Edward Sonshine was born to Holocaust survivors in a displacement camp in Germany. When he was two years old, the family moved to Canada where Sonshine studied to become a real estate lawyer. After 15 years working as a lawyer, he realized that he knew far more about real estate than his clients and wanted to get into the business. However, it was the early 1990s, Canada’s real estate market was in a terrible slump, and Sonshine was in deep debt. Nonetheless, he founded RioCan in 1993, and over 20 years developed it into Canada’s largest real estate investment trust. It now has $14 billion in assets, investing in some 350 commercial properties across North America, including malls, supermarkets, office buildings, and movie theatres. Over the years, Sonshine has become famous for his solid business ethic, as well as active community involvement, and charity work. For these reasons, he was awarded Canada’s Outstanding CEO of 2013. He credits his wife of 45 years for being responsible for much of his success, as well as his tough upbringing as both a Jew and an immigrant, all of which ensured that he worked hard. “I spent the first three or four years,” he describes, “going around knocking on a lot of doors explaining to people what a REIT [Real Estate Investment Trust] was… I was just looking at making a living. I was worried about bringing home groceries.”
Words of the Week
Money is fire: it can destroy and annihilate, or illuminate and warm, depending on how it is used.
– Rabbi Elimelech of Lizhensk