Toronto Realtor John Oliver, 80, who served two terms as
president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, died on July 24.
The well-known Realtor had a colourful career as a jockey
and steeplechase rider before getting into the real estate business. The TREB
book No Mean Business, by the late Ken Smith, says Mr. Oliver developed an
interest in horse racing in his teens and worked part-time at the old Woodbine
race track in
He became a jockey and raced there, as well as on tracks in
He served four years in the Canadian Armoured Corps as a
wireless instructor during the Second World War, and then spent some time as a
steeplechase rider and horse trainer. When that career ended, he began his real
estate career with Ted K. Mowers in
and then with R.W. Brown. He was later a manager for A. Harvey & Co. and
worked for Ken Wiles and later for Mann and Martel, all in
real estate salesman for Northwestern Securities.
In 1962, back in
he and Guiseppe Cirella established Oliver and Cirella at
firm became John Oliver Real Estate.
Mr. Oliver was president of TREB in 1978 and again in 1987.
Toronto Realtor Gordon Weiske, a long-time friend and
colleague of Mr. Oliver, sent REM a moving tribute to his friend, part of which
“John had the ability to think laterally and bring to the
debate a street-smart sense of problem solving and the re-directing of thought
for the common good, a rare and appreciated attitude. He was never ever
offended if one did not see something his way. He would argue, but never take
“He took his job as a members' representative seriously and
did not hesitate to pick a fight with anybody on behalf of a member. I remember
once, John an I had an early lunch with the late Registrar John Cox. John
relentlessly hammered the other John to get a member off the hook on an issue.
They did not see eye to eye. After many toasts in the line of duty, John Oliver,
the old soldier, accomplished the mission.
“There were countless occasions where John supported and
stick-handled true, member-friendly initiatives at our board of director's
meetings. In the `old days’ there were small brokers and big brokers, all with
their own agendas, but John fought for an even playing field.“Well, John is
gone and so is an era. We fondly remember both.”