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Nancy Burke and Ian Telfer at the University of Toronto’s Music Faculty Jay Telfer Forum on June 28.Handout

The organizer: Ian Telfer and Nancy Burke

The gift: $7-million

The cause: The University of Toronto’s Music Faculty

Ian Telfer had thought about making a donation to the University of Toronto, his alma mater, for years but he never found a cause to support. That changed recently when the university’s faculty of music approached him about plans for a new performance venue.

“This seemed to be like the perfect opportunity for me to do something for the University of Toronto. And it being music-centred was very important to me,” recalled Mr. Telfer, former chair of Goldcorp Inc.

Music has long been an integral part of Mr. Telfer’s life. He and his late brother, Jay, formed a band in high school called A Passing Fancy and they played in schools and colleges across Ontario. Jay went on to become a fixture in the Yorkville music scene in the 1960s and one of their high-school friends was Bernie Finkelstein, who later managed a slew of Canadian stars including Murray McLauchlan, Barney Bentall, Dan Hill and Bruce Cockburn.

“Bernie went to our high school and the first band he managed was us, A Passing Fancy,” said Mr. Telfer, 76, who played bass guitar in the band. He added with a laugh: “I’m taking credit for getting Bernie started.”

Jay died in 2009 and Mr. Telfer felt privileged to be able to honour him in this way. The Jay Telfer Forum will be a mid-sized performance centre in the heart of Toronto. The forum will also be used to host conferences, academic events and workshops. Construction is expected to start this year and the building should be finished in three years.

Jay ”was a musician and an artist and a writer and very creative guy,” said Mr. Telfer. Naming the hall after Jay “was such an obvious thing to do. I got excited about it and my family got excited.”

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