Presenting the Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room at the Toronto Reference Library

October 30, 2018 | Media Relations

Comments (0)

Innovative new Toronto Public Library space to be built in honour of Canadian philanthropist, businessman and creator of the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize


Toronto Public Library today announced plans for the Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room, scheduled to open at the Toronto Reference Library in fall 2019. The Toronto Public Library Foundation, along with generous donors, has secured funding for this space that will be a fitting tribute to Jack’s legacy by providing a permanent home for his sizable collection of books and enabling his passion for literature to come to life. To be located on the 4th floor of the Toronto Reference Library, the Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room will be a beautiful and inspiring space where everyone is welcome and can be exposed to Canadian literature. This brand new, vibrant room will also be a spot where aspiring writers will work, collaborate and create as well as host events and workshops.

Jack Rabinovitch created the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 1994 to honour his late wife Doris Giller. The celebrated award recognizes excellence in Canadian fiction, and over the years, Jack assembled an extensive personal library of books, including all Giller Prize authors. He built a diverse and important collection of Canadian literature and with Jack’s passing in 2017, this collection has been donated to Toronto Public Library. “My sisters and I gave a lot of thought to where all of our father’s books could go, and we know we have found the perfect home for them at Toronto Public Library,” said Noni Rabinovitch. “Our dad believed that Canadian literature should be celebrated and easily accessible, for free, and the Library does just that. I am grateful to library staff for ensuring that our father’s legacy will live on in such an exciting and meaningful way.”

Design of the Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room is already underway with the award-winning architects from Moriyama & Teshima Architects (MTA) in discussions with Toronto Public Library as well as Jack’s daughters, Daphna, Elana and Noni Rabinovitch. Toronto Public Library is delighted to include MTA in this project as Raymond Moriyama was the original architect hired to build the Toronto Reference Library, which recently celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The 2500 square foot Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room is scheduled to open in fall 2019. More information is available at, and further announcements will be made in spring 2019.

The Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room will be animated by a suite of lively and informative programming, residencies, talks, panels and a variety of special events including Toronto Public Library’s Writer in Residence program which will be expanded and enhanced thanks to the Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room. Writers will be invited for a two-month residency to create their own work as well as mentor other writers. The program will provide a co-working environment for up-and-coming writers to focus on their work alongside the Writer in Residence. Valuable services provided include the popular one-on-one manuscript review and an opportunity to participate in author readings. Further announcements about the dynamic and diverse programming schedule will be announced in 2019.

"Toronto Public Library is both privileged and thrilled to be the permanent home of Jack's book collection. Jack’s impact on the Canadian literary world is tremendous, and will continue on for years and years to come. We look forward to making the Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room a showpiece at the Library, for everyone to enjoy," said Vickery Bowles, City Librarian, Toronto Public Library.

The Jack Rabinovitch Reading Room would not be possible without the generosity of donors who have contributed to the $1 million fundraising goal. The Toronto Public Library Foundation would like to acknowledge lead gifts from Visionary Donors: George and Martha Butterfield, The Elizabeth & Tony Comper Foundation, Ira Gluskin and Maxine Granovsky Gluskin, Hal Jackman Foundation, Gerald Sheff and Shanitha Kachan, Allan Slaight, and Gregory and Kate Sorbara. 

Toronto Public Library is the world's busiest urban public library system. Last year, we had 17 million visits to our branches and 27 million virtual visits. Torontonians borrowed 30 million items in branches and online. To learn more, visit, call Answerline at 416-393-7131 or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to email updates.

The Toronto Public Library Foundation is a registered charity that raises funds to support the exemplary collections, ground breaking programs and services, and the innovative community spaces at the world’s busiest public library system; Toronto Public Library. Since its inception in 1997, the TPL Foundation has raised over $84 million thanks to generous donors and corporate partners who have helped fund such popular and beloved programs as the TD Summer Reading Club and the Sun Life Financial Museum & Arts Pass (MAP). Donating to Toronto Public Library is an investment in literacy, education, culture and the vitality of a world-class city.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize, founded in 1994, highlights the very best in Canadian fiction year after year. The Prize awards $100,000 annually to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English, and $10,000 to each of the finalists. The award is named in honour of the late literary journalist Doris Giller by her husband Toronto businessman Jack Rabinovitch, who passed away suddenly in August 2017.


Toronto Public Library

Ana-Maria Critchley Manager, Stakeholder Relations



Scotiabank Giller Prize

Elana Rabinovitch

Executive Director