Jacob Isaac Glick was born in 1899 or 1900, possibly in Galicia or Montreal, and was raised in Montreal in a family of 11 children.
When he was a teenager, his father attempted to establish a homestead near Rosetown, Saskatchewan through the support of the Baron de Hirsch Institute and the Jewish Colonization Association. The homestead was unsuccessful, and he reported that his brother and father were the first two people to be buried in the new Jewish cemetery in Saskatoon. The rest of the family returned to Montreal. His mother died during the influenza epidemic, and he and his older siblings worked together to care for the three youngest children.
From the fall of 1920 through the 1930s, he worked as a prospector and fur trader in northern Ontario. He wrote that he had long dreamed of working for the Hudson’s Bay Company, but was told at the head office in Montreal that they did not hire Jewish staff. From then on, he was determined to work against the HBC: “If they don’t let Jewish people work for them, then it was my ambition to work against them.” After working for a fur trader for several years in Sudbury, Gogama, and Low Bush, Ontario, he entered into a business partnership with A. Brown of Sudbury.
While in Toronto with his trading partner, he met Sonia (Sadie) Nicholeavsky and her family. They had arrived two years prior from Russia, where they suffered during pogroms, war, and revolution. He and Sonia married on January 16, 1925, moving to Gogama and then Sudbury, where Sonia had extended family. On October 26, 1925, their only child Harold was born. That winter Glick began prospecting near Red Lake while Sonia and Harold stayed with Sonia’s mother in Toronto. When he returned to Sudbury, he and Brown established a fur business there while maintaining an office in Gogama. The family experienced significant financial difficulties during the Great Depression. By 1931 he began work in Oba, Ontario on behalf of Glick Mining Syndicate and Troy Consolidated Gold Mine Limited, and appears to have continued this work through 1935 on behalf of Steepe Mining Syndicate.
In July 1935 he shot and wounded William Denomer, an employee, near Horne Payne, Ontario. The case went to trial in August 1935, and after an appeal in September 1935 Glick was sentenced to three years in Kingston Penitentiary. Glick maintained that the shooting was in self-defence, and that the trial had been laced with antisemitism. While incarcerated in Kingston, he attempted to maintain his mining claims and syndicate and wrote an autobiography. He was released in November 1937, and returned to Oba.
In June 1938, Glick was charged with illegal fur dealing in Gogama, Ontario. He was released on bail and then arrested in Rouyn, Quebec, with nearly $10,000 of furs. After he was released on bail in Quebec, the Ontario Provincial Police launched a land and air search for him. There was a moratorium on selling beaver pelts in Ontario, and Glick was purportedly part of an international ring purchasing furs illegally from First Nations hunters for sale to markets in the United States and Great Britain. In July 1938, Glick was convicted on 21 charges and sentenced to two and a half years in Burwash Reformatory.
Upon release from Burwash, Glick enlisted in Montreal on June 20, 1940, and went overseas in August 1940, serving as a cook with the 1st Canadian Survey Regiment through 1944. He was discharged from the military and returned to Montreal in January 1945.
J.I. and Sadie Glick moved to Yellowknife in April 1945 with the encouragement of Hon. Charles McCrae, the president of Negus Mines and former Ontario Minister of Mines who had acted on behalf of Glick during his mining disputes. Upon arrival, Glick worked at Negus Mines as a cook, and the couple spent their first winter in a tent.
J.I. Glick's first business venture in Yellowknife was the Veterans Restaurant (also known as the Veterans Cafe), which was in operation from approximately 1946-1953. He started the business with the support of Re-Establishment Credits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. The cafe was in a building in ‘New Town’ downtown Yellowknife, and he also sold vegetables from a root house. By 1953 he was reporting income from property rentals and a second hand store. He sold the Second Hand Shop in 1955 and ventured more deeply into real estate, owning and operating Central Real Estate from 1954 onward to around 1971.
In 1957 he built the Gold Range Hotel on the same site as the Veterans Cafe, and worked as hotel manager from 1958 onward. He and his wife owned half of the business and their business partners were in Edmonton. The hotel property was owned by Central Real Estate. Around 1958-1959 J.I. Glick introduced the first telephone that had more than local service. He ran a radio telephone from his office in the hotel that connected out to the south, which locals could use to call out. In 1966 the Glicks sold their shares in the Gold Range Hotel to Hymie Weisler (Edmonton). J.I. Glick stayed as a public relations manager for the hotel for two years. Glick was also a Director of Premier Electrical, a local utility company, ca. 1967-1970.
Glick was involved as a member of the Yellowknife Ratepayers Association and Yellowknife Town Council in the 1960s, and was also a member of the Northwest Territories Progressive Conservative Association.
J.I. Glick passed on March 20, 1973. A service was held at Park Memorial Chapel on Spadina Avenue in Toronto, and interment took place at Lambton Park Cemetery.