In 1958 she married Hungarian-Canadian businessman Geza Por (d 1965) and moved to Toronto, where she founded the periodical Opera Canada which she edited 1960-90. In 1968, with Lloyd Bradshaw, she founded the Canadian Children's Opera Chorus and served as its first president. She served 1962-79 as host of CBC radio's weekly 'Opera Time' and 1979-84 of the revised and expanded version, 'Opera in Stereo.'
Mercer was the author of The Tenor of His Time (Toronto 1976), a biography of Edward Johnson, and The Quilicos - Louis, Gino and Lina (Oakville, Ont, 1990). She contributed articles to EMC, Musical America, and Opera News. After retirement in 1990, she continued to contribute columns and reviews to Opera Canada and to serve on its board and editorial committee. Mercer was awarded the Canadian Music Council medal in 1983, and a Toronto Arts lifetime achievement award in 1988. She received honours from the State of Ohio, and from Ohio University and Cincinnati College-Conservatory, where she provided voice scholarships; she also provided a scholarship at the Banff Centre, and endowed an award for University of Toronto's Opera Division. She was invested as a member of the Order of Canada in 1995. In 1997 she donated her papers to the National Library of Canada.
Mercer has been recognized as a champion of opera in Canada and as pivotal in raising the profile of Canadian artists at home and abroad. Writing in Opera Canada about her contribution to that magazine and the CCOC, Louis Quilico said, "Her soul and spirit went into these organizations and made operatic life in Canada vibrant and meaningful."
The Quilicos - Louis, Gino and Lina: an operatic family (Oakville, 1990)
Les Quilicos. Hervé Juste, trad. (Montréal, 1992)
Numerous articles, columns and reviews in Opera Canada
Author Betty Nygaard King
Sirois, Maryse. 'Ruby Mercer et les 20 ans d'Opera Canada,' Aria, vol 3, Spring 1980
Gartner, Zsuzsi. 'Mercer, a tireless champion of opera scene in Canada,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 6 Aug. 1985
Littler, William. 'What makes Ruby run?' OpCan, Spring 1990
"Remembering Ruby Mercer," Opera Canada, Spring 1999
Links to Other Sites
Canadian Children's Opera Company
The website for the Canadian Children's Opera Company, an organization devoted to developing and producing opera for children. Their website features a performance calendar, program information, artistic bios, and more.
A profile of Ruby Mercer, founder of “Opera Canada” magazine. From “La Scena Musicale.”
Besides hockey and the maple leaf, there is little as symbolically Canadian as the CBC – the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It grew out of a developing nation's need to express its identity and find its voice.