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Justin Trudaeu, Tova and Larry Vickar

Vickar family

Larry and Tova


by Rhonda Spivak, April 29, 2013

 Larry Vickar was summoned to Ottawa this past December where he and other leaders in the Canadian Jewish community, active in the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs, were awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. Vickar was the only one from Winnipeg in this group.  (See photo of Larry and Tova with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau whom they met over lunch when Larry received his Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal.)
Vickar told the Winnipeg Jewish Review that after receiving the award he and Tova had an opportunity to have dinner in Ottawa with Conservative Lawrence Toet, MP for Elmwood-Transcona.
Larry has just been named as the recipient of this year’s Sol Kanee Distinguished Community Service Medal of the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, which recognizes an individual within the Jewish Community who has distinguished him or herself through outstanding dedicated leadership and service to the Jewish Community over the course of many years.
Larry, who was born and raised in Melfort, Saskatchewan, and moved to Winnipeg to pursue a post-secondary education, started working in the automotive industry in 1970. Today he is President of Vickar Community Chevrolet and leads the Vickar Automotive Group, which is comprised of six businesses. In addition to Vickar Community Chevrolet, there is Vickar Auto Body and Glass, Vickar Mitsubishi, Waverly Mitsubishi, Vickar Isuzu Truck and Vickar Nissan.
Larry is very active in the automotive industry, as a past president of the Manitoba Motor Dealers Association and, amongst other things, was a Co-Chair of the Provincial Government Vehicle Standard Advisory Board on greenhouse gas emissions beyond Kyoto, and, in 2010, the recipient of the Canadian Automobile Dealers Association’s highest honour – The Laureate.

Larry is married to Tova, whose family originated from an area near the Polish/Russia border. Tova, whose family moved to Israel after World War II when she was young, grew up on Kibbutz Ramat Hashofet, in Northern Israel. In 1969, after completing her army duties in Israel, Tova came to visit an aunt in Winnipeg. Larry and Tova met in Winnipeg at what was then Roxy Bowling Lanes on Henderson Highway at a Jewish function. They have been married for over 42 years.  Larry recalls that Tova’s cousin introduced them, and he offered her a ride homeAlthough Tova’s English was rudimentary at the time, Larry jests that she understood enough that she knew “a ride home in a warm car was better than taking a bus home in the cold.”

Today, Tova works as Customer-Liaison in The Vickar Automotive Group businesses.
In addition to their accomplishments in the business world, the Vickars are active volunteers in both the Jewish and broader communities. Together, Larry and Tova have led two Jewish Federation Leadership Missions to Israel. Each has been involved in a leadership role in CJA campaigns. Larry sits on several non-profit organizations’ boards, the Jewish National Fund, the St. Boniface Hospital Research Foundation and the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba, as well as the Crown Corporation, Manitoba Hydro Electric Board. In 2008 he was the recipient of the Max & Mollie Shore Memorial Award for Community Involvement.  Larry is also a member of the Arab-Jewish dialogue which is the  honouree for this year's Jewish National Fund Negev Gala on June 4.
The Vickar Auto Group support many causes in the community, and for this have been the recipients of both the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce Chair’s Choice for Community Service Award (2010-2011) and the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Community “Business” (2010).
 In 2009, Tova and Larry were honoured by the Philippine Canadian Centre of Manitoba, in recognition of their support of the Philippine community. Larry and Tova’s strong relationship with Winnipeg's Filipino community goes back almost 40 years.  Both have been major contributors to Filipino fundraising events, and formed friendships with members of the Filipino community
 In February 2008, Larry and Tova participated in a Manitoba trade mission to the Philippines where they visited a Gawad Kalinga village near Manila. The Gawad Kalinga (To Give a Care) program is similar to Habitat for Humanity. This led to their participation in building the 30 homes and a multi-purpose building, opened on a return visit to the Philippines in 2012, known as the Vickar Transcona Rotary Portview Village.
Both Larry and Tova, who have been to Israel over 12 times, attended the Second Manitoba-Israel Water Symposium hosted by the JNF in Israel in 2010. 
Larry and Tova have also been involved in the opening of The L'Arche Tova Café at 119 Regent Avenue. The cafe provides meaningful employment opportunities for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities who often face societal challenges like social isolation and discrimination.
Larry and Tova have two sons, Sam and Stephen, both of whom work in the Vickar Automotive Group.  Sam is married to Lisa and they have two boys, Mason and Vaughn.
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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.