Fonds - Spivak family fonds

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Spivak family fonds

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  • 1919-2000 (predominately 1966-1979) (Creation)
    Spivak family

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40 cm of newspaper clippings and textual records
293 photographs
1 banner

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Biographical history

Sidney Spivak, Q.C. was a politician in Manitoba provincial politics including serving as a Cabinet Minister, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and Leader of the Official Opposition Mira Spivak is a retired Senator, School Trustee and Chair of the Winnipeg School Division.

Sidney Spivak was born in Winnipeg in 1928 to Malick and Rose Spivak. He completed his law degree at the University of Manitoba and a Master’s of Law at Harvard. He worked as a barrister and acted as Vice President of both Golden Age Beverages and Mathers Investments before entering politics. He was named to the Queen’s Counsel in 1966.

Spivak became the Member of the Legislative Assembly for River Heights in 1966 and served as Minister of Industry and Commerce in the government of Duff Roblin. In 1971 he became leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba and Leader of the Official Opposition. After the Progressive Conservatives lost the 1973 election Sterling Lyon replaced him as party leader. In the government of Sterling Lyon elected in 1977 he served as Minister without Portfolio and Minister of Government Services before resigning his seat in 1979 to run in the federal election. He was defeated in his bid for the federal seat of Winnipeg-Fort Garry and returned to work in the business.

Outside of his political career Sidney Spivak held a number of positions with a variety of Jewish and non-Jewish organizations. Roles with Jewish organizations included; chair of the Canada-Israel Committee; President, Jewish Youth Council; President, Bnai Brith Hillel; President, Bnai Brith Maple Leaf Lodge; and President Winnipeg Branch of Friends of Ben Gurion University. He also worked with the Jewish National Fund and Canadian Council of Christians and Jews. Work with other organizations included: board of governors of the University of Manitoba; board of directors for the St. Boniface Hospital; Churchill Regional Health Authority Board; Chair of Winnipeg’s Refugee Assistance Committee; board member of the Manitoba Theatre Centre and President of Rainbow Stage.

Mira Steele was born in 1934 in the city of Rivne (then in Poland now in Ukraine) to Manya and Samuel Steele. She completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Manitoba.

Elected as a School Board Trustee, Mira Spivak also served as Chair of the Winnipeg School Division. In 1986 she was appointed to the Senate for the Progressive Conservative party. Senate committees in which she was involved include the Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources and the Standing Committee on Transport and Communications. When the Conservative Party of Canada was created from the merger of the Progressive Party of Canada and the Canadian Alliance, Spivak chose to sit in the Senate as an Independent member. She retired from the senate in 2009.

Other work done by Mira Spivak in her career has included serving as Vice President of the Civil Liberties Association and work with the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg. Involvement with Jewish organizations has included work with Hadassah and serving as Chair of the Women’s Division of Israel Bonds.

Sidney and Mira were married in 1955 and had three children: Lori, Harold and Diane. Sidney Spivak died in 2002.

Custodial history

Scope and content

Fonds consists of records of Mira and Sidney Spivak documenting their political careers as well as personal records and family photographs. Newspaper clippings make up the majority of the records.

Several files of newspaper clippings document various periods or events in the political careers of the Spivaks. These files also include photographs, copies of speeches and election campaign materials. Other clippings files relate to the contributions of other families to the Jewish community in Winnipeg.

Family photographs document the Spivak, Steele and Portigal families.

Other records include personal correspondence of Sidney Spivak.

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Some records may be fragile, water-damaged or illegible. See file list for further details.

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