Jim Hilton

Partner, Toronto Office

Jim Hilton has over 30 years of commercial real estate experience with an emphasis on innovative joint ventures, acquisitions and dispositions of major commercial real estate properties, development, financing and security enforcement. Jim is a Partner and Chair of our national Real Estate Group, one of the largest and most comprehensive in Canada. He is one of Canada's leading commercial real estate counsel having extensive expertise in advising developers and investors on the acquisition, financing and disposition of office, retail, hotel and industrial properties. His practice has been built on the principles of superior client service and practical, effective advice.


Jim is widely recognized as a leader in his profession:

  • One of the top 25 real estate lawyers in the world - Legal Media Group’s The Best of the Best 2005
  • One of the ten leading Canadian real estate lawyers - Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Described as "a hugely influential lawyer with the ability to attract clients and deals" - Chambers Global: The World's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Included in The Lexpert/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada
  • Named in Law Business Research's The International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers
  • Listed in Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers
  • Cited in The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as one of the "most frequently recommended" lawyers in real estate and as one of the "leading practitioners" in his practice area
  • Voted by peers as one of the leading lawyers in Canada in the inaugural edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada 2006
  • Included in Canadian Who's Who

Representative Matters

The following significant transactions serve to highlight Jim's capabilities:

  • Legacy Hotel REIT - CAD 335-million financing of seven of its properties: the Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver; the Fairmont Hotel Macdonald, Edmonton; Delta Toronto East; Fairmont Chateau Laurier, Ottawa; Fairmont the Queen Elizabeth, Montréal; Delta Centre-Ville, Montréal and Delta Halifax
  • Aareal Bank AG - acquisition financing in connection with the purchase of the Pan Pacific Hotel and World Trade Centre property in Vancouver
  • Casino Windsor, Windsor - hotel and entertainment complex development and construction
  • FelCor Lodging Trust - sale of four Holiday Inn hotels located in Ontario
  • Deutsche Bank - CAD 181-million acquisition of 5000 Yonge Street, Toronto, from Menkes Developments and its joint venture investors
  • Borealis Retail REIT - CAD 199-million acquisition of Midtown Plaza, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and Cornwall Centre, Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) - CAD 1.1-billion disposition of its office portfolio in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton and Montréal, including the Commerce Court complex in Toronto and four office towers in Mississauga City Centre
  • OMERS - CAD 1.5-billion joint ventures of Square One Shopping Centre, Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Scarborough Town Centre
  • Met Life - disposition of its major real estate investments in Canada, including its interests in the Sheraton Centre, the Yonge-Eglinton Centre, 4 King Street West and 18 King Street East, Toronto
  • OMERS - acquisition of Hammerson Canada Inc.
  • Credit Suisse First Boston and CIBC - financing of OMERS acquisition of Oxford Properties Group Inc.


Author - "Update: Ministry of Public Works Issues Request for Proposals to Provide Recommendations for Crown-Owned Real Estate Portfolio", Blakes Bulletin on Real Estate, August 2006.

Co-author - "Investing in - and lending on - the security of Canadian Real Estate", Blakes Bulletin on Canadian Real Estate, April 2005; also featured in the Association of Foreign Investors in Real Estate ("AFIRE") November/December 2005 Newsletter.

Co-author - "Buying, Selling and Lending To and From a Limited Partnership or Trust", Co-presented at The 2nd Annual Real Estate Law Summit, The Law Society of Upper Canada, Toronto, Ontario, April 6-7, 2005.

Author - "Lending to Non-corporate Entities", Blakes Bulletin on Real Estate & Mortgage Financing, March 2005.

Author - " Why Invest in Canadian Real Estate?", Real Estate Finance, Focus On: Investing in Canadian Real Estate, Vol. 20, No. 5, P. 9, February 2004.

Author - "Enhancing the Financeability of Leasehold Property", Published in Briefings in Real Estate Finance: An International Journal, Vol. 3, No. 3, January 2004. [Henry Stewart Publications].

Co-author - "Subordination, Non-Disturbance and Attornment Agreements", Blakes Bulletin on Real Estate Leasing, November 2003.

Professional Activities

Panellist - "Negotiating Hotel Management and Franchise Agreements", 9th Annual Canadian Hotel Investment Conference, April 5, 2005.

Organizer and Presenter - "Silver Sponsor Donation", Canadian Hotel Investment Conference, Hotel and Hospitality Program, Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, March 30, 2004. Jim was one of the organizers. Blakes was a Silver Sponsor. Jim presented a donation to the Hotel and Hospitality Program on behalf of the sponsors.

Presenter - "Investing in Canadian Real Estate", Seminar in New York City, November 2005.
Presenter - "Lending on the Security of Canadian Real Estate", Verband Deutscher Pfandbriefbanken (the Association of German Mortgage Banks) seminar, Canadian Embassy, Berlin, Germany, March 8, 2006.

Recognized - "Highly Recommended", PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook 2005 [online resource]. The Blakes Commercial Real Estate Group also received a "Highly Recommended" rating.

Recognized - "Guide to the World's Leading Real Estate Lawyers", Legal Media Group, 2005.
Recognized - "The International Who's Who of Real Estate Lawyers", 2004.

Speaker - "The Borrower's Agenda: Issues Borrowers Should Raise and Why", 7th Annual Advanced Real Estate Financing Skills Summit, Federated Press, Toronto, Ontario, June 15, 2004.

Chair - "Market Intelligence Session", 7th Annual Advanced Real Estate Financing Skills Summit, Federated Press, Toronto, Ontario, June 15, 2004.
Speaker - "U.S. Investment in Canadian Real Estate", State Bar of Michigan Real Property Conference, March 6, 2004

Recognized - " A Q&A Guide to Corporate Real Estate in Canada ", PLC Global Counsel: Corporate Real Estate Law Handbook 2004/2005. Jim Hilton authored the chapter on Corporate Real Estate in Canada, London, U.K., March 2004.

Co-presenter - "Hybrid Financing for Complex Deals", 6th Annual Real Estate Financing Summit, Federated Press, May 26, 2003.

Chair - "Innovative Financing Solutions", 6th Annual Real Estate Financing Summit, Federated Press, May 26, 2003.

Chair - "Commercial Real Estate Law in Ontario", Insight Conferences, Toronto, May 12-13, 2003.

Speaker - "Effectively Handling Multi-Jurisdictional Real Estate Transactions", Insight Information Co., Toronto, Ontario, May 12, 2003.

Media Appearances

Quoted - "Commercial Real Estate and Title Insurance: Keeping Deals on Track", Canadian Lawyer, September 2005.

Mentioned - "Negotiating Hotel Management and Franchise Agreements", Hotelier magazine, April 2005.

Mentioned - "Acting for Hypothekenbank in Essen AG, The Standard Life Assurance Company and Metropolitan Life Insurance Company", International Law Office Newsletter, March 2005.

Professional Memberships

Jim is active in various professional organizations.  They are as follows:

  • Canadian Hotel Investment Conference
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Association of Foreign Investors and Real Estate
  • National Association of Industrial and Office Properties
  • Canadian Council for Public Private Partnerships
  • Chair elect, Lex Mundi Real Estate Section
  • Fellow, American College of Mortgage Attorneys


Admitted to the Ontario Bar – 1977
LLB, University of Toronto – 1975
B.A., University of Toronto – 1972

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