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Kanee, Sol


KANEE, SOL (1909– ), Canadian philanthropist, lawyer, and businessman; Jewish community official. Kanee was born into an immigrant family in the small Saskatchewan farm community of Melville. He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Manitoba in 1929 before going on to complete a degree in law at the University of Saskatchewan in 1932. He was admitted to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1933. Kanee returned to Melville to begin practicing law but with the outbreak of war in Europe he enlisted in the Canadian Army. From 1940 to 1945 he served in the Royal Canadian Artillery, retiring with the rank of major. Rather than return to Melville, Kanee settled in Winnipeg, where he combined law and business. He became president of Loo Line Mills and director of the Kanee Grain Company. In 1956 he was appointed director of the Bank of Canada and served on its board for 17 years, the longest anyone had ever sat as a director. He was also director of the Federal Business Development Bank, which offered financial services to support the long-term growth of businesses in all sectors of the Canadian economy.

Active in both Jewish and non-Jewish community life, Kanee supported a number of community organizations and service groups in Winnipeg. Long an officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress, he served as chairman of the National Executive of the Canadian Jewish Congress and president of the organization between 1971 and 1974. He was also chair of the University of Manitoba board of governors where an annual lecture series has been named in his honor. In addition, Kanee held executive volunteer positions with the World Jewish Congress, the United Way of Greater Winnipeg, the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, and the Canadian National Millers Association, among other organizations. A lifelong Liberal Party supporter and Israel advocate, he was close to leading Canadian and Israeli political figures. His record of community service was recognized when Winnipeg's Jewish nursing home was renamed in honor of the Kanee family and, among his many awards, Sol Kanee was inducted into the Order of Canada in 2000.

[Judith E. Szapor (2nd ed.)]

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