Jonathan Wener is a highly regarded Canadian business leader and philanthropist, and is an accomplished entrepreneur with interests in real estate, technology, biotechnology and recycling. He is a sixth-generation Montrealer whose energy, curiosity and vision took him from working on construction sites as a teenager to founding Montreal-based Canderel Group at the age of 25. Today, after 40 years as an innovator in real estate investment, development and management, Canderel has reached $9 billion in property transactions and has regional offices in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Vancouver and Dallas, Texas. The company has owned, developed and managed properties representing approximately 50 million sq/ft.
Recognized as a team builder with a strong belief in collaboration, Mr. Wener works with an exceptional group of professionals who have extensive experience in all facets of acquisition, development, construction, leasing and marketing, and property and asset management. Canderel is respected for its fiscal responsibility, long-term approach to partnership, and effectiveness at achieving business success. It takes a proactive approach regarding the environment by integrating sustainability principles into its undertakings, and follows the same principles in community service. Canderel nurtures a culture of giving at all its offices, and every year vice-presidents, managers and employees participate in multiple community initiatives.
Community service is at the heart of Mr. Wener’s view of a successful life well lived. He is an activist with a passionate engagement in the arts, education and healthcare. He has helped fund and personally supported – as president, co-chair or member – numerous hospital boards, community organizations, foundations and research centres, including the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts Foundation, the Festival des arts de Saint-Sauveur, the Segal Centre for Performing Arts, the Goodman Cancer Research Centre of McGill University, and the Fraser Institute, where he is a trustee and member of the Executive Committee. In January 2015 Mr. Wener was appointed chancellor of Concordia University, his alma mater. This followed 20 years of acting in various capacities, including deputy chancellor, vice-chair of the Board of Governors, and chair of the Real Estate Planning Committee.
Improving healthcare is a priority for Mr. Wener. During his tenure as president of the Montreal Jewish General Hospital, he initiated an unprecedented $200 million capital campaign, spearheaded the acquisition of the neighbouring Soeurs de Sainte-Croix site, and helped create the renowned Segal Cancer Centre. Today he serves as vice-president of the Board of Governors and is a member of the Executive Committee. Last but not least, with characteristic ingenuity and resolve, in 1989 he launched the Défi Canderel, which has raised more than 12 million dollars for the cancer research centres at McGill University and the Université de Montréal.
Mr. Wener has been a member of the Board of Directors of the Laurentian Bank of Canada for 17 years, was the founding president of the Institut de développement urbain du Québec in 1987, and is a past president of the Urban Development Institute of Canada. In 2003 he was honoured to be appointed a Member of the Order of Canada, and in 2009 was inducted into the Club des entrepreneurs of the Conseil du patronat du Québec for his outstanding contributions to the economic development of the province. He was presented with the Fraser Institute's prestigious T. Patrick Boyle Founders Award in 2012 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013.
In 2016, Jonathan Wener and the Défi Canderel were honored with an “Award of Excellence” in the Outstanding Corporation Category by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP). The AFP is the world’s most prestigious fundraising organization. Every year it recognizes outstanding achievements by individuals, foundations, corporate philanthropists, fundraising volunteers, and fundraising professionals.