The Book of Soden

 History of the  Soden Family 1146 - 1950

‘Tall’ Soden Stories 6

Jim Soden of Canada

On November 20th, 2009 , a great Soden passed on.James Arthur Soden, born October 20th, 1922, passed away at the age of 87 in Toronto. James Arthur Soden was awarded the Order of Canada in May, 2003.


                                       Citation for the Order of Canada



in the 1960s which pioneered the worlds first omniplex, Place Ville Marie, in Montreal, the bringing on stream of this and other developments across Canada.


A man of integrity and vision in the world of commercial real estate, Jim Soden opened up a new era for real estate and Canadian economic development. Under his leadership, Canadas first public investment vehicle for real estate was born. During this period ,under Sodens stewardship, Canada was established  as a world leader in the development of major urban multi-use complexes and investors from all over the world visited Canada to take note of these advances and called upon the Canadian development industry to undertake similar developments on their behalf.


The revitalization of Montreal?s downtown core as well as those Soden led in other major cities of Canada, including Halifax, St. John, Toronto , Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver became a pre-eminent vehicle for national economic growth and development. For the first time individuals and companies , domestic and international , took a financial stake in Canadas architecture and in its economy through real estate, a new generation of world  class developers received training and new synergies and a new culture for commerce emerged through the interplay of retail shopping , office and communal spaces.  Sodens innovations in legal , financial and marketing strategies  in real estate became the model for others and his advances in diversification of holdings grew the company under his leadership into Canadas and the worlds largest public estate corporation by the early 1970?s, heralding the coming of age of the real estate industry in Canada.


Jim Soden saw the potential for lack of control and correspondingly the need for governance and standards if Canadians and their bankers were going to invest in this vast new frontier of publicly owned real estate. He became a zealous advocate for and finally the founder and Chairman of the Canadian Institute of Public Real Estate Companies (CIPREC now CIPPREC), to which all public (and later private as well) real estate companies subscribed, to ensure uniformity, integrity and confidence in real estate accounting practices. Enjoying to this day a reputation as Canada?s premier real estate accounting reference, the accounting guidelines of CIPPREC have been endorsed and used consistently since its inception in real estate audits by members of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA).


Soden ensured important financial support to a now regional health center in Ontario, sat as director of hospitals in Quebec and Ontario and pioneered the early development of Canadas most respected private nursing and retirement home chain.  For over forty years , he always found time to do what he loved most ,to teach and to nurture generations of Canadian entrepreneurs , builders and developers, Quebec lawyers and notaries at the McGill University Faculty of Law and youth at every level  of Scouts Canada.

                                                                                                         Ann Soden


About Jim Soden....[1922 -2003]

 Wherever you went in your investigations into our family history, you could bet Jim Soden had been there. A generation separated us but he in common with a small few, John Voorhis Soden (New York), Terence Soden (England) and Ronald Soden (Wales) pursued assiduously and thoroughly the multi-sided history of the Soden family. No greater pleasure was there for him than to talk about Soden members who had fought at the Battle of Waterloo or had explored the South Seas, or had been decorated in the World Wars. It was tremendously rewarding to know that someone else was enthralled with a similar aim, but even more gratifying to read what they had discovered. 

Chasing the facts on one occasion in his twenties he visited the firm of P.N.Soden, Vancouver, Canada, paint manufacturers. His quest was to establish if thre were any connection between the his branch in Cohoes, NY /Toronto and Vancouver. The reception from P.N Soden was not cordial, actually downright intimidating chastising him for such forwardness and who did he think he was anyway with his background.

His tenacious pursuit of the family history brought him to Soden areas from Washington State through Ontario, Canada to Germany, England and Ireland. Any and every opportunity was used to learn more about our background. An essential pre-requisite for this was a profound knowledge of the social, political, economic and religious history of an area. This he acquired and applied not just through travel but through his voluminous reading.

8 Eggs in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin!

Jim Soden besides being a lawyer , businessman, academic was an able raconteur. When we met for the first time in the Shelbourne Hotel in 1995 he told us of his first visit with some air buddies in Summer of 1945. Few pleasures were available at this time in England where he was based, so when they visited Ireland in May, 1944, they stayed at the Shelbourne Hotel in Dublin. The first morning they ordered breakfast they learnt they could have eggs, so Jim had 8 !!!!!

The Pathfinder Pilot of WWII

One other extremely exciting element of his career was his time as a Pathfinder Pilot with the RAF. As a Pathfinder pilot he was based in England and flew over Germany in front and underneath the Allied Bombers. However, we will have to await the full details of that story from his daughter’s, Margaret Soden’s ,biography of her father next year.


Jams Arthur Soden, Q.C.

Obituary of James Arthur Soden of Toronto, Ontario, Canada

          Citation for the Order of Canada 2004