Categorized | National News

From A Poor Boy To A Multi-Millionaire

The Clifton Review


The Clifton Review is a tri-weekly column that examines the question of the Clifton project along with the evolution of the war between two billionaires. We covered the start of this war with articles describing the battle over easement rights, the mysterious burning of a home, the blocks to rebuilding, and countless questionable court filings.


The 2018 series salutes fashion mogul Peter Nygård’s Golden Jubilee detailing his rags to riches story and incredible business success over these past fifty years. The Clifton Review will take an inside look at how he did it.



By P.J. Malone



It is quite a feat to start off as a poor boy and end up as a multi millionaire with 50 years of business success. That’s the experience of fashion mogul Peter Nygård. He started making millions within the first few years of taking over a garment business in decline in Winnipeg, Canada.


When Peter Nygård was asked in an interview published in 1993 in the Winnipeg Free Press, “Are you surprised by your success?” he responded with the following:


Yeah, that’s a question that goes through my mind many times. How is it that it happens to some people and not to other people, and what’s the difference? Where are those crossroads? What’s that little extra that you do? What’s the break in life you get?


When I walk through my business and the places that I have, I say, my God, are you ever a lucky guy. Am I ever lucky that I was born in Finland instead of Estonia, that I was born on the right side of the Iron Curtain, and that I was lucky enough to come to Canada, the land of opportunity, and to be able to put all my energy to work and be repaid and rewarded for it. To come from being a poor boy of nothing to this, it’s a constant reminder. It’s shocking.


That was after twenty-five years of business success. Today, Peter Nygård is celebrating 50 years of success and what a success it is!

Growing up to age eleven in Finland left an indelible mark on Peter Nygård in terms of molding his character. However, it was the move to a new world and a new life that strengthened his character.


Far from the North American Dream, the Nygårds found a life of hardship and poverty that was too often the reality of new beginnings for many immigrant families.


Why? It is common for many migrating families to have little but their work ethic left, having sold everything they had to trek halfway across the world in hopes of attaining that often-elusive, North American dream.


For the Nygård family, life in the new world began in Deloraine, a small community in the Canadian province of Manitoba. Eeli, Peter’s father was able to find a job in a bakery where he worked twelve hours a day for six days a week and for which he received a pay of $35.


With so little income, the family of four moved into a former coal bin storage unit that was thirteen by fifteen foot, with a narrow entrance and a low doorway that one had to stoop down to enter.


There was a big coal stove in the center of the back wall that was used for cooking and staying warm. It had a rusty barrel full of melting snow next to it. That water was boiled and used for washing and bathing in a galvanized tub.


The Nygårds had to make do with an outdoor toilet, which Canadians called a “biffy”. An early morning trek to the biffy in the middle of winter twenty degrees below zero was no picnic.


After settling in, Peter’s mother took on odd cleaning jobs to supplement the family income. Even Peter got to work collecting Coke bottles out of ditches everyday. Each bottle brought in 2 cents. That was used to buy the family’s drinking water on an ongoing basis.


Nevertheless, Hilkka, Peter’s mother, was sure the family could weather the rough times and told Peter and his sister, “We’ll be all right. As long as the four of us stick together, we’ll make it.”


These are the humble beginnings of Peter Nygård. This is what motivates him to constantly give to others. He has shared millions of his dollars to various causes in The Bahamas alone.


Written by Jones Bahamas

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Watch JCN Channel 14 Shows

Jcn Channel 14

Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations!

Join Us on Facebook