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October 17, 2008
Street renamed to honour business and philanthropic achievements of Karim Hakim, founder of Hakim Optical
  
The City of Toronto will rename a Scarborough street to honour Hakim Optical founder and philanthropist Karim Hakim. A special ceremony for the renaming will be held tomorrow.

The City will change the name of Lebovic Avenue (located west of Warden Avenue, between Eglinton Avenue East and Ashtonbee Road) to Hakimi Avenue. Scarborough Community Council approved the change at its meeting on July 7, 2008 and City Council on July 24, 2008.

The street was chosen in part because a 20-year old Hakim Optical outlet was relocated when the City extended Lebovic Avenue in 2007. The City generally does not name streets after living people, but an exception was granted out of respect for Hakim’s entrepreneurial, business and philanthropic achievements.

“Karim Hakim is living proof that new Canadians can find a welcoming home and limitless opportunity in North America’s most multi-cultural city,” said City Councillor Michael Thompson. “Through courage, hard work and an entrepreneurial spirit, Karim has taken full advantage of this opportunity to build an exemplary record of business and philanthropic achievement.”

Born in Tehran, Iran, Hakim was forced to leave school and begin work at the age of eight to help feed his impoverished family after the death of his father. As a teenager, he began working as an apprentice lens-maker and returned to night school to complete his education. After finishing an enlistment in the Iranian navy, he moved to Europe to perfect his lens-making skills. He subsequently immigrated to Canada and after carefully saving his money, opened his first optical lab in 1967. Gradually he expanded his operations and today Hakim Optical serves the public with over 140 outlets.

Over the years, Hakim has helped to improve the vision of those in need around the world by donating hundreds of thousands of pairs of eyeglasses in co-operation with the Rotary Club and Lions International. He also led the Ride for Sight motorcycle charity parade in addition to supporting other charitable activities. In recognition of his generous contributions, Hakim was knighted in June 2005 by The Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem, Knights of Malta.

“I believe that it is fitting that the City of Toronto should name a street after a man who so ably represents the strong values and spirit of hard work that are cherished by our City and our Country,” said noted businessman and philanthropist Harold G. Shipp. “Karim Hakim is a shining example of the opportunity for success that awaits new Canadians, and a role model for people of all cultural backgrounds.”

“I am deeply honoured by the City’s decision to dedicate a street in my name,” Hakim said. “I have always believed that it is important to make a difference in the lives of others. That is why the golden rule at Hakim remains the same in 2008 as it was in 1967: Serve as you would be served.”

Event: Official naming ceremony of Hakimi Avenue
Date: Friday, October 17
Time: noon - 2 p.m.
Where: Hakim Optical store, 1900 Eglinton Ave. E. (west of Warden)

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
Ihor Wons, Executive Assistant to Councillor Michael Thompson - (416) 397-9274, or iwons@toronto.ca; John Worden, Hakim Optical - (416) 414-4011, or advertising@hakimoptical.ca; Tanya Imola, Protocol Office, (416) 392-7805,timola@toronto.ca


 

 

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