The Canadian real estate industry lost a titan last week with the passing of Murray Menkes, Chairman of the Board and founder of Menkes Developments Ltd. Mr. Menkes died on April 24, three days after celebrating his 87th birthday, and is survived by Pauline, his wife of 63 years, three sons, 11 grandchildren and his youngest sister.
Mr. Menkes formed his company in 1954. Initially established as a builder of single family homes, the company quickly branched out into other areas of real estate, including rental apartments, condominiums, retail plazas, industrial parks and office properties.
Under Mr. Menkes’ leadership and guided by his unwavering commitment to premium locations and quality design, Menkes has become one of the largest private real estate developers in Canada. To date, the company has over 20 million square feet of office and industrial space to its credit, as well as more than 15,000 homes and condominiums, primarily within the GTA. In particular, the company has long been associated with the Yonge Street area in North York. Mr. Menkes was the first developer to recognize the potential of this area and was instrumental in the creation of North York City Centre as a vibrant, mixed-use community, through the development of numerous office, retail and condominium buildings.
Today, Menkes is a fully integrated, multi-disciplinary real estate company involved in the construction, ownership and management of office, industrial, retail and residential projects. The company continues to be owned and operated by the Menkes family, including Mr. Menkes and his sons Alan, Steven and Peter. Notable past commercial projects include the Beaver Creek Business Park, 5000 Yonge Street, the Procter & Gamble Building and Empress Walk. Current projects under development include the Telus head office at 25 York Street in downtown Toronto and the new Four Seasons Hotel & Private Residences Toronto in Yorkville.
Philanthropy has always been a part of Mr. Menkes’ life. The Menkes name has been attached to many charitable and community organizations, including North York General Hospital, Baycrest Centre, Mount Sinai Hospital and the University Health Network. He is a long-time supporter of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and was a founding contributor to the capital campaign for the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. He has also supported organizations in Israel, including Technion University, the Weizman Institute for Science and the Israel Museum.