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Heritage Community Foundation Presents
Alberta Online Encyclopedia

Feature Article


Written By: Kim Vanderleer
Published By: Calgary Real Estate News
Article Used with permission of the Calgary Real Estate Board. © Copyright Calgary Real Estate News, 2007

The ’Tooles’ for success

Legend: Patrick Toole

  • President/Co-Owner of P.J. Toole & Cote Real Estate Ltd; 1964-2001
  • President of CREB; 1967.
  • Second Vice-President of AREA; 1974
  • President of AREA; 1976
  • Director of CREA; 1976
  • Honourary Life Member of AREA; 1979
  • Honourary Life Member of CREB; 1980

In the 50+ years Pat Toole was in the real estate business, he has owned his own company, served on various real estate boards and given a lot of time to various volunteer organizations.

He says he learned everything about the business through lawyers, chartered accountants, and real estate conventions across the company and from experience.

Pat was born in Calgary in 1927. His mother was from Ontario and his father from Scotland. He has two brothers and two sisters.

He attended Sacred Heart School and St. Mary’s Boys High School.

He began his career in real estate by applying for a position with an oil company in 1948.

I used Clair J. Cote Sr. as a reference to get a job with Imperial Oil, Pat said. After Mr. Cote went home and told his daughter that he was a reference for me - his daughter knew me and said ' Why didn't you hire him"'

So Mr. Cote Sr. called me and I went to see him. He asked me how much I knew about the real estate business and I asked him 'Well, how much would I get paid"' And Mr. Cote Sr. said ' If you sell houses, you get paid'.

Pat discussed the matter over with his father who suggested he ask for a guarantee of $100 a month. Mr. Cote Sr. agreed to pay the amount and Pat went to work for his company - Clair Cote Real Estate and Investments.

Pat spent the next 10 years working for Mr. Cote Sr. He married Patricia Kelly in 1951 and began their family of nine children.

In 1958, Pat left Clair Cote Real Estate and Investments and went to work for Toole Peet Real Estate (today known as Prudential Toole Peet Real Estate). It was coincidental that he has the same last name as founder Barney Toole. He remained with the company for four years, before he decided to form a partnership with Clair Cote Jr. - P.J. Toole & Cote Real Estate Ltd.

In 1966, Pat’s brother John joined the company. P.J Toole & Cote Real Estate became one of the largest independent real estate firms in Alberta with a staff of 300.

One of the reasons that we were successful as a company was because Clair Cote Jr. and his wife Kay were the best PR people you could ever have!

After operating for four years, the company opened a north and south branch office and in 1969, they renovated a garage on 10 St. and 3 Ave SW and made it their main office.

By 1985, they had 12 offices across the province.

Pat became President of the Calgary Real Estate Board in 1967.

The oil boom in Leduc made a huge impact on the real estate business, including Pat’s company.

When I first got into the real estate business, we were dependent on farmers coming in the spring and fall to buy homes, Pat said.

But in 1951, Imperial Oil found oil in Leduc. It attracted a lot of American oil companies and the business began to thrive and grow. Oil companies would phone up and buy five or 10 houses.

P.J. Toole & Cote Real Estate expanded and branched into commercial, industrial, appraisal, insurance and the farm and ranch sectors of the business.

Pat said this was one of the biggest challenges of his career because he was recruiting, developing and training sales people. You would take them from not knowing anything about the business, you had to teach them to budget - because commission sales is a different business from anything else.

When we started moving into the different divisions, we had to train the salespeople as we went, Pat said.

Throughout his transitions with his own company, Pat served on the Alberta Real Estate Association, Canadian Real Estate Association and volunteered with the Don Bosco Home for Boys, The Catholic Diocese and the Rotary Club Foundation of Calgary.

His dedication and loyalty to the real estate business made P.J. Toole & Cote Real Estate one of the most trusted names in the province, according to an article in the Calgary Sun, June 20 , 1979.

It is through this philosophy of sincerity, honesty and dedication to a fair deal with all clients that has made them one of the most highly respected real estate operations in Alberta.

Pat Toole retired in 2001 but his daughter Maureen has followed in her dad’s footsteps - she currently works for Prudential Toole Peet.

He spends a lot of time with his family - he has nine children and 14 grandchildren.

When asked what his advice would be for anyone entering into the real estate industry, his sense of humour and lust for life becomes apparent.

Take the real estate courses offered by all the real estate boards and maybe take a psychology course!

This article was written for Calgary Real Estate News, a division of the Calgary Real Estate Board, for the series “Legends of Real Estate” showcasing important members of the Calgary Real Estate Board. Please visit the Calgary Real Estate Board online.This article is part of the collection of the Calgary Real Estate News. Please visit them online.

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