Concordia University

Remembering donor Avi Morrow

Philanthropist and businessman — posthumously revealed to be Montreal’s famous Bikeman — supported education, the arts and community
January 11, 2019
By Louise Morgan

Avrum (Avi) Morrow, a long-time supporter of Concordia, passed away on January 5, 2019. He was 93.

A businessperson with a passion for the arts, Morrow co-founded Avmor, a leading Canadian manufacturer of professional cleaning solutions, in 1948. Eager to encourage artists and share his passion, he commissioned more than 400 paintings, sculptures, photographs and drawings, on display at Avmor's Old Montreal headquarters.

Avi and Dora Morrow Avi Morrow (far left) and his wife Dora (far right) with students at the 2005 Donor Student Awards Celebration.

Morrow was one of the original contributors to the university’s Sir George Williams Art Gallery, now the Leonard & Bina Ellen Art Gallery.

He established three financial awards at Concordia, supporting graduate and undergraduate students in the Faculty of Fine Arts through scholarships and bursaries. His donations to Concordia total over $250,000. Morrow was also a member of the Concordia Faculty of Fine Arts Advisory Board.

“We are grateful to Avi Morrow for his heartfelt and generous commitment to our students,” says Rebecca Duclos, dean of Concordia’s Faculty of Fine Arts. “He led by example. He lived life fully and shared that warmth with others through a generosity that has touched so many students lives and so much of their artistic work."

True to his belief that every child deserves to experience joy, Morrow was posthumously revealed to be Montreal’s famous Bikeman. Every spring, through Sun Youth, he anonymously donated bicycles to dozens of disadvantaged children, giving away more than 1,700 bikes, helmets and locks over 33 years.

Morrow preferred to give anonymously. Borrowing from Maimonides, he said to Sun Youth's co-founder and executive director, Sid Stevens, “The purpose of giving is from the unknown to the unknown, and true happiness is found when you give.”

Morrow supported McGill University, the University of Ottawa and Montreal Heart Institute, as well as numerous community organizations.

“Dedicated supporters such as the late Avi Morrow enhance the lives of the next generation of Concordia students and inspire them to make a difference. We are grateful for Mr. Morrow’s commitment to higher education and to Concordia,” says Paul Chesser, vice-president of Advancement.

In recognition of Morrow’s philanthropy and achievements in business, he was named to the Order of Canada in 2006. That same year, he received an Honorary Life Membership from the Concordia University Alumni Association. He also received a Fine Arts Award of Distinction from Concordia in 2005.

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