The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD) and Canadian Macedonian Place Foundation (CMPF) are pleased to announce a special collaboration – the Macedonian Tribute Ball – to honour two distinguished Canadians of Macedonian origin – Chris Paliare and Vonna Bitove. The Macedonian Tribute Ball will be held on Saturday, September 20, 2014. Paliare will receive the Global UMD Lifetime Achievement Award, and Bitove the Global UMD Macedonian Heritage Public Service Award.
“Chris and Vonna are exemplary leaders and pillars in the Canadian-Macedonian community, who have done so much to uphold our rich Macedonian heritage in Canada, and the world, defend and strengthen the human rights of our people,” said global UMD President Metodija A. Koloski and Ball Co-Chair.
These two outstanding individuals have not only helped improve Toronto and society-at-large through their pioneering work in the legal and medical fields as well as their philanthropy and their tireless community service, but they have given so much to the Macedonian community and have both raised the profile for all Macedonians globally,” said CMPF Board President Marilyn Trentos and Ball Co-Chair.
“I am both honoured and humbled to have been the recipient of the Global UMD Lifetime Achievement Award. It has truly been the highlight of my personal and professional career to assist Macedonians in Canada and internationally in any way possible. My commitment to Macedonia and Macedonian causes stems from the rich heritage that I enjoyed as a child from both sides of my family. Growing up living with my paternal Baba and Dedo certainly spawned in me a love of all things Macedonian,” said Paliare.
He concluded “many other committed Macedonians who, like me, were prepared to toil endlessly on behalf of our brothers and sisters for fairness, justice, an independent country and basic human rights for all Macedonians have assisted me throughout my work for Macedonia. While we have made great strides to achieve results for the benefit of Macedonians both in historic Macedonia and globally, there remains much to be done. We cannot be satisfied with what we have achieved so far.”
“I am very honoured to receive the Global UMD Macedonian Heritage Public Service Award as I have always been inspired by the volunteer work done by my Mother and the generations of Macedonian women who came before me,” said Vonna Bitove. “I hope this will motivate more Macedonian women to get involved in leadership roles in our community for the benefit of our people and future generations.”
Founded in 2008, the United Macedonian Diaspora (Canada) is a registered Canadian charity addressing the interests and needs of the Canadian-Macedonian community, while promoting and protecting Macedonian heritage and culture in Canada. UMD Canada administers the UMD John L. N. Bitove C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Fund.
Built in 1978, Canadian Macedonian Place provides quality, affordable accommodations, food, medical resources and companionship to seniors of all backgrounds with an aim to encourage the vibrant Macedonian culture in the city of Toronto, Ontario and all of Canada. Through the Foundation, CMPF provides funding to media and education and the arts to help promote and strengthen the Macedonian culture and community.
Proceeds raised from the Macedonian Tribute Ball will benefit the important work of both organizations, including the UMD John L. N. Bitove C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Fund.
Chris Paliare O.Ont., LSM, LL.B., LL.M., a founding partner of Paliare Roland Rosenberg Rothstein LLP, is a pioneer in boutique litigation. His unique combination of sophisticated legal skills, strategic instincts, and creativity has earned him recognition as one of the top litigators in Canada. Prior to Paliare Roland Barristers, he was a partner at Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP and Cameron Brewin & Scott.
Paliare’s practice covers all aspects of counsel work, including appeals, complex corporate and commercial litigation, securities litigation, administrative law, public law, class actions, Charter of Rights and constitutional litigation, defamation, employment law, pension litigation, and white collar crime. He has appeared before numerous administrative tribunals as well as in every level of trial and appellate court in the Province of Ontario, and the Supreme Court of Canada. Acting on behalf of professionals who have come into conflict with their regulatory agencies, Paliare regularly appears before the Divisional Court, the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and before disciplinary bodies. He is a frequent lecturer and speaker to professional industry groups on the impact of litigation trends and employment and labour issues.
Among Paliare’s numerous accolades are being listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada in Public and Administrative Law, Class Actions, Corporate Commercial Litigation and Labour and Employment Law for the last 10 years and named one of the 50th most influential people in Toronto in the December 2012 Issue of Toronto Life Magazine. He received the Osgoode Hall Law School Alumni Association Gold Key Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2008, and the prestigious Law Society Medal in 2004. He was made Member of the Order of Ontario in 2011.
Paliare is also a Fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, American College of Trial Lawyers and International Society of Barristers. He is also an honourary Fellow of COMBAR.
With origins from Tryse, in Aegean Macedonia, present-day Greece, Paliare’s family moved to Canada in approximately 1915. He has been active in the Canadian-Macedonian community all his life. As one of the founders of the Canadian Macedonian Place, he has continuously served as a Board Member since 1979, served as its President from 1992-1999, and currently Vice-President. He is a founder of the Macedonian Canadian Lawyer’s Association, and a Macedonian Companions member of the United Macedonian Diaspora. Since 1991, Paliare has contributed thousands of hours of pro bono work – including international cases involving the human rights of Macedonians, principally in Greece. He has represented Macedonians at the OSCE Conference on the Human Dimension in Moscow (1991), Helsinki (1993), and Warsaw (1996).
Paliare earned his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1970, and his LL.M. from University of Texas at Austin in 1971. In 1973, he was called to the Bar of the Province of Ontario with Honours, and has been a member in good standing of the Law Society of Upper Canada ever since.
Paliare is married to Eva Marszewski and has two daughters, Zoë and Julia, who are all also committed to social justice for Macedonians.
Vonna Bitove is Executive Director of the Bitove Foundation. Since 1999, Bitove has served on the Board of the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation. A nurse by profession and a graduate of the Toronto General Hospital School of Nursing, Bitove has volunteered in a leadership capacity for a number of major fundraising events in support of the hospital, including The Wine Classic and the Dr. Michael Baker Tribute Dinner.
Through her family foundation, Bitove has been a long-time supporter of the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, having supported a number of areas, including the creation of the Bitove Foundation Professorship in Adult Congenital Heart Disease. In 2013, she helped establish the Dotsa Bitove Wellness Academy in honour of her mother. This Academy is a first of its kind in Canada and was created to provide care for those living with dementia.
Born in Canada as the eldest child of five to John L. N. Bitove, C.M. and Dotsa Bitove, Vonna Bitove’s roots come from Gabresh, and Shestevo, in Aegean Macedonia, present-day Greece. Her grandparents arrived in the early 1900s to North America. She has held leadership positions with the Canadian Macedonian Place Foundation and the Daughters of Macedonia, and has assisted various Macedonian Orthodox church communities and helped establish the UMD John L. N. Bitove, C.M. Macedonian Heritage Scholarship Fund.
She is the mother to John, Sasho, Jenna and Gabriel, who are all proud of their Macedonian heritage.