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Jim Kinnear (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)
Jim Kinnear (Anthony Jenkins/The Globe and Mail)

The Lunch

Jim Kinnear: A taste for the new, with a finger on reset Add to ...

But weekend hackers don't get to play in the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach, Calif. - as Mr. Kinnear recently did - or in the Bob Hope Classic. And for all that he gives up in handicap, he more than compensates for in nice real estate.

He paid a little less than $10-million for a venerable three-storey house beside the 18th green at the historic St. Andrews course in Scotland. Mr. Kinnear, a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, happened to walk by the house (whose address is 9 The Links),saw the for-sale sign and bought the place on impulse.

As in Calgary, he loves to use the house to entertain - there is a third-floor balcony with a splendid view of the course. "You can just about reach out and touch the flag pole," he says. And it represents a bit of a family homecoming. One strand of the Kinnear clan can be traced back to St. Andrews in 1215 - a couple of centuries before the first golf game was played on the old links.

While Calgary is still home base, Mr. Kinnear has a number of addresses, including a townhouse and office in Toronto, which occasionally brings him to lunch at Jump. On this day, the Alberta beef burger was sold out, but a California red wine took the edge off the disappointment. We feasted instead on the penne and chicken.

He is constantly aware of the distractions that arise from economic and political tensions between Ontario and Alberta. "Look, I'm a Torontonian and Toronto is the city in Canada everybody loves to hate. It is what it is."

He doesn't spend much time thinking about Calgary versus Toronto or Montreal. He says his goal is to get Canada's name out on the world stage, and garner recognition for what it has achieved in prudent economic and financial management. Canada is poised for greatness, he says, and he feels he is in an ideal position to spread the word around the globe.

He lists all the places where he plans to advance Canada's cause - from Dubai to Kuwait City to Singapore and Hong Kong. "We've got now what everybody wants," he says, citing Canada's resource wealth and strong institutions.

It's a long way from Ontario's Lake Simcoe, where a young Jim Kinnear came each summer to spend time with his grandparents. And where, as a teenager, he went into business, running a Globe and Mail paper route for cottagers.

He first learned to play golf there at the nine-hole Eastbourne Golf Club. Recently, he bought a second place on Lake Simcoe, just a couple of doors away from his other property, the summer home that his grandparents built in 1923.

After the end of the trust boom, he could have easily retreated to Scotland, Lake Simcoe and his golf addiction. "I retired for about five minutes - I got bored," he says, adding that this was one of the reasons he decided to reactivate Kinnear Financial.

He is not inclined to talk about when he will call it quits. Kinnear Financial, he says, has "lots of legs. It could go for a while." And if the current royalty product doesn't make it big, the always adaptable Mr. Kinnear is prepared to come up with other things.

After all, finance is a lot like golf. "It's a funny game," he says, wistfully. "Some days you do quite well, and other days less well."

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BEGINNINGS

- Born in Toronto, Dec. 31, 1947; grew up in Montreal

- Spent two years in pre-med at University of Toronto before graduating with Bachelor of Science

- His grandfather, lawyer Stewart Fairty, said to be the first employee of the Toronto Transit Commission in the 1920s

HOME LIFE

- Married, no children

- Has homes in Calgary; Toronto; Florida; St. Andrews, Scotland; Eastbourne on Lake Simcoe

CAREER

- Entered investment business in London in late 1960s. After returning to Canada in 1970, joined Midland Doherty; also worked for D. W. Taylor & Co.

- Kinnear Financial has offices in New York, London, Toronto and Calgary

PASSIONS

- Crazy about golf and playing it around the world.

- His Calgary Stampede party last year featured a backyard performance by the Canadian Tenors. The function's size forces the annual closing of the street behind his house.

- Remains a big Calgary Flames fan even though Pengrowth's Saddledome naming rights have gone to Bank of Nova Scotia.

OTHER INTERESTS

- Sits on boards of the National Arts Centre Foundation, Ottawa, and the Banff Centre

- In 2007, was instrumental in helping save the Canadian Open golf tournament, leading to the Royal Bank of Canada's emergence as title sponsor

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