Sid Oland, a leading Canadian businessman and lifelong supporter of the arts and cultural organizations, has passed away peacefully at home on December 10, 2008, surrounded by his loving wife and children. Sid, aged 68, was a member of a distinguished Nova Scotia family, famous for brewing and philanthropy as well as for military and public service.
His business career began in Halifax in the mid-1960s, as a sales trainee with the then-family-owned Oland Breweries Ltd. It ended in 1995 with his retirement from John Labatt Ltd., Toronto, where he had risen to serve as chief executive officer and later deputy chairman.
During his time as chief of Labatt, the firm consolidated its leading position in the Canadian beer market, expanded overseas and substantially expanded its role in the sports and entertainment fields. For Labatt, Sid negotiated a partnership with Anheuser-Busch Inc. to brew and distribute Budweiser in Canada, acquired the famous Morretti brand in Italy and developed important partnerships with regional breweries throughout the United Kingdom.
In addition to the company’s brewing interests, Sid carried overall responsibility for John Labatt’s holdings in the TSN television network and the Toronto Blue Jays (he was especially proud of the Jays’ World Series triumphs in 1992 and 1993). As well, he established Labatt’s partnership with Michael Cohl and Bill Ballard in Concert Productions International, which quickly became the world’s leading rock-show promoter. And he invested Labatt in the successful Williams Formula 1 Grand Prix auto-racing team.
A fifth-generation brewer, Sid was classically trained at Bishop’s College School, Dalhousie University (B.A., M.A.) and Harvard (MBA). Despite this conventional prelude to a successful career, Sid sometimes valued unconventional thinking (he once hired an artist-in-residence as a counterweight to a spell of excessive seriousness in the Labatt executive suite).
In his younger days, Sid served as a lieutenant colonel in the Canadian Army Reserves. This continued a long-standing Oland family tradition. His grandfather, Col. S.C. Oland, served with distinction in World War I. And his father, Victor de B. Oland, was a brigadier-general in World War II, later serving as Lieutenant-Governor of Nova Scotia.
Sid was a longtime director of the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake and he served for over 20 years on the Board and then as chairman of the Toronto International Film Festival. As well, he was an avid if somewhat superstitious sports fan who sometimes looked away from the action at crucial moments for fear of jinxing his team. Sid played good schoolboy hockey and college football and loved sailboats. He was a member of the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron and the Chester Yacht Club, among many others. In retirement, he spent much of his time traveling, reading and enjoying his family. He maintained homes in Toronto, Chester, N.S. and Anguilla.
He will be sorely missed by his wife Ingrid Weger, by their daughter “Miss” Sydney (Ross Tiefenthaler), by Linda (Austin Delaney), Victor (Fiona) and Heather ( Robin DeLisle), his beloved children from a previous marriage, and by grandchildren Jack and Sarah, Luke, and Owen and Olivia. As well, Sid leaves a brother Peter, of Bedford, N.S., and two sisters Susan Marshall of Woodville, N.S. and Victoria Mills of Miramichi, N.B.
Visitation will be at home, 60 Russell Hill Rd. Toronto, on Thursday, December 11th and Friday, December 12th from 3 pm to 8 pm. Memorial Service at the York Club, 135 St. George Street, Toronto on Saturday, December 13 at 2:30 p.m. A private interment will be held on Tuesday, December 16, 11 am, at the family chapel, Santa Maria del Pilar in Sackville Nova Scotia. Following the interment service, there will be a gathering at the Fo’c’scle Tavern, Chester at 1 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Canadian Cancer Society are appreciated."
January 01, 1970