Jack Poole rose from relatively poor beginnings to become one of Canada’s most successful builders and community leaders. He played the founding and lead role in the building of two major real estate development companies now readily acknowledged to be among Canada’s most successful.
Jack has served his community with great distinction. This lifetime of success and service was capped by his leadership of the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games in Vancouver. Jack agreed to take a salary of one dollar a year and pay all of his own expenses. His experience, credibility and unique leadership style are rightly given credit for being that indispensable difference that made sure Canada had a winning bid.
Jack was born in 1933 in the village of Mortlach, Saskatchewan. His parents instilled in Jack optimism, the importance of education and the belief that there was no limit to his future if he applied himself. His father’s lineage provided Jack his 1/32 Cree blood, and the Metis status in which Jack took great pride. Jack sometimes mentioned that he graduated in the top two of his grade 12 class in Mortlach. He then pointed out that his school had only one room, and that his grade 12 class consisted of only two students, Jack and Helen Forbes. He finished second.
Jack married at 17, and by the time he graduated with a degree in civil engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, he was the proud father of four daughters. Moving to Vancouver in 1963, his own entrepreneurial vision took shape and in 1964, Jack co-founded Daon Development Corporation which formed to build housing in resource towns. The company grew to become the second largest real estate development and investment company in North America. He expanded out of BC to design and build some of North America’s finest projects, ranging from major apartments and office buildings to shopping centres, warehouses, residential lots and homes in major centres.
Jack was the co-founder of another quality, award-winning development company, originally known as VLC Properties Ltd. and now as Concert Properties Ltd. Jack was Chairman of The Board at Concert until his death in October 2009.
Jack’s business and personal successes have been matched by what he’s given back to the communities in which he’s lived. He chaired numerous charity drives and dinners, and participated regularly in fundraising efforts for civic, provincial and federal political parties. A generous supporter of community initiatives, including ongoing philanthropic support for such British Columbia institutions as the BC Children’s Hospital, the Vancouver General Hospital, the University of British Columbia Hospital and the Arts Umbrella, Poole also helped bring the Molson Indy race to Vancouver. He and his wife, Darlene, established the Jack and Darlene Poole Endowment Fund for pediatric oncology research.
Jack enjoyed great success in Vancouver, his community of choice since he moved here almost 50 years ago, but he had always been someone who took advantage of his personal good fortune by making sure he gave back to the community he chose to call home. Jack Poole was a builder who made a positive difference in his community, his province and his country.
Jack was a proud husband with five children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.