Former mayor and businessman led an internationally lauded revival from down-and-out mining town to successful retirement community
George Farkouh, the former mayor of the City of Elliot Lake who helped shepherd the northeastern Ontario community from mining town to a wildly successful retirement community, died at his home on Aug. 29. He was 76. Farkouh was mayor from 1989 to 2006.
Born in Acre, Palestine in 1947, he moved with his family to Beirut, Lebanon and from there to Canada in the 1950s, reuniting with a sibling and eventually settling in the newly created uranium mining town of Elliot Lake. His wife of 50 years, Louise, was a neighbour.
Educated at the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario, Farkouh worked at Canadian Imperial Bank of Business. He turned down an opportunity to continue a finance career in Toronto to return to Ellliot Lake in 1975 to work with his brother Fawzi and open a General Motors dealership, Farkouh Chevrolet. During the 1980s, the business grew into three dealerships on the North Shore where Farkouh was the dealer principal for 36 years until his retirement in 2022.
His political leadership skills were tested shortly after his election. The community’s two uranium mining companies, Denison and Rio Algom, announced in January 1990 they were shuttering operations.
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