Linel Rebenchuk 1955 - 2016
Friends of the arts will be greatly saddened to learn of the passing of a truly wonderful patriot, visionary and major contributor to Canadian culture. Linel Rebenchuk, 61, of West Vancouver, British Columbia, passed away on Thursday, January 14, 2016 at his home.
In retrospect, we will recall that he was the driving force responsible for the establishment of the Toronto International Art Fair (TIAF - now named: Art Toronto). Some of us recall that the genesis of this now annual must-attend event occurred first in Vancouver. A crew from the University of Lethbridge headed out in a truck to install an exhibition from the university art collection in support of his maiden effort at Vancouver. We were honoured by the invitation and rewarded by the results. As I recall it few other agencies rallied in support of his admirable initiative. We lamented that rather than jumping in to assist, some seemed to take an attitude of ‘let’s wait and see’. I’ve always wondered whether this resulted from a characteristic Canadian cautiousness about new ventures, or was it because he was so recently arrived from Romania? Regardless, Linel was undaunted and moved the event to Toronto where it morphed into its current manifestation. He was tenacity and perseverance personified.
Today however, I want to recall, rejoice, acknowledge and thank him for his phenomenal loyalty and friendship. I believe he invited either the University of Lethbridge or me to take important roles at TIAF each year over the first 10 or more years. It mattered enormously to us; what an opportunity to participate in such a showcase. After all, TIAF has continued to grow and flourish attracting thousands of visitors and new collectors. It has become an important annual gathering place that brings together the entire nation’s art aficionados public and private. There is no other comparable visual arts ‘conference’ that amasses this powerful broad spectrum of forces. Can you comprehend the magnitude of the financial and logistical nightmares to be borne in order to make all this happen? Linel was an undaunted effervescent force. The last time I saw him, he was cruising the aisles of TIAF in his golf cart, he was in great spirits sporting his characteristic broad smile. He was looking forward to the next phase of his life post TIAF. We, the public were the beneficiaries of his industry and commitment to fulfill a grand public dream. It would have only been fair if he had been awarded just a little more time to enjoy his own personal pursuits. We have seen very few like him; he changed our Canada.
His family posted these comments:
Linel had a passion and energy for life to be reckoned with. Born in Bucharest, Romania, he came to Canada with Ella in 1986. A talented musician from a young age, Linel flourished as a drummer and band leader for almost 20 years, making many loving friends along the way. Ever restless for a new challenge to conquer, he founded and produced the Toronto International Art Fair, which became one of the most successful fairs in North America. The fair not only allowed him to explore his love and passion for art, but the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world was an unbelievably fulfilling experience for him and for those who became his friends.
He will be remembered not only for the heart and soul he poured into all of his endeavors, but most for his endless commitment to his family, friends and colleagues.
Linel is survived by his wife of 35 years, Ella, his two daughters, Isabelle and Sondra, his mother, Maria, sister Elisabeta, brothers Marian and Stefan and a loving extended family.
Service and burial to be held at Capilano View Cemetery in West Vancouver, BC on Monday, January 25, 2016 at 12:30 p.m. Visitation with the family will take place after burial at the family home: 83 Glenmore Drive in West Vancouver. All are welcome.