An icon behind one of the 416’s most recognized institutions is now gone; Toronto-raised filmmaker Ivan Reitman died at the age of 75 this past weekend, and while he called California home for decades, he left a lasting piece of real estate in his hometown.
Reitman, whose legacy as one of Hollywood’s all-time titans includes film credits such as Ghostbusters and Stripes, worked on the TIFF Bell Lightbox in downtown Toronto along with his sisters Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels, and the Daniels Corporation.
LOS ANGELES – SEP 12: Ivan Reitman at the Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Studios Hollywood on September 12, 2019 in Universal City, CA
Mitchell Cohen, President and CEO of Daniels Corporation, speaking on behalf of John and Myrna Daniels, remembers working with Reitman on the Lightbox and, in particular, how the latter claimed to know little about real estate development but nevertheless immersed himself fully in the experience.
“Like most film lovers, my colleagues and I at Daniels knew the films but certainly didn’t know the man behind them. We were blessed, however, to get to know Ivan as a business partner on a real estate transaction that demonstrated the magic that can happen at the intersection of business and the arts,” Cohen told STOREYS. “One of my most memorable career moments was the day Steve Diamond, at that time one of the city’s pre-eminent development lawyers, called to ask if I’d seen the movie Ghostbusters, and if I’d be willing to meet Ivan Reitman, whose family owned a piece of land at King and John.”
Thus began work on the Lightbox at the epicentre of the Toronto International Film Festival, one of the world’s most prestigious. Cohen describes Reitman as a brilliant business partner who dug into every detail of the project, from land use approvals to design of individual suites in the accompanying residential tower built upon the site of the former Farb’s Car Wash at King and John, which Clara and Leslie Reitman, parents to Ivan, Agi and Susan, bought in 1968.
“We were also thrilled to come to know Ivan and family as passionate philanthropists, committed to supporting and nurturing TIFFG and Canadian filmmakers eager to follow in his footprints,” Cohen said. “It was an honor and privilege to know Ivan and to work closely with him as a respected partner and friend. We will miss his curious nature, his endless questions and insights, and the brilliant twinkle in his eye.”
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