2013 Social Social

Pierre Bourgie is a great patron of the arts, with a passion for visual arts and music. This born philanthropist gave the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ (MMFA) Erskine and American United Church a new vocation by transforming it into a concert hall with high-quality acoustics and a breathtaking décor. A businessman of conviction, he has long been recognized for his dedication to culture in Montréal.

Pierre Bourgie discovered the world of the arts at a young age when taking piano lessons. Studies at the University of Ottawa opened the door to other artistic disciplines, and he developed an unexpected interest in culture and visual arts during an art history course.

After university, Pierre Bourgie joined the family business, Urgel Bourgie, taking its reins in 1979. He proved to be a shrewd entrepreneur, soon tripling the funeral business’s revenues, before selling it to North American interests in 1996.

It was at this point that he took his first steps in philanthropy by getting involved with community organizations, marking the beginning of a promising career. He sits on many boards of directors, including those of the Sainte-Justine Foundation, the Musée d’art contemporain and Le Devoir.

After selling the family business in 1996, Pierre Bourgie took over management of the Société Financière Bourgie, a diversified investment company that he still manages today. His career evolved with several other major financial firms: he was at the head of Montréal Partners from 1997 to 2009 and has been president of Ipso Facto since 2000. 

Never one to rest on his laurels, in 2008 Pierre Bourgie had his eye out for a major social project that would combine his interests in art and music. The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ acquisition of the Erskine and American United Church was just that project. His idea to transform this historic site into a concert hall received warm welcome at the MMFA.

His major contribution to the project kicked off a $42-million fundraising campaign. At the same time, Mr. Bourgie founded the Arte Musica Foundation to manage the venue and part of its programming.

The Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion, named in honour of his parents, and Bourgie Hall were both inaugurated in September 2011. From the first season, the musical programming surpassed expectations, with 120 concerts and rooms filled to 98% of capacity.

The Arte Musica Foundation and the Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion form the cornerstone of Mr. Bourgie’s social contribution to Greater Montréal. His initiative enabled the MMFA to add a new musical dimension to its offerings and position itself as one of the most dynamic cultural institutions in the country.  

In 2012, Pierre Bourgie received a number of honours in recognition of his contribution to society and culture. He was named an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec and received the prestigious Prix Arts-Affaires for his part in the development of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. 

As part of his ongoing efforts to improve funding to Quebec cultural organizations, Pierre Bourgie chaired the Task Force on Cultural Philanthropy, mandated by the government in January 2013 to identify the causes of the Quebec’s relative lag in philanthropy. The task force report, published in June 2013, featured proposals and initiatives to boost individual and business contributions to culture, resulting in a rapid mobilization of players from all sides.