An unprecedented 13 nominations were received by the Citizens Hall of Fame Selection Committee supporting the nomination of Harold Buchwald as a deserving inductee into Winnipeg’s Citizens Hall of Fame.
Principal nominator Jim Carr said in his submission:
“Whoever was in charge of matchmaking had a hot day when Harold Buchwald was born in Winnipeg, February 22, 1928. The love affair between the man and city lasted 80 years, abruptly ending last week when Harold died suddenly. Bucky was everywhere and so was his influence on the city, province, nation and beyond. You would see him at a breakfast meeting, lunch or dinner, sometimes at all three. He would be at the ballet, opera, symphony, and theatre. He was truly the ubiquitous man.”
Even in his retirement years, Buchwald never strayed far from home. His commitment and devotion was where his family and wide circle of friends lived.
“There was an orchestra to save, a business council to found, a fledgling peace centre to nurture, hospital research to support, a students’ trust fund to steer, an international conference to organize, and arts stabilization fund to establish, an historic site to be preserved and enhanced, a column to write. There was a museum of human rights to build.”
Former mayor Susan Thompson asked Buchwald to chair the Cultural Policy Review Panel in 1996-97. The Buchwald Report subsequently established the City of Winnipeg Cultural Policy. It continues to ensure Winnipeg supports its arts and cultural communities. “His extraordinary efforts have greatly enhanced Winnipeg’s quality of life and its development,” said the former mayor.” She also called upon Buchwald to head the city’s economic development agency and an international conference on winter cities.
Nominator Terry Welch echoed the mayor’s tribute:
“Winnipeg has a well-earned reputation as one of Canada’s most important urban cultural centres. Much of the credit for the building of this profile goes to Harold Buchwald, whose tireless efforts and advocacy on behalf of the arts inspired artists, patrons, administrators and governments to make Winnipeg a world-renowned hub of cultural excellence. His leadership within the Arts Stabilization Manitoba program, his compelling argument for greater public support for the arts, and his commitment to vital projects such as the Upper Fort Garry and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights are but a few illustrations of Harold’s life on Winnipeg’s quality of life and its development as a creative, caring and cosmopolitan city.”
Buchwald had a wide network of friends, associates and contacts who he prevailed upon to work for the good of the city. He believed in the three-Cs – concern, commitment and contribution, which he learned from his parents. His undeniable “wit that never quit” became part of his persuasive powers he used to enable people to become part of the solution, not the problem.
“He connects the dots as well as anyone I have ever met,” said Jim Carr, president and CEO of the Business Council of Manitoba.
A story is told by Dr. Jerry Gray on the Upper Fort Garry project, one of many projects which Harold Buchwald was so integral to its eventual success. He said he thought he lost Harold’s services for a month when he went away to California in February. But lo and behold it could not be further from the truth. Buchwald took advantage of the opportunity to contact all of his Winnipeg friends in California to make a contribution to the project. Dr. Gray said Buchwald was so heavily involved in this community and so committed to the things that make this (city) a better place to live.
Buchwald co-founded law firm Pitblado, which was formerly Pitblado Buchwald Asper. Buchwald has received many awards and recognition for all of his contributions, including a prestigious Honourary Doctor of Laws from the University of Manitoba, and a distinguished service award from the Manitoba Bar Association. He is a member of the Order of Canada (1993), Director Emeritus of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) in honour of his outstanding contributions to its survival and success, first recipient of WSO Golden Baton Award in 1990, posthumously and unanimously received an Arts Champion Special Award from the Winnipeg Arts Council in 2008, a founding member of Arts Stabilization Manitoba and played a similar role in establishing the Business Council of Manitoba, chaired City of Winnipeg’s Cultural Policy Review Panel resulting in the influential Buchwald Report entitled Into the 21st Century – Arts and Culture in Winnipeg, a founding member of the Friends of Upper Fort Garry, chaired the City’s economic development agency when it was called Winnipeg 2000 and headed up the International Winter Cities Conference in 1996, received the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Award in 2002 and the 2008 Lieutenant-Governor of Manitoba Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Community by an Individual.
Buchwald was a driving force behind many important community fund-raising campaigns. He chaired the Health Sciences Centre Foundation from 1989 to 1992 and was president of the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba from 1987 to 1991. He was committed to promoting human rights and proudly served as a board member for the Arthur V. Mauro Centre for Peace and Justice.