About Riva & The Wall

About Riva Spatz


Riva Spatz (2)

Mount Saint Vincent University (the Mount) is proud to name the Women's Wall of Honour for Riva Spatz, World War II survivor, wife and mother, supporter of her family and volunteer to her community.

Born Riva Melamedek on Nov. 10, 1922, in Maniewiece, Eastern Poland, she was one of Josef and Chana Melamedek's six children. As a young woman she survived the Holocaust when she and her younger sister and brother were sent by their parents to join a partisan group and become resistance fighters against the Nazis.

After the war, she moved to Munich, where she met and married Simon Spatz. Together they moved to Canada in 1950 and built a new life in Halifax surrounded by family, friends and other survivors. The compassion that led her to study nursing echoed throughout her entire life – raising her children, working to support the business she and her husband created, and maintaining a strong sense of community and family connection.

She and Simon raised their daughter Shirley and son Jim to continue this legacy. Jim Spatz left a career as an emergency room doctor to take over his father's real estate business and is now Chairman and CEO of Southwest Properties Limited. Southwest is one of Atlantic Canada’s leading real estate development companies and a staunch supporter of the Mount and its celebration of great women from all walks of life in the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research.

This beautiful facility celebrates women’s contributions to business, public policy, family life, academia, the arts, sciences and community. The Riva Spatz Women’s Wall of Honour is a unique installation in Canada that allows donors to commemorate special women by preserving their name and memory on the wall, thus ensuring her legacy along with Riva Spatz's for generations to come. Riva had a full life, filled with both joy and pain, loss and rebirth. She died peacefully on Oct. 30, 2013 at 90 years of age. She is fittingly commemorated here, at Canada’s leading university focused on the advancement of women.

Visit the virtual Women's Wall of Honour to read more tributes

What is the Women's Wall of Honour?


WWOH Outside

The Riva Spatz Women’s Wall of Honour is the only one of its kind in Canada. Located in a garden setting at the Mount, it will serve as a centerpiece of the Margaret Norrie McCain Centre for Teaching, Learning and Research at Mount Saint Vincent University.

The Riva Spatz Women’s Wall of Honour is for all Canadians looking for a lasting, compelling and significant way to honour those women who most shaped and influenced their lives. It will display the names of 700 women on leaves across seven named panels. In addition, each woman will be featured on the virtual Women's Wall of Honour, where her name, photo and inspirational story can be shared, not only with visitors of the wall, but with the world.

Visit the virtual Women's Wall of Honour