FOUR WAYS TO MAKE A MILLION
It is said that the age of the millionaire has passed, that no longer can a poor boy, or even a poor little rich boy, make his own fortune. The recent lives of these four men — alike only in the color of their money — prove this notion is wrong
MANY PEOPLE CONCLUDE that nowadays it’s no longer possible to parlay energy, enterprise—and a bit of luck—into a million dollars. Recently a financial paper declared that top-heavy taxation in the welfare state, plus the wide distribution of responsibilities in complex corporations that control most of the country’s wealth, have made the hero of the get-rich-quick story an obsolete character; that young men of the type who a generation ago would have set themselves a million-dollar goal are now settling for fat executive salaries — and big pensions.
It’s true that it is harder to accumulate a personal fortune today than it was in the freewheeling first half of the twentieth century. But it’s still being done. What’s more, a
sampling of Canadians who have done it in recent years shows that the pattern—or lack of pattern— of how to make a million hasn’t changed. The four men whose rise to riches is described in this article are so different in personality, background and method that they really have only one thing in common: the million (or several millions) they have acquired.
Only one of the four is a ragsto-richcs millionaire in the old Horatio Alger tradition. He is Rex Heslop, who went to work as a building laborer in his teens without entering high school. At forty he was still a wage earner and his wife was working as a waitress to help support the family. But by fifty he had made millions by building and selling houses in the suburbs of
Toronto. Heslop made his fortune by taking a calculated risk—with other people’s money. But he differed from other fast-buck operators in the almost naïve frankness with which he revealed the risk to his creditors. Once he told a machinery dealer from whom he sought $250,000 worth of equipment on credit: “I want you to go broke with me.”
Another of the four millionaires belongs to the opposite tradition of wealth. William Wilder’s father was a millionaire. Wilder himself married a millionaire’s daughter. He was born rich and has added to his wealth by following his father’s footsteps as precisely as if he were wearing his late father's shoes. From as early as he can remember there was never any doubt or conflict about where he wots headed. His full-scale education (Upper Canada College, McGill University, Harvard Business School) was a matter-of-course preparation for joining Wood Gundy and Co., Ltd., one of Canada’s largest and wealthiest investment dealers, of which his father was vice-president. When Wilder Sr. died at forty he left several million dollars. Today at thirty-nine his son is also vicepresident and is slated to succeed president Charles L. Gundy and thus become one of the greatest financial powers in the land.
A background of Toronto wealth and an Upper Canada College education led a third millionaire along a very different path. Peter Bawden
reacted to his background (his father is Henry N. Bawden, vicechairman of Dominion Securities Ltd. and the director of many companies) with protest rather than compliance. He became, in fact, an off-beat character. He took less interest in school than in his selftaught career as a square-dance caller. He neglected his homework to take all the dance engagements offered, anil on the side peddled apple cider to the dancers. This aimless beginning ended abruptly when Bawden paid a chance visit to Edmonton. He found there the atmosphere he had subconsciously been seeking. At thirty-two he is worth four and a half million dollars. owns a fast-growing oil well drilling business and is a pioneer of oil exploration in the Arctic islands.
A COMPULSIVE MONEY-MAKER
The fourth millionaire differs from the others in being a compulsive money-maker. The first three chose careers which incidentally made them wealthy. Geoffrey Stirling from an early age turned his hand to projects because they were profitable and he wanted the pleasure and power that comes w ith the possession of great wealth. His father was a modestly prosperous Newfoundland businessman, and Geoffrey was depressed by the thought of inheriting a business that “had gone as far as it could go.” When his father died in 1950 Stirling, still in his twenties, already had
more money than his father had accumulated in a lifetime. Today Stirling's six-figure income derives from a Newfoundland newspaper, radio and television station, and the new Montreal radio station C'KGM which in eighteen months has captured the largest Englishspeaking audience in that city.
The difference between a millionaire and an ordinary man, Stirling says paradoxically, is about $25,000. In other words, he believes
that making a million is not too difficult once a man accumulates a few thousand dollars as a stake.
Stirling himself wasted little time in doing so. His father sent him to Ramsgate grammar school in England, where he learned principally that English schoolboys were singularly lacking in commercial instinct. On his return to high school in Newfoundland he started his first business venture.
He organized twenty schoolmates into a C hristmas card sales force. His team also sold magazine sub-
scriptions and low-priced mailorder furniture from door to door.
When still in his teens he worked during a winter vacation in a herring-smoking factory, the owners of which complained bitterly about fluctuations in the price of their product. Stirling decided to “play the fish market.” He bought a consignment of smoked herring, put his own labels on the crates, and sold the lot in New York on the day prices hit their peak.
One of Stirling's assets as a money-maker is a card-index mind
that files bits of apparently unrelated information and contrives to combine them into profitable projects. For example, in 1940 he was rejected by the army because of an old back injury, and a day or two later he read a news item about a serious wartime shortage of leather. The connection? He had hurt his back while high-jumping in a prewar Central American track meet. On that jaunt he had watched natives hunting alligators for their skins, and had seen the fine leather the alligators yielded.
Stirling invested his savings in a rifle and a passage to Honduras, where he went into the alligator skin business. Soon, in addition to his own catch of alligators, he was buying skins from native hunters and selling them at a profit. In 1943. when he was twenty-one. he made more than $25.000—and was ready for bigger business.
But first, to acquire a wider knowledge of business and finance, he joined a New' York company and became a business efficiency expert. He also did office work for the
biggest business operation of wartime America, the Lend Lease administration. He stayed a year, then returned to St. John's. His mental card index was clicking with a money-making idea: a new newspaper.
In Honduras he had been impressed by the enterprise of the Miami Herald, which hired pilots to drop bundles of the Herald to remote English-speaking settlements. In Newfoundland, he knew, because of the scattered population. only eight people in a hun-
dred ever read a newspaper regularly.
He remembered, too, from his English schooldays, the exciting make-up and content of the uninhibited London Daily Mirror. In comparison, he considered the existing Newfoundland newspapers stodgy and conservative. He persuaded a job printer named Dave Thistle to print his first issue on credit. Stirling then staked the whole of his $40,000 capital in editorial, circulation and advertising costs of the paper which he
named after the enterprising Miami paper which inspired it.
The first issue of the Herald was badly printed—the type was faint. But it was a success, for three reasons. It had the jazzy layout and gossipy content reminiscent of the London Daily Mirror; it captured the immediate attention of 20,000 sealers who received their copies on the ice floes, wrapped in distinctive bundles and dropped from an aircraft. It was also full of advertisements, canvassed by the indefatiCONTINUED ON PACE 66
continued from page 31
“I’m not a stock man,” the young millionaire said
gable salesman and promoter, Geoffrey Stirling.
Started in 1946. the Herald entrenched itself in 1949 by opposing Smallwood’s confederation policy. Stirling believes that the Herald had a strong bearing on the fact that forty-eight percent of Newfoundlanders voted for independent national status and closer economic ties with the United States. The Herald’s policy also appealed to eighteen thousand United States servicemen who were in Newfoundland at the time, and so helped to increase its circulation and raise the advertising rates.
As the Herald progressed. Stirling diversified his enterprise. Furniture was in demand so he imported a low-priced range, stored it in a warehouse and reverted to his schooldays idea of hiring door-to-door salesmen to solicit orders. At the same time, the Newfoundland village of Gander was booming as a refueling base for transAtlantic aircraft. Stirling got a share of the pickings by taking over a nearly bankrupt restaurant and bowling alley on the fringe of the airport and making them pay.
In several communities where the telephone company had no objections Stirling employed shifts of girls to occupy a small office twenty-four hours a day and give the exact time free to anybody who cared to telephone in. The service made money out of advertisers whose names were mentioned when the girls gave the time.
Stirling also once contrived to turn an investment of $2,000 into $8.000 on the stock market. “But I’m not a stock man at heart,” he says.
In one year — out of debt
The success of the Newfoundland Herald convinced Stirling that his vocation was advertising. In 1945 Stirling noted that a private St. John’s radio station did not get on the air until ten in the morning and was closed all day Sunday. Stirling offered the owner $20.000 a year for the broadcasting time the station was not filling. The owner refused.
Stirling applied for a radio license of his own; the same man opposed the application on the grounds that the volume of advertising in St. John's did not justify two stations. But Stirling got a license for a station he named CJON. Then Stirling talked the RCA Victor company into selling him radio transmitting apparatus on time. In its first year of operation CJON grossed more income than its rival, which had been in business twenty years, and in 1950 it was out of debt.
In 1955 Stirling was the successful candidate for the license of Newfoundland’s first private television station, CJON-TV. Stirling bought $750.000 worth of broadcasting equipment, once more on time, from RCA Victor. To sharpen his future listeners’ anticipation of the forthcoming television programs. Stirling broadcast daily radio reports of the technical progress made at the new station by the RCA Victor installation engineers. He also tried to persuade RCA to sponsor the progress reports and so sell RCA Victor television receiving sets. But RCA could not believe that the hardheaded Newfoundlanders would buy television sets before TV broadcasting began. So Stirling sold sponsorship of the RCA Victor progress reports to a rival TV manufacturer, Fleetwood. When CJON-TV went on the air with its RCA broadcasting equipment. RCA was chagrined to discover that fifty percent of the TV
set market had already been captured by Fleetwood.
As the TV station flourished, Stirling began looking for other ventures. For three years he tried to get a radio station license in Montreal but was turned down because several existing stations were losing money.
“If they are,” Stirling told one hearing, “it is on account of bad management.” The owner of a French-language station that was on the rocks heard Stirling’s remark and offered him a chance to prove his statement by serving as a consultant for a percentage of any profits that might ensue. Stirling changed that station into a profitable operation in eighteen months. He says he did it by firing untalented staff members, by increasing the pay of the competent employees, and by improving the “image” of the station by throwing out $100,000 worth of questionable advertising.
“You cannot operate a successful radio station without properly paid talent,” he says, “and you cannot get people to listen to a station once they’ve discovered that some of its commercials are tricks designed to get a salesman’s foot inside their doors.”
Stirling’s rescue of the failing Frenchlanguage station influenced the Board of Broadcast Governors and in 1959 they granted him a license for CKGM, a station that today holds thirty-eight percent of the English-speaking listeners, a larger share than any of its competitors.
CKGM has been criticized as “just another rock-and-roll station,” but it bears Stirling’s unmistakable stamp. Writing recently of Stirling’s techniques. Dr. J. Roby Kidd, director of the Canadian Association for Adult Education, paid tribute to “an extraordinary news policy.” Kidd said: “The news is not butchered. There are no eleven-word news flashes which slant and befuddle rather than illuminate. The evening news is given its full value. It may run half an hour or several hours if the story is important.”
Stirling’s station, unlike most radio stations, has an editorial policy. His newscasts are followed by thoughtful editorials, written by professional writers and spoken by professional performers. Recently CKGM campaigned successfully for legalized margarine in Quebec, and has alerted listeners to the rising importance of civil defense.
Stirling’s most sensational venture at CKGM took place last winter when he broadcast, for more than two uninterrupted hours, a debate at McGill University between the British historian Arnold Toynbee and the Israeli Ambassador to Canada, Yaacov Hertzog, on the touchy matter of Jewish treatment of Arab citizens in Israel. Herbert Manning, CKGM’s news editor, says: “The ratings show that we had nearly everybody in the city listening to us that night and our telephone lines were jammed with callers.”
From time to time Stirling inserts into CKGM’s seemingly endless round of pop tunes such programs as an hour of Dylan Thomas, poetry readings by Ned Pratt, two hours of classical music, debates on events at Parliament Hill, and philosophical discussions under the heading “The World of the Mind.”
“Nobody can afford to run a private radio station solely for middlebrows and highbrows,” he says. “You've got to make your profits out of the lowbrow audience, which represents ninety-seven percent of the population, and subsidize the middle and highbrow shows.” At present CKGM broadcasts from 9 p.m. until midnight arguments conducted over the telephone between listeners and a disc jockey named Joe Pyne. Stirling admits that much of the talk is banal but he’s noted a “gradual improvement in the standard of discussion.”
“Occasionally,” says Stirling, “you will
get, quite unexpectedly, a mass audience for what you think is a highbrow show. The Toynbee-Hertzog debate was a good example. On the other hand when we ran the Dylan Thomas poetry nearly everybody switched us off. But there’s some satisfaction in knowing that the handful who stayed with us probably got a taste for something good. The effect could be cumulative.”
Stirling’s early (very early) preoccupation with raising capital for his various projects leads him to think that new business ideas wither for lack of funds. He is interested in a plan to get ten thousand businessmen in North America to put a thousand dollars each into a fund. This fund would grant to ten thousand highschool and university students one thousand dollars capital each for a summer vacation business enterprise.
"The students would have to prove to some sort of board that their ideas show a possibility of profit,” he says. “A lot of the money would go down the drain, of course, but some of it might lead to the founding of an important corporation.”
Stirling also believes that the Canadian government should set up for young businessmen the sort of help it is now giving to young artists through the Canada Council. He suggests a $l()0,000,00()-fund for the granting of interest-free loans to young businessmen “who have a good idea but no capital. If we believe in private enterprise we’ve got to show our faith in it.”
Stirling, at thirty - nine handsome and sophisticated, with a Laurentian chalet and a Montreal apartment, a winter home on a mountain top in Arizona, expensive cars &nd horses, a beautiful blonde wife, oil paintings, rich friends and travel, epitomizes the modern idea of success.
“A business.” he says, “like a marriage, must be fundamentally sound. If it is unsound at the beginning no amount of work will make it right.”
He adds: “Although I spend a lot of time in my office I’ve never really done a day’s work in my life. All I’ve done is enjoy myself. If you want to make a million dollars you’ve got to do something that gives you excitement, pleasure and a feeling of giving the public a lot of what it wants and a bit of what you think it needs.”
In the summer of 1943 when young Geoffrey Stirling was confidently en route to his first million, middle-aged Rex Heslop was uncertain about his next dollar. He was unable to work because of a leg injured in a rockfall in a Kirkland Lake mine, and was running into debt trying to live on seventeen dollars a week compensation. Then his wife Delma went to work as a waitress and started paying off their debts. On some debts she could afford as little as thirty cents a week.
Up to that time Heslop, nearly forty years old, had rarely owned as much as a thousand dollars. Before World War I his father. Garnet Wesley Heslop. left a small farm in Etobicoke Township, near Toronto, and began building houses in the city. Rex left school to help his father. Garnet Heslop’s construction project prospered modestly, but the depression broke him. Rex became an odd-job man and part-time taxi driver. He sold cars for a time in Detroit, and next peddled hot dogs at a Lake Erie resort.
The beginning of World War II emptied the resorts but Heslop had already decided to try for the high wages he heard were being paid miners in the Kirkland Lake area. There his fortunes reached a new low.
“But in a way my accident was lucky,” Heslop says now. “It gave Delma and me a chance to prove our honesty. In Kirkland Lake we got a reputation for paying our debts in spite of difficulties.”
Heslop returned to Toronto and got a twenty-nine-dollar-a-week job in a factory.
The housing shortage forced him to take a room in a small war workers’ hotel his father operated in suburban Port Credit. The overcrowded conditions depressed Heslop. He wanted a house, but houses were scarce and expensive and he hadn’t any capital. So once more Delma went back to work. “She nearly killed herself,” says Heslop. “but she gave me the chance to save seven hundred and fifty dollars in a year.”
In 1944 the Long Branch town council decided to sell a number of housing lots that had been seized for taxes during the depression. The price was $10 each, but the buyer would have to build on them w'ithin a year. Without any clear idea of how he was going to fulfill that condition, Heslop bought four lots. “I was in business,” he says, “for an investment of forty dollars.”
Heslop harked back to the building experience he’d gained as a youth. Alone he drew up the plans for a house that satisfied a mortgage company. Then, working in his spare time, he began to build the house with his own hands on one of the tendollar lots. He used his wife’s savings, his
factory pay, small loans from his father and sister, and advances from a mortgage company to buy bricks, lumber, cement and fixtures. A Russian immigrant helped him in return for lessons in bricklaying. The house cost $7,000. Heslop moved his wife and child into it in less than a year. There was no hardwood on the floors. The bathroom and kitchen were unfinished. But it was a home — and an office.
Encouraged by the quality of Heslop’s first house, the mortgage company agreed to finance his construction of three more on the remaining ten-dollar lots. Still working during his hours free from the factory, but now employing casual labor, Heslop built them and made a small profit. Heslop asked Delma to give up her job and the profit soon disappeared in living expenses. But the experience convinced him that he could earn money as a builder.
“I had made contact with mortgage sources, building suppliers, municipal officials and labor,” he says. “I had passed every penny I had received and spent through the bank so that the bank manager would know how I opeiated. I had laid the foundations that are essential to big business — a credit background and banking record.”
In 1947 Heslop heard that his bank manager was to be transferred. He dropped into the manager’s office to say good-by. The outgoing manager introduced him to the incoming one, a man named Harold Bairstow.
“I knew,” says Heslop. “that new managers are always hungry for business. So I asked Bairstow for a loan to enable me to start up as a builder. I had no security. My own house was mortgaged up to the hilt. But I had a name for building and a good credit rating. I told Bairstow he could look into my Kirkland Lake record if he liked.”
Bairstow advanced Heslop $2,000, the
most he could lend without consulting his head office. Bairstow says today: “I had a hunch that Heslop was reliable. I knew he was a good builder. There was a big demand for the type of low-price houses he wanted to put up.”
The first use Heslop made of his loan was a $200-down payment on a used car. In it he drove around, looking for land. Soon afterward he put down $112 — ten percent of the total price — on four and a half lots in Alderwood, a suburb of Toronto. He converted the four and a half lots into six lots and drew plans for half a dozen houses to sell at $7.(MX) each. He sold one house before it was built by showing customers the plans and pointing out to them the quality of his own home.
Heslop used the living room of his house as an office. When his daughter Marilyn had a birthday party the guests had to play among stacks of plans, blueprints, invoices, correspondence, T squares, plumb lines and other building paraphernalia. Delma became his assistant.
Working on limited capital, Heslop walked a financial tightrope. Despite the housing shortage, dwellings were hard to sell because down payments required in those days were twenty-five or thirty percent.
“I was juggling with my receivables and my commitments all the time,” he says. “Sometimes I had to ask the bank for an overdraft. Sometimes I had to keep my creditors waiting. Occasionally 1 did parttime work as a foreman for another builder to supplement my income. Delma and I limited our living expenses to thirty dollars a week.”
Heslop says he learned three vital lessons: to pay subcontractors and laborers before anybody else; to keep down the pressure of creditors by paying out small sums on account whenever possible; and to ask for bank loans with a confident air.
From putting up groups of six houses Heslop turned to groups of twenty, then thirty, mostly in Toronto's western suburbs. Then he saw some land in suburban Alderwood that would take a hundred houses. The owner wanted $65,000 for it. At the time Heslop had only $2,000 working capital. Some $20,000 of his own money was tied up in unsold houses. “I'll give you two thousand dollars down and you can catch me for the rest.” he suggested to the owner of the land. The latter agreed to the $2,000 deposit but demanded the remainder in two years. Heslop gambled on his ability to put up and sell a hundred houses in two years. On the strength of the $20,000 he had tied up in finished houses, Heslop got another loan from the bank and began a development named Elmwood Park.
Now he employed an English immigrant. Les Percival, as a clerk. Today Les Percival says: “There were times at Elmwood Park w'hen a panic on the part of one creditor would have finished us. But Mr. Heslop had a way wdth creditors. He never avoided them. He told them frankly his position. He told them they would be paid eventually and he kept his word.” Heslop says: “I borrowed money w'henever I needed it. I never w'ent to the bank with a cock-and-bull story. Banks have heard every cock-and-bull story that was ever invented. I always told the manager exactly where I stood and exactly what I was doing, and I never failed to get Lelp. I never whined about my troubles. I knew that nobody trusts a cry-baby. I always acted like a winner.”
The Elmwood Park houses sold so well that Heslop paid for the land in seven months. In 1951, when the project was complete, the auditors figured that Heslop was worth a quarter of a million dollars. He bought a Cadillac in 1952 and thoroughly enjoyed the sensation it caused in
Long Branch, where he continued to live. Later, he bought another.
“I found out what I had always suspected,” he says. “Everybody loves a big shot. I no longer had to ask for loans. Banks were offering to lend me money. I began to move higher in banking circles. Harold Bairstow, the bank manager who had lent me the original two thousand dollars, had been promoted to head office. He remained my closest adviser.”
Driving around one Sunday Heslop saw more than a hundred acres of farm land in Etobicoke. It lay within easy distance of
Malton Airport, of A. V. Roc Canada Ltd., of De Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd., and of the projected 401 highway that would link the area to Toronto. He bought the land for $110,000 put up 330 houses for $9,000 and $10.000 apiece, and had customers lining up for them on evenings and week-ends.
Meanwhile he was quietly buying or taking options on adjoining land. Eventually he had a thousand acres. He then talked the Etobicoke township into zoning the land into industrial, shopping and residential areas. Heslop embarked upon what
was then the biggest residential building project in Canada. “I knew 1 would lose my shirt if things went w’rong,” he says, “but 1 decided that if there was going to be a crash it would be a big one.”
As in the past, he operated on other peoples' money — on bank loans and suppliers’ credit. He telephoned Jim Crothers, a Toronto dealer in heavy construction equipment, and said: “I want you to go broke with me." With that he bought from Crothers, on credit, a quarter of a million dollars worth of bulldozers, scrapers, trench diggers and other machines. To
In all, Rex Heslop spent more than $8,000,000 on the huge housing district he named Rexdale
eliminate time that might be lost in town council arguments he sank another quarter of a million dollars in sewers, thus becoming the first land developer in Canada to install services that up until that time had normally been supplied by the municipality.
He sold some of the land to other builders, and built on the remainder himself. By 1954, a thousand homes had gone up, surrounded by light industries and served by a shopping plaza and schools. Heslop called the district Rexdale. Altogether he spent more than eight million dollars there and swelled his personal assets to more than a million.
The movement of industry into suburban Rexdale convinced Heslop that urban decentralization was a growing trend. In 1954 he bought 1.800 acres in Georgetown, then a community of 4,000 inhabitants heavily dependent for employment on two paper mills and another large factory. He called his holdings Delrex, a combination of his wife’s and his own name.
The name Rex. it might be noticed, has a fascination for Heslop. He incorporates it into the title of nearly every enterprise he initiates. A projected traffic throughway in his Georgetown development is to be named Rexway. Recently when Heslop showed a visitor the route of Rexway he explained: “It means Kingsway. Rex is another word for king.” Heslop says his mother, whose own unusual maiden name was Queen Anne LaRose, never tired of reminding him that “Rex means king.” Today Heslop is undoubtedly the uncrowned king of Georgetown. And, like most kings, he has trouble with some of his subjects.
When Heslop laid out Delrex, it received the approval of the town council with the proviso that he would maintain Georgetown’s existing ratio of forty percent industrial development to sixty percent residential. This proviso was based on the fact that industrial property yields higher tax revenues than residential prop-
erty because no school costs are involved.
Heslop agreed. He then put up, on one subdivision, 850 houses. The houses sold fast, mostly to employees of A. V. Roe Canada Ltd., and the population of Georgetown shot up from 5,000 to 10,000. But only a few small companies bought land for factories and warehouses on the industrial sites. Critics began to say the area was a little too far from Toronto to attract industry.
Georgetown’s ratio of industrial property to residential sank from forty to twenty-five percent. And because of the need for schools taxes soared. Lack of sufficient employment in Georgetown forced the breadwinners to make long daily drives into Metropolitan Toronto.
The distance was not excessive for the A. V. Roe workers who had only twelve miles to drive to Malton. But when the federal government abandoned the Avro Arrow fighter aircraft in 1957 most of the A. V. Roe workers lost their jobs. After the Avro collapse eighty percent of the workers domiciled in Georgetown had to adjust themselves to long distance commuting. Many began to sell their houses and prices sagged. Owners who then couldn’t afford to sell at a loss became disgruntled.
Next the council refused to let Heslop subdivide the remainder of his land until he had sold the empty factory sites and produced the agreed forty-sixty ratio of assessable industrial property.
Unable to build and sell factories or houses Heslop is stuck today with dead capital — millions of dollars sunk in hundreds of acres of unused land. He is selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of construction equipment because he has no work for it. And he is maintaining in relative idleness an administrative staff in the spanking new Delrex office building. The staff includes Harold Bairstow, his former bank manager who joined him as general manager four years ago, and Les Percival, the office manager who has been
in his employ since the Elmwood Park
Other problems have mounted in Heslop’s face. He had sold houses cheaply in Delrex by leaving the streets unpaved. During the muddy winters of 1957 and 1958 a local ratepayers’ association threatened to sit up all night in cars outside Heslop's home and blow motor horns rhythmically until he agreed to foot the cost of paving. According to agreements the paving was the responsibility of the town council, but most of the home owners blame Heslop. Storekeepers in the old part of Georgetown resent the competition of the huge Delrex shopping plaza and have voted anti-Heslop candidates into the town council.
Heslop’s difficulties have not sapped him of bounce. As a gesture to comparative economic stringency Heslop has sold the family’s string of four saddle horses. But he still keeps three Cadillacs and a late model Plymouth. His son, Rex Jr., attends an expensive private school. When his daughter Marilyn married a few weeks ago 200 guests sat down to a champagne wedding breakfast on the grounds of his elaborate $150,000 home. The home, sit-
uated not far from the shopping plaza and hundreds of less pretentious Heslop-built houses, has an eighty-foot recreation room, an all-season swimming pool, a four-car garage and landscaped grounds.
Meanwhile Heslop is trying to persuade the council to release him from his fortysixty factory agreement and permit him to build 800 more houses. He argues that the houses, which will include many luxury dwellings on ravine lots, will yield enough in taxes to keep the municipality solvent. To drive home his views Heslop is giving the services of his personal public relations man to a new weekly newspaper financed by local businessmen who are pro-Heslop.
But the anti-Heslop forces are strong. Many Georgetown men would like to see him forced to sell his land cheaply and pull out. Meanwhile his working capital is draining away in wages, taxes, and depreciating equipment.
Not long ago, when Heslop was making a service club speech, a group of men arose ostentatiously and left the room. While he entertains big parties of local people Heslop admits sadly that Delma and he are rarely invited back to the homes of their guests. “The other wives seem to think that w'e will think that their homes are not good enough for us,” he says. “Yet there is nothing Delma and I like better than sitting down to a simple meal at a kitchen table. People forget that once we lived just like they do.”
When Heslop was driving around the unpaved streets of Delrex a few weeks ago he waved to a group of women sitting on a front lawn. The dust from his Cadillac wheels sprayed gently over the edge of the grass. The women stared stonily back and for a moment Heslop seemed to feel less kingly. “Problems,” he said. “Have I got problems. I tell you it’s easier to make a million bucks than it is to hang onto it.”
Another millionaire who realizes, like Heslop, that it’s easier to make a million than to hang on to it is Peter Bawden, at thirty-two the youngest of the four. Bawden figures he’s worth four and a half
million dollars “as a going concern,” but adds that if he had to liquidate his oil well contracting company under pressure, he might be down to his last million.
Bawden. who in his late teens showed no signs of following in his rich Toronto father’s footsteps as a financial executive but instead spent his time as a caller at square dances, happened to spend a summer at a naval training station in British Columbia. On his way back to Toronto he stopped at Edmonton.
“It looked like the frontier to me,” he says. “There seemed to be opportunities.”
He decided to stay for a year and see what they might be.
He got a job as an order clerk with a lumber company in the Peace River area. Two months later the manager of the yard left and Bawden, aged twenty, succeeded him. The next week the* Peace River Record-Gazette began carrying ads for the lumber company. Each ad also noted that Peter Bawden was the manager.
While Bawden enjoyed his new responsibility it wasn’t exhausting him. “I’d always had an idea I’d like to work for myself,” he says. So he bought a truck and
began making deliveries to the store’s customers, charging them for the service.
Bawden’s main group of customers included the nomadic oil development companies which had just begun to drill in the area. “They hadn't found anything yet,” Bawden says, “but they were very active.” They needed supplies. Bawden trucked cement, heavy lumber, pipe and groceries out to the drilling camps. Soon he added a second truck, insulated to protect the grocery deliveries against the fierce winter weather. He took on a partner. Bill Barraclough, and called the outfit The Peace
Bawden began in 1952 with one oil drilling rig worth $225,000. Today, his firm has twenty-three
River Cartage Co. They'd go anywhere and haul anything. Some trips covered 500 miles and took four or five days to complete. "The only job 1 refused was to lift furniture in the evenings,” Bawden says.
One of the drivers pointed out to Bawden that it seemed a shame to come all the way back from Great Slave Lake with an empty truck after delivering a load of groceries. Why didn't he load up with fish,
and have a return payload? Bawden investigated fish prices and in December the truck brought back a ton of fish.
But the market didn’t develop. “Fortunately," Bawden recalls, “it was a very cold winter. We dumped the fish in the back yard and spent the rest of the winter in the fish business. I got rid of several hundred pounds right away, but in the end I was selling them a fish at a time, and
even giving them away. We only threw away about twenty-five fish, and managed to break even.”
As Bawden trucked around the Peace River country he was fascinated by the oil drilling rigs. Whenever he stopped on a drilling site he asked questions. “One of the tool pushers began calling me the guy with a million questions,” Bawden says. One of his drivers suggested that if he was
so interested in the rigs he should buy one.
“It sounded like a good idea,” Bawden says. He quit the lumber company, left the Peace River Cartage Co. in the hands of his partner, and prepared a prospectus for a drilling company. With this in his brief case he returned to Toronto to seek money. He found among friends eighteen shareholders who put up $280,000. Raising the money wasn't too difficult in 1952, he says, because “oil was a pretty dramatic and glamorous idea then. It’s matured since.”
The Peter Bawden Drilling Company began with one rig that cost $225,000. “But before we’d even got our first job, I discovered the drilling business was entering its first depression. It was a bad time— though not so bad when I think what’s happened since.” Bawden’s response to depression was to buy, with the backing of the drilling supply companies, a second rig in November.
Between 1952 and 1958 his company added four more rigs to its equipment. In 1958 Bawden bought out the Husky Oil Company’s drilling pperation, and was then operating twelve rigs. The next year he bought Trident Drilling and added a further twelve rigs. Today Bawden's outfit runs twenty-three active rigs. “We had to scrap one,” he points out, “and we’ve got another in the yard we don’t count.”
This is a business he’s been able to combine with two of his major recreations, flying and fishing. The company owns two planes, a DC3 it uses to transport equipment, and a twin-engined Super Widgeon amphibian.
Six years ago Bawden and Bob Sparrow, another Toronto man who is now his vice-president and general manager, made an exploratory trip to the Arctic, in the hope that some day they might move drilling equipment into it. They traveled from Great Slave Lake to the Arctic Ocean in an outboard motor boat. When they reached the coast they joined an Eskimo whale hunt. Two years ago Bawden made the trip with his wife, Judy. It was fairly exciting, Bawden reports, because they had trouble with the sand bars and had to stand five miles offshore, not the happiest situaiton in a small outboard on the Arctic Ocean. “I suppose it was dangerous,” Mrs. Bawden says, “but I didn’t think to worry. Peter’s so cautious — he wouldn't take any risks.”
Bawden is cautious. He doesn’t like risks. He found his success and would like to further it “in things close to the frontier, where opportunities are greater and the competition isn't so stiff.” Having built the drilling company to the third largest in Canada he now wants to diversify. “If you can succeed in the drilling business you should be able to do almost anything,” he feels. “Of course if I’d known in 1952 what I know now about drilling I don’t suppose I'd have tried it.”
But since August the rigs of Peter Bawden Drilling Ltd. have been working in what even frontier-minded Peter Bawden admits is frontier territory — on Melville Island in the Northwest Territories. His clients are thirteen oil companies and mining groups headed by Dome Petroleum. His operation is part of a million-dollar exploratory project aimed at the eventual production of Arctic oil for the United Kingdom, Europe and eastern Canada. Such oil, for the U. K. and European markets, would be only half as far as their present nearest source — the Middle East.
Bawden hesitates to offer any advice on how to make your own million. The first thing, he thinks, is to try something, anything. Personally he prefers a frontier,
though that can mean different things to different people. “If you’re in Toronto it’s Calgary, and if you're in Calgary it’s the Peace River country. You often find you have to get away and look for your opportunities. One thing about a frontier is that the people who are already there don’t consider it one.”
Of one thing he’s sure. Most young people today want too much security, and they want it too soon. “If you're afraid to leave security and comfort you’re not likely to find yourself on any frontier.”
Six years ago Bawden learned how to combine profit with fun. “I said to myself.” he says. “ ‘Here we are in Calgary, and here’s the chuckwagon race, which is the biggest item of local color. Maybe I ought to get interested.' ”
He got interested, and was soon teamed up wfith one of the best chuckwagon drivers in the business, Dale Flett. Bawden supplied the money for horses and wagons.
w'hile Flett did the training and driving. Twice in six years Dale Flett has brought the wagon with Peter Bawden’s name painted in bold letters on its side in first, a feat that, with the hysterical co-operation of most of the adult population of Calgary, can make a person well-known.
One man w'ho came to town and couldn’t get Bawden on the phone because he kept looking in the directory for Peter Hodden, finally appealed to the telephone company for help and was informed by an alert information girl that he was spelling the name incorrectly. “Do you know him?” the visitor asked. “I think,” she answered, “you’ll find that everyone in Calgary know's Peter Bawden.”
On the other hand, practically nobody in Canada outside his own social circle and in the rarefied world of high finance know's William Price (Bill) Wilder, a thirty-eight-year-old Toronto millionaire. “People in my business,” he says, “usually try to avoid publicity.” Although he is the least spectacular of the four, he is undoubtedly a more important factor in the nation’s economy than the other three “accidental” millionaires combined. This is not because of his personal wealth, but because in his job he influences the use and disposition of more wealth than any “ordinary” millionaire.
Wilder is the executive vice-president and probable future president of Wood
Gundy and Company Ltd., one of Canada's oldest and most influential firms of stockbrokers.
Wood Gundy and Company specializes in underwriting the issues of industrial, commercial and government bonds. When a big corporation or a government wishes to borrow money from the public at a fixed rate of interest it goes to companies like Wood Gundy. Wood Gundy buys the bonds in big blocks and then sells them to its clients in smaller blocks for a quarter or a half of one percent more than it paid for them. Such clients as insurance com-
panies, mutual funds and banks mi^ht buy the bonds in thousands, and small investors might buy them in fives, tens or hundreds.
It's a complex business. In running a company like Wood Gundy, Bill Wilder will need what one of his friends describes as “plenty on the ball.”
For three generations the Wilders have had plenty on the ball. Wilder’s grandfather prospered so well out of a general store and two farms near Picton, in eastern Ontario, he could afford to send his son to the University of Toronto. At university Wilder's father met a man named
Reginald Gundy who was a cousin of J. H. Gundy, the man who founded Wood Gundy in 1905. Through this connection Wilder’s father got a summer vacation job. and then a permanent job with Wood Gundy. Before he was forty Wilder’s father rose to be a vice - president of Wood Gundy. At forty, he died, and, despite the Depression, left several million dollars.
Bill Wilder went to Upper Canada College and then to McGill. He was only eighteen in 1941 when he left McGill to join the RCNVR. But he was commissioned, and seconded to the RN. In RN destroyers
he saw much combat. Then he returned to McGill. “I had expected,” he says, “ever since I had been a small boy that one day I would follow in my father’s footsteps and join Wood Gundy.” He did. He worked through the statistical department which docs all the arithmetic. He worked through the trading department which takes orders from clients to buy or sell certain stocks and bonds. And he worked through the sales department which sends out salesmen to contact people with money and interest them in buying stocks and bonds. Wilder might have remained in a modest position if he hadn't shown ambition. He had no material need of ambition. He had plenty of money of his own. Furthermore he married eight years ago Judith Bickle, the daughter of the late Edward W. Bickle, a stockbroker, company director and millionaire.
Even so he took two years’ leave of absence and put himself through the Harvard school of business. When he came out he was one of those men who can look at a company’s annual report and see almost in a flash why it lost money that year or why it made a remarkable profit.
To function properly in his present job he has to have a working knowledge of almost every type of business, how it produces its goods, how it sells them, how it advertises, what sort of labor it needs, and whither its policy is leading it.
It is only through possession of this knowledge that he can advise his clients w'ith confidence to buy, or to refrain from buying, a given corporation's stocks or bonds. If Wilder habitually gave bad advice about investments Wood Gundy would soon begin to lose its clientele. As things stand Wilder enjoys the confidence of the heads of vast investment organizations, men who live on interest and dividends.
Wilder considers himself “most fortunate.” He doesn’t think it is easy for other young men to acquire as much money as he has. “The number of big private fortunes gets steadily smaller,” he says. “The average young man with no capital can hope for very little more than a good job.”
Wilder says it would be almost impossible, for example, for a young man to buy a corner drapery store and build it into a department store like Eaton's. "When Timothy Eaton started,” he says, "the department store was a new idea. Now there’s no room for more.”
The most recent big new idea, he says, is the development of the supermarket. Both Loblaw Groceterias and Steinberg’s grew from small shops.
Wilder has a feeling that money could be made out of a rehabilitation of the railroads. “We have vast investments in railroad tracks and in highways,” he says, “and the highways are getting an undue share of the payload. Private cars are running bumper to bumper on the highways and drivers are getting tired of it. The big growth of the power boat business is a sign of highway fatigue. A new network of fast comfortable trains, with the emphasis on commuting in metropolitan areas, might be a very good idea. And there is money in good ideas. If I knew of any really good new ideas right now I’d be in on them.”
Although Wilder thinks that it is difficult to accumulate capital starting from scratch he does not believe it is impossible. He advises young men who want to make a million to go into the stockbroking business. "When you are working eight hours a day in the stock market.” he says, “you cannot help coming across an occasional opportunity of turning a small sum into a big one. Not only in the stock market, but in every line of business a chance to make a fortune arises at least once in a person’s lifetime. Most men don’t recognize it, or are too cautious to seize it.” if