Peter Munk, Founder of Barrick Gold dead at 90

Mar 29, 2018 | Biz/Tech, News


File photo of Peter Munk. | Mark Blinch, The Canadian Press


The renowned Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Peter Munk, died Wednesday in Toronto at the age of 90.

Munk was the founder of the Toronto-based company Barrick Gold Corp., which became the world’s largest gold mining company in less than 25 years.

Barrick Gold Corp. released a statement about Munk, calling him “one of Canada’s most significant philanthropists.”

Munk was born in Budapest in 1927 and in 1944 he and his family escaped Hungary during the invasion of Nazi Germany. He finally made his way to Toronto at the age of 20 with nothing but a suitcase.

In 1948, Munk completed a bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering.

He made a variety of small entrepreneurial investments, such as Clairtone Sound Corp., a furniture and electronics company, before founding Barrick Gold Corp. in 1983.

Barrick Gold Corp. gave Munk the majority of his wealth and he was inducted into the Mining Hall of Fame in 2002.

Barrick Gold’s rise was not free from social criticism according to an article by Globe and Mail.

Despite the accusations that developed with Barrick Gold, Munk became an iconic philanthropist.

He is recognized for large charitable donations, donating $300 million to numerous causes.

His most notable donation was a $100 million gift to fund the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the Toronto General Hospital in 1997.

This donation is still the largest single donation that has ever been made to a general hospital.

It was his time spent at U of T that led him and his wife, Melanie, to place U of T at the centre of their philanthropy for nearly 40 years.

“Peter was never afraid to dream big and take risks, and students and faculty at the Munk School take him as their inspiration,” said Janice Stein, founding director of the Munk School of Global Affairs.

The Munks have cumulatively given more than $51.1 million to university the university of Toronto, according to ta statement released by the institution Wednesday.

These philanthropic endeavours  include the Munk Centre for International Studies in 1996, and the Munk School of Global Affairs in 2010.

“Peter Munk’s contributions to higher education and health are virtually unparalleled in Canada and continue to make a truly global impact,” said David Palmer, vice-president of advancement, University of Toronto.

The Munks also co-founded ‘The Munk Debates‘ in 2008, which are a series of semi-annual debates in Toronto at Roy Thomson Hall.

He will be remembered and missed among many.

He leaves behind his wife of 45 years, his five children and 14 grand-children.