Jas has lived in Toronto from the age of 3 years old and in Morningside Heights since June 2003. He was born to a farming family who migrated from Punjab, India hoping for a better future in Canada. “Life wasn’t easy for my mom and dad”, recalls Jas, “they laboured in factories, with bandaged knees and did double shifts to provide for us when we were young. We were a big family, 7 kids so material extras were uncommon.”
At a young age, Jas’s parents instilled in him the need for a good education and having a hard working mindset to become successful. Unfortunately, being illiterate and not speaking the English language, they could not take an active role in his education, but Jas recalls “they would always make a point to plant seeds of assurances and opportunities for those who worked hard to grab them, I can’t thank them enough for planting hope in me, even though I had no idea of my destination and how I’d get there”.
Jas’s father, a highly spiritual man and respected in his community, taught Jas and his siblings the fundamentals of his faith. His teachings, played a central role in creating the honest and giving person Jas is today. Jas recalls, “my Dads influence and dedication to ensuring we understood our faith, kept me strong during the trying times in my life and got me through with hope and prayer. I did not have role models growing up, or people who could help me navigate the worldly maze that I was engulfed in. My siblings and I learned on our own. Indeed, I feel that a far greater cosmic plan was unfolding that gave me the experiences in my life to succeed.”
Jas grew up in the 1970s in a society that rampantly discriminated, verbally and physically. He fought many battles in the school yard and to and from school. Jas’s childhood wasn’t easy but he doesn’t see it that way. “Sure it was tough growing up, but it could have been far worse. I’m so thankful when I look around the world, and see so many lives filled with grief, children dying of poverty and disease, kids orphaned, my childhood hardships pale in comparison!”
Jas knows the real sacrifice was made by his father. When the opportunity arose to get on plane to Canada, Jas’s father left his ailing father who he worshipped and knew that he would never see again. “I can only imagine their conversation & pain where my Grandpa insists he goes, but instructs my Dad that it will be their last meeting. I know with a heavy heart my Dad came to Canada to never see his father again. He labored tirelessly for 2 years, saving everything he could to sponsor us. Had he not left, my world would be a lot different. If I was lucky I would be toiling away on a farm, or more aptly, dead or dying from alcohol and drug abuse as is happening in Punjab today.”
Jas started working at a young age of nine. Besides having the usual paper routes, his older siblings and Jas sold flowers on downtown street corners during weekends and all through the summer holidays. He also worked for Dickie Dee and sold Ice-cream by the ferry docks, local beaches, CN Tower, Exibition Place and parks. During high school & University Jas worked at Kohinoor Foods in the famous Gerrard St. Indian Bazaar. Jas worked 6 to 7 days a week and often 10-12 hours a day. “I feel lucky” says Jas ” I was able to work when I was young and develop the experiences that helped me succeed in life”. “I learned very early, hard work and dedication to customer service are key pillars for a successful business.”
Jas graduated with honors from high school and attended York University on a entrance scholarship and graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemistry. After university, Jas moved to Vancouver, British Columbia for 2 years and worked in an Environment laboratory. Jas settled back in Toronto and helped launch his sister’s printing company into a a million-dollar international business. Jas built the entire web site himself and handled all marketing and pre-press operations. He followed suit and launched his own Internet based printing company in 1998.
Jas is currently involved in a few projects to give back to the community he lives in. He has spear headed the development of Morningside Heights Business Directory. He spent more than 400 hours gathering information from local business owners, laying out the publication, designing ads, and distributing the directory. “My kids have learned some valuable lessons ” he says, “The other day, my daughter who is in grade 5 was having trouble with her math homework, it was 10pm at night. I thought to myself that no ten year old should be up this late trying to complete homework. So I told her to go to sleep and we’ll deal with it tomorrow. She looked straight at me, and instead of closing her books and going to sleep, she says “Daddy Ji, you said, If I persist, I will succeed!”. Hearing that from her mouth was priceless! You know what happened next, we stayed up another 30 minutes and finished off the exercise. Kids are sponges, they will pick up valuable lessons if we would involve them and mentor them. Most importantly she saw her effort was rewarded when we donated funds raised from the directory to her school to help parents who were having difficulty affording school uniforms.”
Brookside Soccer also started with a simple seed of an idea. Jas lived in the Morningside Heights community since its inception, but noticed there were no organized sports programs to bring local families together. Having a passion for soccer his entire life, he decided to start a child soccer program. With summer break a little over a month away, he secured permits for the field, found sponsors, purchased all the equipment and canvassed the neighborhood to sign as many kids up as possible. It took a lot of legwork, but for Jas, all of the hard work and effort was well worth it. In the end, more than 60 children signed up for the first season. In the process, Jas raised more than $1300 for the Daily Bread Food Bank.
Today as one of the community’s respected real estate professionals, Jas attributes his strong work ethic to his upbringing. His long hair and turban are reflections of his Sikh faith. He abides by the faith’s core teachings, of Kirat Karna (“earn your bread with honest labour”), Vand Chakna (“share of your earnings with the needy”) and Naam Japna (“remember God”). Despite all the opportunities he’s created in his own life, Jas remains humble. “It’s a blessing to have all that I have,” he says, “but it means nothing if I am not able to give back and make a positive difference in the community around me. That’s what makes all the hard work worthwhile to me, and it’s why I donate a percent of all my real estate commissions to local non-profit organizations.”
Today, Jas helps clients buy, sell and invest in houses and condos in the Greater Toronto Area. He isn’t afraid to go the extra mile and do whatever it takes to help his clients achieve their real estate goals. He’s real straight-shooter who believes in being honest and upfront with his advice, so that you have the information and insight you need to make the right decisions from the very start. Jas has always been analytical and detail-oriented, so he helps you research every option and explore all the possibilities throughout the process.
This website is Jas’s personal journey of growing up and living in Canada. His reflections and experiences. Like a wave, going through the changes of life as the wind picks up and settles but always flowing, moving forward, with the timeless ocean of life. Journey with Jas and also comment and share your journey as well.
Jas Jagpal, BSc. Chemistry, Real Estate Broker, ASA, CNE