Nazmudin (Naz) G. Rayani
Naz Rayani's desire to work in a field that combined healthcare, business and community involvement led him to Scotland as a young man to study Pharmacy at the Robert Gordon University of Aberdeen. He opened his first pharmacy in Nairobi, Kenya in 1972, but immigrated to Canada two years later to live and work in a more politically stable environment.
In 1978, Naz purchased the Western Drug Mart Pharmasave in Colwood, a suburb of Victoria, and quickly built strong community ties by sponsoring local athletes and promoting health education programs and events. In 1986 Shoppers Drug Mart acquired his business and Naz oversaw the Canwest Mall location until 1991, when he purchased the small independent Cadboro Bay Pharmacy. It was a business that would provide him with a greater opportunity to invest in the community and participate in fundraising activities. In 2001, after discussions with staff and faculty about the increased need for on-campus services for student, he along with his daughter Zahra opened his second drugstore in the Student Union Building of the University of Victoria. In 2011, after recovering from a life threatening illness, Naz along with his family acquired the Pharmacy locations at Shelbourne Plaza, Fairfield Plaza and Fairfield Rd. at Moss Street.
Working to improve living conditions in Third World countries is a cornerstone issue that Naz holds close to his heart. The main focal point for his time and energy, aside from his business, is the “World Partnership Walk”, which is held in Victoria on the last Sunday in May. Naz helped to bring the Walk to Victoria 22 years ago and became the third convenor for the walk in 1994. Naz is passionate about the Walk as a means to increase public awareness about global poverty and to help raise funds to support Third World economic development programs administered by the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. As testimony to his determination to promote and expand the reach of the Walk, a record $250,000 was raised in sponsor donations in 2009, and Naz personally raised over $60,000 in 2011.
A devout Ismaili Muslim and well- known spokesperson in Victoria, Naz has also worked tirelessly to break down barriers among people of different faiths. Since the tragic events of September 11, 2001 he has conducted regular tours of the Ismaili Jamaktkhana and Centre (Mosque) in Burnaby to encourage understanding and the acceptance of others. As of 2013, over 2,500 Victorian’s had “taken the tour”. He also works hard to broaden community support for the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society at the University, an organization that has given him a chance to be an ambassador of his faith and in particular the Ismaili Community. Naz has also participated in learning about other faiths and has been involved with St. George’s Parish, Christ Church Cathedral and The United Church in Cadboro Bay for many years.
On December 15, 2006 Naz was appointed to the Order of Canada by her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaelle Jean, Governor General of Canada, at the Order of Canada Investiture Ceremony held at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
In 2012, Naz received the Lifetime Leadership Awarded from Leadership Victoria for his lifetime commitment to charitable causes and leadership in philanthropy.
On June 11, 2013 The University of Victoria recognized Naz with a Honourary Doctorate from the Faculty of Humanities in recognition of his efforts to build connections between communities, his efforts to raise funds to create an endowment for Islamic literature and books for the library and his lifetime of community service.
In 2014, Naz was recognized by the Chamber of Commerce with the Governors' Lifetime Achievement Award.
Take the Tour
Naz is a tireless advocate of bridge building and community building. He has as part of that vision organized tours of the Ismaili Centre in Vancouver to learn more about Islamic architecture and Ismaili, Muslim community in Canada. Since 1991 he has taken over 3000 guests from Victoria for a one day tour of the centre. If you are interested in learning more click here.
- Born in 1943 in Kisumu, Kenya.
- Completed Ph.C. Pharmacy program at Robert Gordon University.
- Immigrated to Canada in 1974 with his young family.
- Worked as a Pharmacist on the Lower Mainland from 1974 to 1978.
- Moved to Victoria, B.C. in 1978 and acquired the Colwood Western Drug Mart.
- Acquired Cadboro Bay Pharmacy in 1991.
- Opened second Pharmacy at the University of Victoria in 2001.
- Appointed to the Order of Canada in 2006.
- Acquired Peoples Pharmacies in Shelbourne Plaza, Fairfield Plaza and Fairfield at Moss St. in 2011.
- Received an Honourary Doctorate from the University of Victoria in 2013.
- Naz and Yasmine have been married for 42 years.
- Proud parents of Zahra and Rasool, and grandparents of Aniqa, Sofia Noor, Naeema, Khaila and Kamilah.
- 2014 Governors' Lifetime Achievement Award from the Greater Victoria Chamber Of Commerce - Speech
- 2013 Honourary Doctorate, University of Victoria
- 2012 Lifetime Leadership Achievement Award, Leadership Victoria - Speech
- 2007 Appointed to the Telus Community Board
- 2006 Appointed Member of the Order of Canada
- 2004 Runner-Up for Citizen of the Year, CFAX
- 2002 Business Person of the Year, Victoria Chamber of Commerce