The Book of Soden

The Order of Canada


Edna and James Soden with their daughters, Lesley and Ann at the Investiture

 James Arthur Soden is

vested with

'The Order of Canada'


The recent news that Jim Soden, Toronto, was  vested with the Order of Canada is indeed a proud event, not only for Jim ,Edna and their families but for all who bear the Soden name.


Announcement of the award was made in the Canadian newspapers of the 18th January, 2003 and the official investiture took place on 9th May, 2003 in Ottawa.


Details of the citation of recommendation can be read below.


Jim, Edna , their daughter, Marg and her family attended the Soden Family Reunion in Sligo, Ireland in June, 2000 and much of the research into the Sligo branch of the Soden family has been carried out by Jim over many years.







             Citation for the Order of Canada



in the 1960’s which pioneered the world’s 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, Canada’s first public investment vehicle for real estate was born. During this period ,under Soden’s 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 Canada’s 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.  Soden’s 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 Canada’s and the world’s 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 Canada’s 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.


Obituary of James Arthur Soden of Toronto, Ontario, Canada



“…… illi, quod est rarissimum, aut facilitas auctoritatem aut severitas amorem deminuit.”

“….yet in his case, the rarest of cases, neither did amiability impair authority nor strictness affection.”

(Tacitus, Agricola, 9,3)


On November 20th, 2009 , a great Soden passed on.

James Arthur Soden, born 1922, passed away at the age of 87 in Toronto.

Tacitus’ remarks about his father-in-law, Agricola, governor of Britain could well apply to Jim Soden. His career was spectacular, he achieved success in every sphere he entered, the respect he attained from his contemporaries, superiors and subordinates, can be judged by the obituaries and messages of praise and regret at his passing.

I knew Jim Soden through our common passion, Soden family history. 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. 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. His incisive memory, legal analytical mind and lively willingness to never be hindered by political correctness led him to ask questions of one about the past which only served to clarify matters more honestly with an open mind rather than taking an easier a priori approach preferred by many in family history.

He did not suffer spoofers, reviled at those who saw family history as a chance to wallow in imagined glories and aristocratic phantasies, and always appreciated the work, sufferings and sacrifices of his Soden ancestors. I recall always with the greatest pleasure our meetings in Dublin , Toronto and above all in Sligo in 2000 at the first Soden Reunion, about hearing his and his wife, Edna’s, research experiences in Dublin , Sligo and Germany.

If you told your son go out into the world and do well, and he came back to you many years later a successful businessman, an astute academic, a war hero, and a much-loved and revered family man, a recipient of his country's highest award, you could only say , ‘Well done’. Jim Soden not only by his achievements but in his person has left all Sodens a remarkably proud legacy.

As the Irish saying goes,

Ni aon letheid ar fheicail aris

(We shall not see his likes again)

Requiescat in pace


Dr. Lesley Margaret Soden 1953-2009

Lesley Soden


The family of James & Edna Soden, Toronto, suffered a great loss with the death their beloved Lesley on  11th January, 2009.

A young mother, successful in business and an academic,  Lesley was ebullient, intelligent and self-assured. Lesley endured a  relatively long and painful illness with breast cancer, during which time we obtained some idea of the measure of the person by the immense courage and joy she communicated to all who had contact with her. Hemingway defined courage as grace under pressure. For her courage  and much more Lesley was greatly loved by her friends as we have seen by their reaction to her passing. She is mourned by her partner, Michael Moody and her young son, Jack.

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