreational
sports. He has replaced arena guards with volunteers to reduce
operating costs, thereby helping to improve security standards in
arenas, parks and community centres.
Mr. Stevens has received many honours for his involvement in the
community, his compassion and his leadership. In 1986, he received the
Dawson College award for his outstanding contribution to public life.
In 1989, the Department of Multiculturalism and Citizenship awarded him
a citizen's commendation.
In 1992, he was honoured by Concordia University's Faculty of Commerce
and Administration for his professional accomplishments and outstanding
service to the community, by the Association des médecins psychiatres du Québec for his social commitment, and by the Conseil du citoyen de Montréal for his generosity to the community and his contribution to the
well-being of his fellow citizens and humanity in general.
In 1995, he was a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year. In 2002, McGill
University awarded him an honorary doctor of laws. Finally, in 2009,
the Jewish Eldercare Centre Auxiliary honoured him for his outstanding
contribution to the community at its fall gala.
As he considers retiring "sooner or later," Mr. Stevens can look back
over more than a half century of service to the community. Millions of
past and future Montrealers owe him a great deal.
SOURCE BOARD OF TRADE OF METROPOLITAN MONTREAL
For further information:
Interim Advisor, Media Relations
Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Phone: 514 871-4000, extension 4015