James Allen Pattison

James Allen Pattison

James Allen Pattison

James Allen Pattison, known as Jim Pattison, is a Canadian business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. He was born on October 1, 1928, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, but grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, after his family moved there during the Great Depression.

Early Life

Pattison's early life was marked by his parents' struggle to make ends meet during the economic downturn. Despite these challenges, he showed an entrepreneurial spirit from a young age. He attended John Oliver Secondary School and was active in student activities, demonstrating leadership qualities that would serve him well in his future business endeavors.

Education and Early Career

After high school, Pattison attended the University of British Columbia but dropped out before completing his degree. He was motivated to start earning money right away and entered the workforce by taking various jobs, including selling cars, which turned out to be a formative experience. His prowess in sales became evident when he established himself as a top car salesman, setting the stage for his future success in the automotive industry.

Business Ventures

In 1961, with a loan and his savings, Pattison ventured into entrepreneurship by acquiring a General Motors car dealership in Vancouver. This single dealership was the beginning of what would become the Jim Pattison Group, now one of Canada's largest privately held companies. Over time, his business expanded to include a diverse range of sectors such as media, packaging, food sales, and entertainment.

His business philosophy was grounded in hard work, customer service, and an unrelenting drive for success. Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Pattison continued to grow his empire through acquisitions and expansions, delving into various industries and showcasing his versatility as a business leader.

The Jim Pattison Group

By the 1980s, the Jim Pattison Group had become a conglomerate with operations not only in Canada but also internationally. The company's portfolio includes numerous industries such as advertising, broadcasting, grocery store chains, and even involvement with the Guinness World Records.


Beyond his business achievements, Pattison is also known for his charitable work. He has made substantial donations to healthcare, education, and community services. For instance, he contributed $75 million to the St. Paul's Hospital in Vancouver and has supported the Vancouver General Hospital and the University of British Columbia, among other institutions.

Recognition and Personal Life

Pattison's contributions to the economy and his philanthropic efforts have earned him recognition and honors. He has been appointed to the Order of British Columbia and the Order of Canada. Though he is a public figure because of his business acumen, Pattison is known to maintain a relatively private personal life.

As of my knowledge cutoff in 2023, Jim Pattison remains active in his business pursuits despite being well into his 90s, serving as a testament to his enduring work ethic and business savvy. His story is one of determination, adaptability, and commitment to both profit and the public good—a legacy that has left a significant mark on Canadian industry and society.