Canstar Community News - ONLINE EDITION
Community builder has serious street cred
St. Vital street now bears the name of local land specialist
It’s fitting that Tom Sidebottom will be immortalized with a new street sign bearing his name.
That’s because Sidebottom has been recognized by Qualico for playing his part in building communities in southeast Winnipeg during his lifetime.
The newly-named Sidebottom Drive is located near Aldgate and Paddington Road in St. Vital.
Sidebottom — a former Qualico sales manager who was instrumental in acquiring the land to build the existing River Park South (where he calls home) and Sage Creek communities — is humbled by the honour.
"It’s very nice," he said, while reflecting on his contribution to the local landscape. "Lots of nice things have happened in my life and this is one of them," he said.
Raised on a St. Vital homestead, Sidebottom served as an area firefighter from 1948 to 1953 before entering the real estate business.
And the 83-year-old shows no signs of slowing down. In 2006, following his retirement, Sidebottom got a call from Qualico to do a small land assembly for two weeks. "Six years later, I’m still doing it," he said. "I’m working on the phone every day and have about 30 files going."
Sidebottom said he has taken great pleasure in helping build communities for his customers — "I’ve made some lifelong friends" — and family members.
"I have three children, five grandkids and now a great-grandson. The world belongs to the young and it’s been my pleasure to help them find neighbourhoods to suit their needs in terms of schools and churches," said Sidebottom, a former Optimist Club and Rotary Club president, who is also a 33rd Degree Mason.
He said that openness and transparency remain at the heart of his business philosophy.
"In 50 years, to my knowledge, unlike judges or lawyers, I’m the only person in my position to put my home address on my business cards," Sidebottom said, noting his first taste of childhood entrepreneurship was picking saskatoon berries in the St. Vital scrub and selling them to his neighbours.
"Nobody has ever driven by my window and thrown a stone. I like that if I sell something to someone this Friday, I haven’t got to worry about what I said the following Friday, as I told them the truth — like it or not."
Sidebottom also credits his dad with imparting a crucial piece of advice that has stayed with him.
"My father taught my brother and I that if the good Lord had wanted you to stand still, he’d have made you a tree."
Long-time area resident Bob Holliday said Sidebottom "richly deserves the honour."
"Over the years, I knew Tom to be a man dedicated to the community who didn’t suffer fools lightly. He said what he meant and meant what he said," Holliday said.
A young Holliday also got a taste of Sidebottom’s entrepreneurial spirit.
"Tom was a friend of my father, Herb. They met in the late 1940s when my father was a St. Vital cop and Tom was a firefighter," he said.
"Tom was respected by my father, which was something he did not give easily. Tom must have the fire department in the ‘50s, since he sold me my first life insurance policy when I was in my teens."
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(1 of 11 articles for this week)05/22/2013 1:00 AM 0
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