Richard Oland, a member of one of the best-known families in Atlantic Canada, has died under suspicious circumstances, according to police.
Oland was 69 years old.
Saint John police spent much of Thursday near his Canterbury Street office in downtown Saint John, where his body was found about 9:30 a.m.
"It's a real shame," said Don Cullinan, who works in the law office next door to Oland's business, Far End Corporation.
"I saw him just about every day and said 'hello' to him," Cullinan said. "He seemed like a very, very pleasant fellow."
Cullinan told CBC News police were in and out of Oland's second-storey office all day Thursday.
Police removed Oland's body at about 2:30 p.m. and towed his BMW from the parking lot, at the corner of Canterbury and Princess streets. They also searched the area with sniffer dogs.
Richard Oland was a businessman, world-class sailor and a driving force behind the 1985 Canada Games in Saint John. (Canadian Yachting Association)
Staff Sgt. Mike King said the major crime unit and a number of patrol officers were involved.
But he wouldn't comment on how long the body had been there, how Oland died, or whether any weapons were involved.
An autopsy is expected to be performed Friday.
Oland is survived by his wife and three children.
Oland's family has owned Moosehead Brewery since Confederation, but he left that company in the 1980s. His brother Derek now runs the brewery.
Oland became a competitive sailor, who participated in races around the world.
Last year, he won the International Rolex Regatta in St. Thomas.
He was instrumental in helping Saint John get the 1985 Canada Games. He was also involved in finding a new home for the New Brunswick Museum in downtown Saint John.
One of Oland's friends described him as a "great salesperson" for Saint John.
Steve Carson, the chief executive officer of Enterprise Saint John and a family friend, described Oland was a tireless promoter for the city.
"Dick had a really in-depth knowledge of manufacturing, of logistics and transportation and technology. So it didn't matter what type of business someone was involved in," Carson said.
"He was very passionate and very intense and he had a really phenomenal way of connecting with people. So that combination of knowledge of the community and his passion for business was something that was very genuine and he was a great salesperson for the community."
NYYC Race Week at Newport Presented by Rolex: Vela Veloce overall winner
July 26, 2010After four days of racing in a variety of conditions across a mix of around-the-buoys and distance, New York Yacht Club's seventh biennial Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex came to an end onthe 24th of July. Light winds threatened to cancel the last day of racing for the 35 competing boats, but by 2pm Newport's classic southerly sea breeze filled in against a stubborn northerly and offered suitable conditions for racing. All classes raced on a four-leg windward/leeward course, and at the end of the day the Southern Cross 52 Vela Veloce was determined the best performing boat and was named the 2010 Rolex US-IRC National Champion. Its owner and skipper, Richard Oland (St. John, New Brunswick, CAN), was presented with a specially engraved Rolex Yacht-Master at this evening's Rolex Gala and Awards Party held at Harbour Court.
Richard Oland's Vela Voloce won IRC 2 with four firsts and two seconds. Photo Credit Rolex - Daniel Forster
"This is a tremendous thrill for us," said Oland, who won his IRC class in March's International Rolex Regatta. He pointed out that competing against all of the boats in the fleet is exciting. "That's the secret of IRC. The reason it's become so good is because it allows for innovation. If you look at the results, and you look at boats you see how close they are. Like in our class, class 2, we were all within 50 feet."
The overall winner was calculated by comparing all entries based on a formula of average seconds per nautical mile. In determining the overall winner, the NYYC Sailing Office noted that the time separating winner Vela Veloce from the second-place overall was 13/100s of a second.
Winning the class wasn't enough; it was the overall performance that counted. Not much of a consolation to Steve Benjamin (South Norwalk, Conn.) and his team onboard his Tripp 41 Robotic Oncology, which won IRC Class 3 and finished in second place overall.