Roy Heenan 1935-2017

Roy Heenan

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Roy Lacaud Heenan, O. C., Ad.E., B.A., B. C.L., LL.D.


Being in the art business and aware of ‘who’ collects art, I knew of Roy Heenan before I met him.  I also knew that we both shared a very keen interest in Greg Curnoe’s artwork.

One evening I made the effort to attend an art tour given by Roy at his Toronto office.  I was interested to meet him but also wanted to see his Will Gorlitz painting that he had recently purchased from the Cineplex Odeon collection. Returning home, I did not think anything would come of my brief introduction.

Roy loved art and the business of art.  When we attended art fairs in Toronto and Montreal we would see him.  He was always pleased when I would step into the aisle and re-introduce myself.  He would take the time to visit our booth, often adding another work to his expansive collection. In the handling of the Greg Curnoe Estate, I want to focus attention on important periods of Greg’s work that I feel have been missed.  Following our very well received exhibitions, “1961-65” and “Text” in 2014, we were honoured to exhibit rare Greg Curnoe works from Roy’s personal collection in “The Life of a Bike” in 2016.  Roy was enthusiastic and shared my interest in renewing attention to Greg Curnoe’s work.

For that exhibition, I worked with Roy and Rae Heenan over a two year period, visiting Montreal many times.  I would usually arrive after lunch and leave late in the afternoon.  Our time was spent talking about a vast array of subjects including Canadian art, travel, the Trudeau family, Montreal and his family.  It was very much like visiting an artist in their studio.  Over our long visits we each discovered that we shared many mutual interests outside of art – swimming in salt water, tennis and travel come to mind. 

Rest In Peace Roy. The art business will miss you, but your inspiration will live on.

Michael Gibson


Greg Curnoe

Read Globe & Mail Feature HERE


Roy Lacaud Heenan passed away on February 3rd, 2017, in his 82nd year, surrounded by his family. Dear husband for 51 years of Rae (nee MacCulloch), beloved father of Louise (Jon Meyer); Charles (Joy Lyth); Anne (Matthew Hunt); and Claire, and loving grandfather of Benjamin and Annelise Heenan and Sarah and Sophie Hunt. He was predeceased by his sister, Patricia Barker of Toledo, Ohio, and is survived by his half-brother Rod Heenan of Vancouver, BC.

Born in Mexico City in 1935 to parents Ernest and Yvonne Lacaud Heenan, he came to Canada in 1947, where he attended Trinity College School in Port Hope, Ontario. He later attended McGill University in Montreal for his Bachelor of Arts degree (Hons) (1957), and his Bachelor of Civil Law Degree (1960). Roy was Founding Partner/Chairman (1973-2012) of the law firm Heenan Blaikie, and a leading authority on Canadian labour, employment and administrative law. He was an adjunct professor at the Faculty of Law at McGill University and also lectured at Queen’s University, Université de Laval and the University of Ottawa. He was an international speaker, as well as a well-known patron of the arts.

He was Founding Chairman and Director of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation (2002-2012). He also sat on many boards including the CBC, the Jarislowsky Foundation, and the International Historic Heritage Foundation. Over the years he sat on the board of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, The Beaverbrook Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of Ontario, and he was the Chairman of the Musée d’art comtemporain de Montréal (1994-1998). He was a keen member of the Atwater/Montreal Badminton and Squash Club, the Montreal Indoor Tennis Club and the Hillside Tennis Club.

Roy received numerous honours, including being appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1999 in recognition for being ‘one of the country’s leading labour lawyers who has also made significant contributions to academic life and the art world’. He was also conferred the honourary title of Lawyer Emeritus in 2008 by the Barreau du Quebec, and was awarded in May of the same year a Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from McGill University. Known for his enthusiasm, humour, and generosity, he was a friend and an inspiration to many.

Visitation at the Kane & Fetterly Funeral Home, 5301 Decarie Blvd., (corner Isabella), Montreal on Thursday, February 9th from 6:00-9:00 pm. Funeral Service at St. George’s Anglican Church, in downtown Montreal, on Friday, February 10 at 1:00 pm. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Cedars Cancer Foundation (Supportive and Palliative Care Fund) ( or St. Matthias’ Anglican Church, Montreal ( Condolences may be sent to