James Allen Pattison, OC OBC (born October 1, 1928) is a Canadian business magnate, investor and philanthropist. He is based in Vancouver, British Columbia where he holds the position of chief executive officer, chairman and sole owner of the Jim Pattison Group, the second largest privately held company in Canada. He is considered Canada's fourth richest person.
Pattison's parents resided in the rural town of Luseland, Saskatchewan, when he was born at the hospital in nearby Saskatoon. Growing up in East Vancouver, British Columbia his first summer job was playing trumpet at a children's church camp and later picking fruit (raspberries, cherries, and peaches) during the summer while in high school. Pattison had many jobs while in high school, including selling doughnuts in the school parking lot, selling seeds door-to-door, delivering newspapers, and working as a page boy at the Georgia Hotel. He graduated from John Oliver Secondary School in 1947.
After high school, he worked in a cannery, a packing house, as a labourer building bridges in the mountains, and then for the Canadian Pacific Railway as a dining car attendant before accepting a job washing cars at a gas station with a small attached used-car lot. By chance, while the regular salesman was away, Pattison sold one of the cars on the lot and found his profession. He parlayed that success into a job selling used cars during the summer at one of the largest used-car lots in Vancouver, using his earnings to pay for his studies at the University of British Columbia (although he did not complete his studies being three classes short of a business degree).
After leaving school, he linked up with a local General Motors dealer and in 1961, using his sales skills to persuade a Royal Bank manager to lend him eight times the branch's limit, he opened a Pontiac dealership on Main Street near his elementary school, and, a quarter century later, was selling more cars than anyone else in Western Canada.
His company, the largest privately held one in Canada owns numerous car dealerships, Peterbilt truck dealerships, Overwaitea Foods, Save-On-Foods, and Quality Foods. Ripley's Believe It or Not!, Guinness World Records and radio & TV stations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. He also owned the Vancouver Blazers of the World Hockey Association.
Pattison led the organization of Expo 86 in Vancouver as the chief executive officer and president of the Expo 86 Corporation. When he was appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the award noted, "Although others may have had the initial vision for Expo ’86, it was Jimmy Pattison who was the expediter – the one more than anyone else who made it happen. He demanded much of his team but no more than he himself was prepared to give. This he did, almost full-time over a five-year period, without compensation..."
On February 15, 2008, Jim Pattison Group announced the purchase of the GWR organization, the company known for its Guinness World Records franchise. Its annual book, published in more than 100 countries in 37 languages, is the world's best-selling copyrighted book. Pattison, who owns approximately 30% of the shares of Canfor, in a dispute over governance with money manager Stephen A. Jarislowsky, whose firm owned 18%. Pattison won and ousted CEO Jim Shepherd over Canfor's poor performance and declining share price, replacing him for the interim with Jim Shepard.
He was involved with the committee for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. Among other honours, Pattison is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of British Columbia. He was also listed as No. 177 on the 2015 Forbes list of the world's richest people. He is also listed as the richest Canadian.
On April 16, 2009 Jim Pattison announced that Save-On Foods had donated $100,000 to CBC Television in order to rent high-definition television trucks for away games during the Vancouver Canucks' 2009 1st round NHL playoff series versus the St. Louis Blues. Prior to this donation, CBC stated that it would not broadcast high-definition away games in St. Louis due to the cost of renting high definition equipment during the current tough economic times and major cuts to funding for the CBC by the federal government.
Pattison is a well known philanthropist and an article in The Globe and Mail noted, "He has always given away 10% of his income." In July 2013, he donated up to $5 million to Victoria Hospitals Foundation (Victoria, British Columbia), to support its "Building Care Together" campaign to purchase new equipment for the new patient care tower at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. In recognition, the hospital named the ground floor lobby of the patient care tower "The Jim Pattison Atrium and Concourse." In 2011, Pattison contributed $5 million to add his name and to match public donations for a $10 million 100-day fundraising campaign in Surrey, British Columbia for the new Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre run by Fraser Health.
On March 28, 2017, Pattison donated $75 million to the construction of the new St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver, a Canadian record for a private donation to a health care provider. On May 30, 2017, Pattison and the Jim Pattison Foundation announced they were donating $50 million, the largest private donation in Saskatchewan history, to the new Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan which is expected to open in 2019. It was also announced that day the new hospital would be named in his honour.
At a Los Angeles auction on November 17, 2016, Pattison purchased (for $4.8 million) the Jean Louis dress worn by Marilyn Monroe when she sang Happy Birthday, Mr. President to President John F. Kennedy at a celebration of his 45th birthday.
Pattison's father was already in the business back in Luseland, Sask., on the day in 1928 that his only son was born...
It was my first summer job and I loved it,” says Pattison. “I travelled, I met a lot of people, I played my horn, and I met my future wife. We’ve been married 61 years. It was a huge experience for me.