RioCan REIT Founder and former CEO Edward Sonshine received a top honour for Canadian business executives last week, being inducted into the Canadian Business Hall of Fame (CBHF).
Sonshine was inducted on May 11 alongside LOGISTEC Corporation CEO Madeleine Paquin, Saa Dene Group of Companies President Chief Jim Boucher, and Burgundy Asset Management Ltd. Co-Founder Hugh Anthony Arrell.
The CBHF, established in 1979, honours those who have made outstanding achievements that have helped to shape Canada via their entrepreneurship, management skills, vision, determination, and perseverance. Past inductees include Ed Mirvish, Henry Birks, John Molson, Alphonse Desjardins, Timothy Eaton, Ron Joyce, and Ted Rogers.
"CBHF Companions have earned the respect of their peers, paved the way for others, and are role models for future generations of enterprising youth," the CBHF announcement reads.
Sonshine founded RioCan REIT in 1994, then one of Canada's first-ever real estate investment trusts. It has since grown to one of the country's largest with a value of approximately $14B. The company's portfolio includes a number of well-known properties all around the country, both residential and commercial, including The Well in Toronto and the upcoming Latitude towers in Ottawa.
In addition to his trailblazing work at RioCan, Sonshine is a co-founder of publicly traded alternative lender Chesswood Group Ltd. and venture capital company AWZ Ventures Inc., and serves as chair for both companies. From 2007 to 2017, he served as a director of the Royal Bank of Canada, and from 2010 to 2020, he was also a director of Cineplex.
The CBHF highlights Sonshine's generosity over the years, being a major benefactor of Mount Sinai Hospital, United Jewish Appeal, and United Way.
Having practiced law for 15 years prior to founding RioCan, Sonshine gifted Toronto Metropolitan University's Lincoln Alexander School of Law with $1M in 2022 to establish the Edward Sonshine Chair in Race and the Law -- a scholarly leadership position to be held by an expert who can encourage students to "critically examine the law’s role in both perpetuating and ameliorating racism and discrimination."
The CBHF induction is far from Sonshine's first accolade. He was invested into the Order of Ontario in 2011, named Canada’s Outstanding CEO of the Year in 2013, and granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Chamber of Commerce of Canada in 2022. He was also awarded an honourary Doctor of Laws by Toronto Metropolitan University in June of 2022 and inducted into the Horatio Alger Society in October of 2022.
Sonshine retired from RioCan on March 31, 2021.