Award given for namesake's work

[attach]5234[/attach]The Rosedale Mainstreet BIA was honoured with the first-ever Paul Oberman Heritage Award at the first-ever Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas Recognition Awards.

Paul Oberman, a real estate developer who died in a plane crash on March 7, 2011, fought to keep historical buildings intact and to renovate them for commercial use. His projects include the North Toronto Train Station, which was transformed into the Summerhill LCBO and the renovation of the shops at Scrivener Square.

“(The award) was to recognize his commitment to heritage stuff that he did as a developer and builder,” says Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas executive director John Kiru. “He was active in two areas and he did a lot of good work on the heritage side of things.”

Rosedale Mainstreet BIA won the award because of the cluster of heritage buildings in the area Oberman reinvigorated.

“That’s where we started because it appears to have been the foundation of it,” says Kiru. “Subsequently we’ll move forward with other areas that will be worthy of some significant initiatives.”

Rosedale Mainstreet BIA chair Marissa Agueci remembers Oberman as a visionary and a teacher. She says she counts herself lucky for having Oberman’s wife, Eve Lewis, around still.

Lewis and Agueci plan to hold a memorial and erect a monument near the LCBO store in honour of Oberman.

“He was truly a visionary. If you looked at that train station when it started you would have said it’s a dump and nobody is going to buy it,” says Agueci. “Well he was able to make something out of nothing and I think that’s the whole point, that he had vision and was able to create something out of nothing.”