Robert Campeau, 93, a real-estate entrepreneur, born in Chelmsford in August 1923 died June 12 in Ottawa.
Campeau left school at the age of 14. In 1949 he began building houses in Ottawa and moved on to office complexes.
Campeau Construction Company was incorporated in 1953 when he was 30.
The company built more than 25,000 houses in the Ottawa area.
His company built Scotia Tower and the Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto. Campeau began operations in the United States in 1978. He attracted international attention when he bought Federated Department Stores. The acquisition included Bloomingdales in New York City.
The real estate deal strangled Campeau Corp with debt, and in January 1990 the corporation declared bankruptcy.
Campeau spent several years in Europe after being fired by his company but he returned to Ottawa in 2002.
In later years, Campeau is said to have devoted much of his time to philanthropy through a family foundation that bore his name.
Campeau is a founding member of the board of governors of Laurentian University.
From The Ottawa Citizen on June 17, 2017:
CAMPEAU, Robert Joseph Antoine
Passed in peace at his home in Ottawa on Monday June 12, 2017 in his 94th year with his loving and devoted wife, Christel, by his side. Beloved father of Rachelle, Jacques, Daniel, Robert JR, Giselle and Jan-Paul. Proud grandfather of eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Robert was preceded in death by his parents Joseph Campeau and Lucie Ranger, and three brothers and three sisters. Robert was born on August 3, 1923 in Chelmsford, Ontario (near Sudbury). His early education was in Sudbury and he later received Honorary Degrees from the University of Ottawa and Laurentian University in Sudbury in recognition of his significant accomplishments. Robert had a life-long career as an entrepreneur and real estate developer forming his construction company, Campeau Construction Company Limited in 1953. The company soon became known as a quality builder building over 25,000 houses in addition to a number of apartment buildings in the National Capital Region and across North America. Robert’s initial vision of residential land development quickly expanded to the development of commercial land and shopping centres. These include such notable buildings in Ottawa as Place de Ville and in Gatineau Les Terraces de la Chaudiere and later branching out to Toronto which included well known developments such as Scotia Plaza, Harbour Castle Hotel (now Westin Harbour Castle) Harbour Square condominiums and Waterpark Place office complex. Commercial development complexes were completed in San Francisco and California and residential and commercial complexes in Texas and Florida. Later, Robert’s vision expanded to acquiring retail organizations consisting of specialty stores and shopping centres located throughout the United States. His hard work and achievements were recognized when he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the 2006 NAIOP REX Awards – Real Estate Excellence. Robert continued to follow with keen interest and enthusiasm the present day approach to real estate development trends in Canada. He devoted much of his time to philanthropy efforts through his Canadian and U.S. Family Foundations. Robert was an avid swimmer, skier, golfer, fisherman and hunter. Robert believed his good exercise regime was the key to his long and healthy life. Friends may attend at the Notre-Dame Cathedral, on Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Ontario on Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. to offer condolences to the Family. The Funeral service will follow at 10:00 a.m. followed by a light lunch in the basement of the Cathedral. The burial service will be at 2:00 p.m. at St. Isidore Cemetery, 1135 March Road, Kanata. Special thanks to Dr. Wiens of the Royal Ottawa Hospital and Dr. Gerrizen of the Civic Hospital for their care and concern towards Robert. Furthermore, many thanks to the caring staff of We Care Health Services for their dedication and professionalism with special acknowledgement to Vania for her compassionate care of Robert. Heartfelt thanks to Father Plant for showing kindness and support to Robert. Memorial donations in Robert’s name can be made to The Royal Ottawa Hospital Foundation or The Ottawa Hospital Foundation.