Seventy-two years of holiday cheer

The Reitman Family Holiday Luncheon is an annual tradition

What does Justin Trudeau have in common with Wilder Penfield and Dr. Guy Rouleau? All three have helped to serve meals to scores of The Neuro’s employees at the Reitman Family Holiday Luncheon, which took place on Friday, Dec. 6, in the Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre.

Future PM Justin Trudeau and Dr. Guy Rouleau on the serving line (2014)

This year marks the 72nd edition of this enjoyable event, which began in 1947 thanks to the generosity of Ruth Reitman, a member of the Reitman family that owns the well-known Canada-wide chain of clothing stores. It was a gesture of admiration and gratitude to Dr. William Cone, the neurosurgeon who had successfully performed a difficult operation on her spine that year. Dr. Cone, by the way, along with another neurosurgeon, Dr. Gilles Bertrand, lent their trained hands at the luncheon over the years by carving slices of turkey.

Today the holiday luncheon is extended to The Neuro’s entire membership of over 1,200 people. Serving the meals requires no less than three shifts of hardy volunteers who dole out helpings of meat and salad. And, of course, there’s always tasty dessert.

Sam and Dorothy Reitman at The Reitman Lunch. The Neuro, December 2019

Members of the Reitman family were on hand to show their pride in maintaining a tradition that spectacularly marks the holiday spirit of giving. This year, Sam and Dorothy Reitman were present to extend holiday greetings and their best wishes.

The Cosgrove Choir led by Ken Hastings is back to entertain everyone with traditional Christmas carols and with songs that celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish holiday that begins on Dec. 22.

Dorothy Reitman serving staff at this year’s luncheon

All those who partake in the luncheon can share in the Reitman family’s spirit of giving by bringing some non-perishable food that can be deposited in clearly marked boxes. A local food bank will distribute the food to people in need.

The Reitman's philanthropy with The Neuro continues beyond the luncheon with the establishment of The Cyril and Dorothy, Joel and Jill Reitman Foundation Prize for Open Science in Action, first presented this year to researcher Thomas Durcan.

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.




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