Meet the Brampton businessman whose $2.5 million donation to Peel Memorial made history

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BRAMPTON — Ever since Sajjad Ebrahim, 63, made the announcement of a $2.5 million donation to William Osler Health System Foundation last week during the topping off ceremony for the Peel Memorial site, there has been much curiosity about the low-key Brampton businessman.

Ebrahim’s donation marks the largest individual donation made to the Osler Foundation so far, hospital officials said. What’s more, Orlando Corporation, a developer, will match Ebrahim’s donation as part of its $15 million commitment to three Osler hospitals.

The idea of an integrated health facility whose main focus will be on prevention of diseases appealed to Ebrahim and, he said, that’s why he threw his support behind Peel Memorial. He credits that, and his strong Muslim faith, which encourages acts of charity.

“This is my way of showing gratitude to Canada and Brampton,” said Ebrahim, who moved to Canada in the late ‘70s. “I believe God works through people and I am glad he’s chosen me for this.”

Some years ago, Ebrahim, a North York resident, was a member of the Peel Memorial Hospital board of directors and at that time was able to see firsthand the work the hospital did, he explained.

The Brampton businessman is also an active member of the Muslim Friends of Osler, a group of community members from all walks of life that came together in 2007 and pledged to raise $1 million for Osler Foundation. Ebrahim’s company Par-Pak Ltd. was a major contributor to that campaign. Together, with the help of its employees, Par-Pak raised $150,000.

When Ebrahim took over Par-Pak Inc., it was a small-scaled operation, but the savvy businessman with an MBA from Columbia University grew the scope and scale of the operations. At one point, the company, which makes plastic food containers, employed more than 600 employees. In 2013, Ebrahim sold the company to Toronto’s Waddington Group. He now runs an investment firm.

Ebrahim moved to Canada in 1977 from Pakistan and purchased Par-Pak Inc. His business acumen helped the company into becoming North America’s leading manufacturer of foodservice, bakery and produce packaging.

“I have always wanted to make a meaningful contribution towards Canada,” he said. “Charity has always been part of my family’s workings. My grandfather started an organization to help prevent blindness in Karachi in 1959. My cousin runs it now and so far the organization has helped more than 50,000 people– most from villages in Pakistan– to get cataract surgery.”

Ebrahim said he’s grateful for the success he has achieved in this country. The donation, he said was his way of saying “Thank You, Canada, Thank you Brampton.”