June 26, 1928 – March 30, 2018
Samuel Belzberg will be remembered as a self-made businessman and an inspirational philanthropist.
An Officer of the Order of Canada, Sam Belzberg was Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vancouver-based Gibralt Capital Corporation, a private real estate and capital investment firm that operates throughout North America.
His business endeavors began in Calgary, Alberta selling used cars and eventually founding First City Financial – a multi-billion dollar financial services and holding company located in Vancouver, British Columbia. Throughout his years he became an unstoppable deal maker both in Canada and the US.
On the heels of selling Balfour Holdings, a successful real estate company that at its peak operated 26 projects, Sam Belzberg started a private equity and real estate investment company now called Gibralt Capital Corporation. He served as the CEO and Chairman, leading several funds including Second City Capital Partners, Second City Real Estate, and current fund, Balfour Pacific Real Estate.
Sam Belzberg was also a well-known philanthropist, funding projects in Vancouver and elsewhere in North America, including the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, which is dedicated to “preserving the memory of the Holocaust.” Mr. Belzberg put up the initial $500,000 to start the centre in 1977. Since then, it has grown into an influential, non-governmental organization dealing with issues of racism, prosecution of Nazi war criminals, Middle Eastern affairs, extremist groups and hate on the internet.
Locally, he headed the initial $13.5-million campaign to aid Simon Fraser University’s downtown satellite campus. After donating $1 million himself, he gracefully thanked late SFU chancellor Jack Diamond “for picking me to have this opportunity.” The Samuel & Frances Belzberg Atrium at the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue is named after him and his wife, Frances.
With Frances, Mr. Belzberg founded the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation. They set up the charity after one of their children developed the little-known neurological movement disorder that is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions.
Mr. Belzberg’s recent work with Action Canada, which aims to create and maintain a network of outstanding young Canadians who will influence public policy, was very important to him.
Sam is survived by his wife Frances, his sister Lil, his children Cheri, Marc, Wendy and Lisa, 16 Grandchildren and 13 Great-Grandchildren.
In honor of Mr. Belzberg, the family has established the Samuel Belzberg Memorial Fund through the OneFamily Organization founded by his son Marc Belzberg. To donate please follow the links below.
May his memory be a blessing.