Avrum Morrow, a member of the Order of Canada and co-founder of the Quebec-based cleaning products manufacturer, Avmor Ltd., has died at age 93. A generous philanthropist and supporter of the arts, Avi was highly respected within his own company, the sanitation supply industry and the wider community.
He has now been unmasked as Montreal’s anonymous Bike Man who, since the 1980s, donated hundreds of new bicycles, helmets and locks to the city’s youth. Generations of his own employees were more directly familiar with his largesse over Avmor’s 70-year history.
“We would not be here today if it were not for the scores of passionate people working for Avmor,” current president, Mattie Chinks, observed as the company marked its milestone anniversary last fall, with Avi and his wife Dora in attendance.
Avi Morrow helped to set that tone when he and his brother-in-law, Henry Chinks, launched the company in 1948. It remains a family business, which is now reconized for sustainable product innovation.
Avi’s patronage of the arts began in 1965 when he commissioned local artist RD Wilson to sketch the company headquarters in Old Montreal for Avmor’s Christmas card. In subsequent years, he commissioned and displayed more than 400 paintings, sculptures, drawings and photographs, then transformed the building into an art gallery after the company moved to a new location in Laval.
Along with his induction into the Order of Canada, Avi received professional acclaim including Sanitation Canada’s highest honour, the Sam Tughan Achievement Award, and ISSA’s Jack D. Ramaley Award for distinguished service to the industry.