Tony Toldo, philanthropist, dies at 84

The industrialist and philanthropist Anthony P. Toldo, a member of the Order of Canada, has died of cancer in Windsor, Ont.

The industrialist and philanthropist Anthony P. Toldo, a member of the Order of Canada, has died of cancer in Windsor, Ont.

Toldo, more commonly known as Tony, died late Thursday night at the age of 84.

Toldo was a giant who left "an indelible mark on our community," Mayor Eddie Francis said Friday in a news release.

Anthony P. Toldo, a successful industrialist and generous philanthropist, has died of cancer in his hometown of Windsor, Ont. ((University of Windsor))

His "passion for, and influence on, our community will be felt for years to come," Francis said.

Toldo had a long history in Windsor.

He graduated from a high school machine shop program there in 1945 and went to work for a bathroom fixtures company, according to a biography on the University of Windsor website.

Toldo became "one of the most successful industrialists in the city's history," the biography says.

He founded his own company, Telso, in 1964, and later took on other business ventures, including Centoco Manufacturing, which produced toilet seats, and Peter Anthony Design, which manufactured furniture for some of North American's largest fast food franchises.

A major philanthropist

But Toldo is perhaps better known, at least in Windsor, as a generous benefactor who, through his Toldo Foundation, contributed millions of dollars to more than 20 organizations in Windsor and Essex County.

He is the founder of the $18-million Anthony P. Toldo Health Education Centre at the University of Windsor, which houses the faculty of nursing and the Southwestern Ontario Medical Education Network, and opened in 2003.

He also helped fund the Alessandro Toldo Seniors' Centre in Windsor's Italian community, and supported the United Way and the Windsor Symphony Orchestra.

Tony Toldo with Governor General Michaëlle Jean at his investiture into the Order of Canada on May 4, 2007. ((CBC))

In 1998-1999, he donated more than $1.9 million to the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre.

He was also major contributor to the John McGivney Children's Centre for children with disabilities and Windsor Regional Hospital, among many other institutions.

On Friday morning, Ontario Minister of Finance Dwight Duncan, who represents the riding of Windsor-Tecumseh, called Toldo "a wonderful friend and mentor."

"I would just urge everyone in the community, as we mourn his loss, that we also celebrate the enormous contribution he's made to the lives of thousands of people," Duncan said.

"I'm going to miss him," Duncan added, fighting back tears. "He did enormous things for this community."

His philanthropy was one reason he was made a member of the Order of Canada by Gov. Gen Michaëlle Jean on May 4, 2007.

Toldo "consistently displays his entrepreneurial flair and commitment to excellence," his citation read.