Tartan Homes founder Wes Nicol dies at 88

wes nicol
Wes Nicol photographed by James Park when donated $1 million to establish the Nicol Challenge – a series of campus-wide initiatives designed to encourage the entire student body to develop entrepreneurial skills and find innovative solutions to real-world problems.

Tartan Homes founder Wes Nicol has died at 88.

The company is one of the oldest home building members of the Greater Ottawa Home Builders’ Association (GOHBA). “He was a man of great integrity who will be sorely missed,” the GOHBA said in a statement, providing obituary information supplied by his family.

“Passed away peacefully in Ottawa, in the warm embrace of family and close friends, in his eighty-sixth year. A caring and committed father and grandfather, Wes was the loving husband to Mary (née Robertson) for over fifty-eight years of marriage. Predeceased by his parents, Maurice and Marielle Nicol, his brother Robert, and sisters Ruth and Beverly, Wes will be sorrowfully missed by his four children Bruce, Heather, Ian, and Janet Nicol, and by his twelve grandchildren Rosanna, Alex, Oliver, David, Mark, Marielle, Nicola, Emmett, Carolyn, Meredith, Miles and Austin, and step-grandsons Lucas and Truman. His passing is also sadly mourned by his daughters-in-law Hildegard Nicol and Jennifer Hicks, his sons-in-law Martin Julien and Peter Wall, his adored niece Kathy Brown, and his dearly loved sister-in-law Joan Robertson.

“Wes was born and raised in Ottawa. After securing his BA from Carleton University in 1954, he graduated from Osgoode Hall and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1958. He worked hard from a young age, starting out as a paperboy, delivery boy, and travelling to the far north as a laborer and land surveyor. The launch of the law firm Nicol and Lazier, in Ottawa, led to a successful career in real estate development. In 1966, Wesley founded Tartan Homes, builder of thousands of homes in the Ottawa area and the United States. Throughout his career, he enjoyed a sterling reputation within the Ottawa business community, which fondly remembers him as enviably thorough, determined and fair. In later years, Wes invested in numerous Ottawa start-ups and high tech initiatives. A philanthropist, he established the Wesley and Mary Nicol Charitable Foundation with a focus on local needs. Wes was a loyal supporter of the Liberal Party of Canada, chairing several fundraising committees for the Ottawa/Carleton region from 1962 onwards. In 1997, he launched the Nicol Award, which has fostered and supported innumerable young entrepreneurs across Canada through a national competition for undergraduate students. A long-standing member of Carleton University’s Board of Governors, he also held the position of Chair and Head of the Building Committee. In 2001, Wesley received Carleton’s Alumni Entrepreneur of the Year award in recognition of his outstanding entrepreneurial achievement. In 2006, Carleton awarded him an Honorary Doctorate of Law.

“In 2013, Wes was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada for his commitment to fostering the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

There will be at the Central Chapel of Hulse, Playfair and McGarry Dec 5, 5:00 – 8:00 PM, Dec 6, 2:00 – 4:00 PM. Funeral services Wed. Dec 7th, 11:00 AM, at St Matthews Anglican Church, 217 First Ave., reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages a donation to the Ottawa Heart Institute, the Alzheimer’s Society, or another charity.


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