George W. Vari

11 entries
  • "Dear Helen, My deepest sympathy. My thoughts and prayers..."
  • "My deepest condolences. Mr. Vari's legacy will live on for..."
    - Nick Stodola
  • "Dear Mrs. Vari, Our deepest sympathy to you and your..."
  • "Dear Mrs. Vari: My heartfelt condolences on the loss of..."
    - Laila Ali (LLSC)
  • "Dear Helen - you are in my thoughts and prayers. Deepest..."
    - Denise Yerex
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The Honourable GEORGE W. VARI, P.C., C.M., O.L.H, Ph.D., H.LLD Passed away peacefully at home in Toronto, on December 9, 2010. Beloved husband of Helen (nee de Fabinyi), loving uncle of Agnes and Christopher Hilkene and Victoria and Jason De Luca. Cherished Gyuriba of Alexandra, Anna-Sophia and Isabella. Dear relative to Janos Timar, Dr. Judit Vizvari, the Fabinyi family in Hungary and the Sheely family in Washington, D.C. Born in Hungary in 1923, educated as a lawyer, economist and engineer, George immigrated to Canada in 1957 after the Hungarian revolution. His professional passion was construction and as a developer he built projects around the world, most notably the 58-story Tour Montparnasse in Paris, still the tallest building in Europe, 6 Pavilions and the Theatre for Expo '67 in Montreal and the Hotel Cosmos in Moscow. With his wife Helen, George created an outstanding record of philanthropic activity. 'The world can only be saved by education' was George's fundamental belief. Among countless charitable contributions, this passion for education and research led them to become patrons of great institutions such as: Vari Hall at York University, The George W. Vari Engineering and Computing Centre at Ryerson University, the Variscope Scholarships at Victoria University / OISE at the University of Toronto, the Vari Laboratory at Princess Margaret Hospital amongst many others. George's strong belief in civic responsibilities and Canadian values led him to establish the George Vari Award for Good Citizenship at Ryerson University and the French language bursary at the University of Waterloo Ontario. In 1993, George contributed to the artistic and cultural fabric of Rideau Hall through the donation of the sculpture 'Osmosis' symbolizing Canadian unity. His love of nature led him to create the Vari Undergraduate and Graduate Entrance Bursaries at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. In France, George and Helen were pivotal in the restoration of the cathedral of Les Invalides in Paris. Following the 2001 hurricane that destroyed large sections of the historic forests in and around Paris, George donated 3,000 Canadian sugar maples to create the Canadian Forest at the Chateau de Versailles and the Ontario Forest in the Bois de Boulogne. In 1992, George was appointed a lifetime member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada. He received the Order of Canada, the Legion d'Honneur from France, and the Knight of Saint Gregory from the Vatican. He was awarded the commemorative medal celebrating Canada's 125th anniversary and was also a recipient of Queen Elizabeth II's Golden Jubilee Medal. He proudly accepted Honorary Doctorates from York and Ryerson Universities. The family remembers George as a proud Canadian and a tireless advocate and champion of education, but first and foremost, a warm, kind and caring uncle who enjoyed spending time with multiple generations of his family. George will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by his soul mate Helen, family and friends. All are invited to the Visitation Centre at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, 375 Mount Pleasant Road (east gate entrance), Toronto, on Friday, December 17, 2010 from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, December 18, 2010 at 11 a.m. at Holy Rosary Catholic Church, 354 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto. Interment and Reception will follow at Mount Pleasant Cemetery and Visitation Centre. In lieu of flowers, donations in George's memory can be made to the Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation: Please visit for service details and condolences messages.

Published in the Toronto Star on Dec. 11, 2010