Eugene N.  RIESMAN


1993 Economic Economic

Working with tenacity and vision in the real estate industry, Eugene N. Riesman has contributed enormously to the development and economy of Montréal in the modern transformation of the city’s downtown core.

Following studies at Yale University and service with the United States Navy, Mr. Riesman came to Montréal from Boston in 1957 to set up the Canadian branch of his family’s manufacturing business, Royal Electric Co. He fell in love with Montréal and made it his home. When the family company was sold to ITT in 1960, he became associated with an English construction and development group involved with the T. Eaton Company and its plans for the redevelopment of the McGill College Avenue area, along the lines of planning concepts initiated in the early twenties by Canadian National Railways. This led to three decades of involvement with the Avenue. Due to various problems, the Eaton project did not proceed and in 1966, Mr. Riesman founded his own company, First Quebec Corporation, to continue to work towards the widening and improvement of McGill Avenue.

After difficult economic and political challenges, the renaissance of McGill College Avenue was finally accomplished in the late eighties. It is now one of the City’s most prestigious streets, and the immediate area has become a vital part of the City’s core. Many of the buildings were realized by First Quebec Corporation in joint venture with various development companies, as well as with financial institutions such as Industrial-Alliance Life Insurance Company and Canada Trust.

Eugene Riesman’s commitment to Montréal extends beyond the business domain. True to his family tradition, he has devoted much time, energy and personal resources to universities and hospitals. He was a member of the Steering Committee of the Montréal Children’s Hospital, and is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the McGill University School of Medicine, and the Board of the Jewish General Hospital.

Through his business and community activities, Eugene Riesman has helped many Montrealers in their careers, by way of scholarships and bursaries in urban design and landscape architecture at McGill University and the Université de Montréal, and by financial support at Concordia University. In memory of his late wife, a research fund was established in Oncology at the Jewish General Hospital as part of the McGill University Cancer Center. He is a supporter of Yale University, and has maintained a long association with Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, where his family has been involved for over four decades in providing support via major scholarship funds.

Mr. Riesman’s admiration for the great landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, inspired him to have a monument erected in Mont-Royal in honour of the man who planned Montréal’s Mount Royal Park. He is a board member of Les Amis de la Montagne. Most First Quebec Corporation buildings are graced with tapestries and sculptures by Quebec artists.

Eugene Riesman has made a sterling contribution to the economic and urban environment of the city he fell in love with in 1957. He and his company are continuing their commitment to quality developments in Montréal.