B.C.’s business community loses a giant in Joe Segal

The billionaire philanthropist passed away today.

Joe Segal

Credit: United Way

If you visited the Four Seasons Hotel in Vancouver with any frequency before it closed in 2020, chances are you had a run-in with Joe Segal.

The accomplished entrepreneur served in World War II before settling in Vancouver and founding Fields Stores and later buying Zellers and a stake in the Hudson’s Bay Company.

He also developed real estate in B.C., forming Kingswood Capital Corporation, and was a recipient of both the Order of Canada and Order of British Columbia.

But Segal was always generous with his time, and he could often be found occupying “Joe’s table” at the Four Seasons, sharing wisdom with both established and budding entrepreneurs. He also became one of B.C.’s more prolific philanthropists, donating his time and money to numerous causes around the province.

Segal died earlier today at the age of 97, leaving behind his wife of more than 70 years, Rosalie Segal, four children, 11 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

Peter Legge, chairman and CEO of Canada Wide Media (which owns BCBusiness), wrote a book called Lunch With Joe, in which Legge gathered stories of wisdom from more than 90 of Segal’s Four Seasons dining companions.

“He was a mentor to me for more than 40 years and his wisdom, humour and business acumen were always on point,” says Legge.

“I am devastated by his passing. He contributed so much to our city and to the community and has left an incredible legacy. The city has lost an icon and a truly generous and compassionate person. My most sincere condolences to my dear friends, the Segal family, on the immeasurable loss of their beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather.”