Freddie Lowes was Calgary’s first self-made millionaire. Born in Brampton, Ontario, in 1880 to a family of horse traders, Frederick Charles Wilson Lowes took all of his education in his home-town before joining the Canada Life Assurance Company in 1899. His knack for salesmanship was soon recognized, and in 1902 he was sent as an agent to the North-West Territories to the pioneer city of Calgary.
By 1905, Lowes, now restless working for someone else, struck out on his own and, with a total savings of $400.00, rented an office, furnished it, and hired a stenographer. His salesmanship rapidly paid off – after six months in business Lowes had cleared 65 thousand dollars. Then, in a classic circumstance of "being in the right place at the right time" Lowes exploited Calgary’s population boom - and subsequent real-estate boom - between 1908 and 1913. By 1911, he had real-estate offices throughout the triangle contained by Edmonton, Saskatoon and Lethbridge. As fast as he sold he bought more land, and in 1912 and 1913, it was reported that his various holdings were worth more than 7 million dollars. Lowes dealt in all types of land, from ranches to industrial to residential. Some of his most beautiful residential areas are the areas of Brittania, Elbow Park, Glenmore and Roxboro in southwest Calgary.
Mirroring his professional life, Lowes’ personal life was very fast-paced. At one time, he owned a Pierce-Arrow, a Cadilac and a Marmon race car shipped from California. In 1910, he completed a record speed run between Calgary and New York – 61.5 hours. He embraced sports, and brought professional boxing to the city, as well as being involved with horse breeding and hockey. He was also very generous with his millions, once stating that "money is nothing. What counts is making it and what you can do for your country with it after you have made it." He contributed an immeasurable amount to community organizations and charities in Calgary, once eliminating the entire debt of the YMCA with one cheque.
Lowes was also very enthusiastic about the continued growth of the West – too optimistic, in fact. In 1912, he was advised to sell his considerable holdings. He refused and by 1916 was broke. He managed to revive to some degree, but his physical and mental health failed. He died in 1950.