Gallery graduated from Loyola College — one of Concordia’s founding institutions — in 1957 and remained connected to his alma mater beyond his student years.
He served as president of the alumni association in 1971, organized the golden anniversary celebration of his class and helped raise funds for the Loyola Class of 1957 Bursary.
He headed Gallery Publications Limited, his family’s publishing business, beginning in 1959, becoming president and owner in 1967.
In the 1980s, Gallery served as Mayor of Westmount for four years. He was also acting chairman, vice-chairman and a director of Canadian National Railway, and the Quebec director of the Canadian Council of Christians and Jews — now the Canadian Centre for Diversity — from 1983 to 1985.
Celebrating his roots
In 1995, Gallery co-founded the CISF in collaboration with Peter O’Brien and Michael Kenneally. A tireless fundraiser, he reached out to his impressive network of business and government contacts, friends and fellow Irish community members to drum up financial support for the project.
Gallery’s efforts to develop Irish Studies at Concordia led to the creation of the Centre for Canadian Irish Studies in 2002, now known as the School of Irish Studies.
A natural bridge-builder, Gallery’s partnership — brokered between the CISF, Concordia and the Honorable Jean Charest’s then provincial government — launched the Johnson Chair in Quebec and Canadian Irish Studies in 2009, to conduct research, and to teach and promote the comprehensive story of the Irish in Quebec and across Canada.
“The development of Irish Studies at Concordia simply would not have been possible without the success Brian Gallery inspired and encouraged,” said Michael Kenneally, principal of the School of Irish Studies. “He united Irish community members and others — many of them alumni — to rally behind the dream of giving a permanent academic presence to this discipline at the university. Brian’s commitment to this goal was complete and he operated in full confidence that it would be achieved.
“He helped to create a permanent legacy that will benefit Concordia into the future. Our mission at the School of Irish Studies is to honour him by continuing to build on his extraordinary achievement.”
A prized member of the community
In recognition of his accomplishments, Gallery received numerous distinctions from Canada’s Irish community, such as the 1997 St. Patrick’s Society of Montreal Community Award.
In 2000, he was elected Montreal Irish Man of the Year and eight years later, Gallery was named an Honorary Lifetime Member of the St. Patrick’s Society.
For his widespread contributions to the country, Gallery was honoured with the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of Confederation.
He received the Queen Elizabeth Commemorative Medals for her Golden and Diamond Jubilees. In 2018, the Governor General of Canada awarded Gallery with the Meritorious Service Medal.
The Concordia University Alumni Association awarded Gallery the prestigious Humberto Santos Award of Merit in 2010, for his role in developing the School of Irish Studies.
Later that year, the university also presented Gallery with an honorary doctorate in appreciation of his outstanding contributions and long-time dedication.