Well known throughout Vancouver and beyond as a prominent business leader and builder, an exceptional citizen, an avid sportsman, a passionate philanthropist, and the driving force behind the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, John W. (Jack) Poole, OC, OBC, BSc, forever changed the landscape of the Lower Mainland. UBC is honoured to celebrate Jack’s inspiring story and incredible legacy, and we gratefully acknowledge the Jack and Darlene Poole Foundation for their generous support of the Robert H. Lee Alumni Centre.
Born in the small town of Mortlach, Saskatchewan, Jack graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1954 with a degree in civil engineering. He then moved to Calgary, Alberta, where he began his career with Engineered Homes Ltd. and discovered his passion for real estate development. In 1963, Jack moved to Vancouver and co-founded Daon Development Corporation with partner Graham Dawson. Formed to build housing and provide community amenities in resource towns throughout British Columbia, the company grew to become, at one time, the second-largest real estate development and investment company in North America. In 1989, Jack teamed with David Podmore to form VLC Properties Ltd., the precursor to today’s highly successful Concert Properties Ltd.
In 2001, while enjoying semi-retirement with his wife Darlene, Jack was asked to combine his professional expertise with his love of sports and serve as chair of the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), a role he held until his death three months before the Games began.
Jack received many accolades for his lifetime of leadership and service, including the Order of Canada, the Order of British Columbia and Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. In recognition of his leadership in the world of sport, Jack was named Sports Media Canada’s Executive of the Year in 2003 and the Jack Diamond Sports Personality of the Year in 2004, and he was inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame as the 2005 W.A.C. Bennett Award winner. He was also honoured with the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Order.
Over the years, Jack was recognized as BC’s Tourism Industry Leader of the Year, and Vancouver Junior Board of Trade Community Service Leader. He was also recognized with the President’s Distinguished Community Leadership Award from Simon Fraser University, and with the VGH & UBC Hospital.