Maurice Rollins

The Remarkable Journey of Maurice Rollins

By Orland French

 When Mark Rollins approached me to write a book about the accomplishments of his father, I had no idea how complicated this would be. I had not yet met Maurice Rollins, but I knew him to be a land developer, contractor and creator of the Journey’s End motel chain.

As it turned out, the more intriguing stories of his life emerged outside his role as builder and developer. File after file of his various business ventures tumbled from his office cabinets as he excavated stories of business adventures and venture capitalism. Just when I thought we were wrapping it up, a yellowed business card skittered out of a file. He said, "Oh, here’s one I forgot. This is a good story.”

What captured me ultimately was the story of a bright high school kid who graduated from Ontario’s Grade 13 in the 1940s and, without further formal training in anything, made himself into a millionaire through sheer hard work, long hours, persistence and determination. He knew how to put a plan together. He didn’t build all those houses and hotels himself but he knew how to hire people who could.

The story of Maurice Rollins is the study of a man who never quits and never ceases to be compelled in his search for new business ideas. Even in his 80s, he still drives to work through snowstorms to be at the office by 7:30 a.m.

For many years, Maurice Rollins has been returning part of his wealth to the community. He does it quietly, not seeking publicity. He and his wife Marilyn have become recognized philanthropists to the larger organized charities, but quite a few individuals have also benefited form his anonymous gifts when they were facing adversity.

The most public of his donations was his contribution, and loss, of one million dollars to help create a community cultural centre in his home town of Belleville, Ontario. The complete story is presented in depth in this book. For a million dollars, Maurice Rollins deserves at least that.

 

ISBN 978-0-9868986-0-0

Published by Maurice Rollins, 2011

6 X 9, hard cover

272 pages, full colour throughout

Price: $40 ORDER HERE

To read a sample chapter, CLICK HERE

To learn about a new film documentary from the book, CLICK HERE

A Remarkable Journey
With only a Ontario Grade 13 education and no further training, Maurice Rollins of Belleville built himself two fortunes: first, in housing construction, and second, in the successful development of the Journey's End motel chain. He did this while all his life being plagued by depression. His life story  is recorded in the A Remarkable Journey of Maurice Rollins, by Orland French. In publishing this book, Mr. Rollins pledged all its proceeds to the Canadian Mental Health Association. Click on photos for a larger version and description.
Maurice Rollins at work

Maurice Rollins at work

Maurice Rollins has never retired. In his 80s he goes to the office early every morning to keep up with his projects. Orland French photo
Maurice Rollins at work
Charity gambling

Charity gambling

Maurice Rollins has established himself as a philanthropist. Here he takes part in a charity entertainment game with former hockey star Eddie Shack (centre) and former publisher Paul Godfrey.
Charity gambling
Painting the rails

Painting the rails

As a young man, one of Maurice Rollins's early summer jobs was painting bridges and other property for Canadian National Railways. He said it was one of the worst jobs he ever had.
Painting the rails
Maurice Rollins's first house

Maurice Rollins's first house

The first house Maurice Rollins built was for himself and his wife. It was the first of more than 8,500 housing units he constructed in eastern Ontario, including townhouses and apartment buildings. This house stands on Bridge Street East in Belleville. Orland French photo
Maurice Rollins's first house
Garden bridge

Garden bridge

Maurice Rollins is proud of the garden and grounds of his large house near Belleville, Ontario. He often spends his summer afternoons snipping shrubs and clipping grass. Orland French photo
Garden bridge
Ottawa Journey's End

Ottawa Journey's End

One of the earliest Journey's End motels was built in the east end of Ottawa. The Journey's End chain eventually totalled 139 in Canada and the United States, with more than 12,000 rooms.
Ottawa Journey's End
Montreal Hotel

Montreal Hotel

The Journey's End chain began with motels but moved on to hotels, like this high-rise, and all-suite hotels.
Montreal Hotel
Sampling a pretzel

Sampling a pretzel

In the hotel business, Maurice Rollins avoided running restaurants. After motels, he purchased the rights to Auntie Anne's pretzels for Canada. Did he bite off more than he could chew? It turned out, he did. After spending $5 million trying to persuade Canadians to eat pretzels, Rollins baked his last pretzel and gave up. Orland French photo
Sampling a pretzel