The Leo Wertman Story
The life of The Wertman Group of Companies’ founder, Leo Wertman, is the inspiration for our residence.
Leo Wertman grew up in Ruzaniec, Poland during the years leading up to WWII. The lone survivor of his immediate family during the German occupation of Poland, Leo joined the Polish partisan effort. Only a teenager at the time, Leo became a soldier and a hero; he took part in dangerous missions to thwart the occupation and free Poland. Even more importantly, he helped shelter and provide for a large number of Jewish women, children, the infirm and the elderly, who were hiding for their lives in the wilderness outside of Lublin and Ruzaniec city limits. He went in to town at night and obtained food, medical supplies and other essentials, keeping about two hundred displaced people alive throughout the occupation.
It was decades later, after surviving the war and moving to Canada with his wife Regina and becoming the patriarch of a family that included his two children, Joseph and Rochelle, that stories of his heroism came to light. Many families came forward and told stories of how Leo had helped them or their parents survive the war, and thanked him for their lives. They had nicknamed him the “Provider” for his role. This nickname rang true for the following two generations, as, until his untimely passing, he ensured all in his family were well cared for. Leo always continued his role as a provider, and was known for dropping off bagels, lox and fresh baking on Sunday mornings at the doorsteps of extended family members as he went about his day’s duties.
Leo Wertman’s business endeavours began humbly, with manual labour that led to him starting a small scrap-metal business. He built that scrap-metal business until he could afford to invest in the construction of residential real estate in the 1960s. He believed that the city of Vancouver was growing rapidly and people will always need somewhere to live and that was the spark of our family real-estate development and investment business.
Leo’s son, Joseph Wertman, took the groundwork laid by his father and grew the family business over the years from a few apartment buildings to a multi-faceted development company and real-estate management group that he now runs with his son, Jason. Over the past fifteen years, the portfolio has included the overhaul, renovation and re-tenanting of two landmark medical buildings (the Hycroft Medical Centre and the Guildford Medical Centre), the construction of several higher-end residential/condominium buildings in the west side of Vancouver, the holding and management of rental properties on the North Shore and our flagship office building at 1199 West Pender.
Beyond their business initiatives, Leo and Joseph have also donated to and supported various charities and organizations in Vancouver’s Jewish community. Leo’s family legacy has been a staunch supporter of the Holocaust Education Centre, an original contributor of the Talmud Torah Secondary school’s inception, and annual contributors to Lubavitch, State of Israel and Jewish Federations as well as having helped to pay off sizeable portions of the mortgage of Schara Tzedeck Synagogue over the years.
Now, the family is honouring the legacy of Leo Wertman with the creation of senior living residence, a place in our community for our elders, and those who have provided for us. We want them to enjoy the finest accommodation, the highest quality of personalized services and amenities in order to experience a fuller and healthier life. Therefore, the Wertman Group of Companies proudly presents its newest endeavour: Legacy Senior Living – The Leo Wertman Residence in memory of a great pillar of our community. We build this in his name and for people of all races.