Beat Freuler, 79, passed away peacefully on May 6th 2023 at St. Michael’s Hospital where he was loved by all staff. Beat was born in Switzerland on March 18th 1944 in Canton Basel, Switzerland. He will be dearly missed by all his friends and family.
Beat’s legacy began in 1971 when he and his best friend, Rolf Reininghaus, were transferred to Canada by Bata Shoe Company, whom they worked for in England. After settling into the new country, they worked as Bata shoe store managers and, in 1973,
Beat founded Tell Trading Co Ltd in partnership with Rolf. A couple of years later, Rolf left the company to eventually co-found what became, at that time, Canada’s largest pharmaceutical company, Biovail Corporation, a publicly traded company with more than 2000 employees.
Beat had a vision of creating a range of comfort footwear with broad appeal among the middle class, and thus the brand Volks Walkers (People’s Walkers) was born. Beat’s vision also included providing independent retailers with their exclusive brand of
footwear (not sold in department stores, etc.) and his goal was to make sure that every retail store in Canada knew who Tell Trading was. Beat accomplished all of the above, with currently over 500 independent shoe retailers across Canada selling Volks Walkers and with distribution now expanding into the United States of America. People and shoes were Beat’s main passions. Dedication, hard work and a clear visionary is what kept Beat moving forward. He lived life with the mindset of mind over matter not matter over mind. Unfortunately, due to worsening health issues Beat knew that he had to find and groom a successor to ensure that his legacy would continue long into the future! In 2018, Beat transferred ownership of Tell Trading to Danny DaSilva and his young family. Thereby triggering the evolution of the business into a family operation, this filled his heart dearly and kept him involved in the management of the company.
Beat was also known as a world traveler, who could surprise anyone with all the various languages he spoke and the vast knowledge of geography and culture he had gained over the years. He loved collecting unique artifacts from his travels, which made his home feel like a museum. He travelled to places very few dared to visit in those days, such as visiting the cannibals in Borneo and riding down the Yangtze River on an old steam boat long before the Three Gorges Dam was built. His friends fondly nicknamed him “the travel athlete” and “the treasure hunter”. Despite his physical limitations from his late-stage illness, Beat found a way to travel to Portugal with the help of Danny and to Switzerland with the help of his friend Mazen Sabsabi. Beat had great passion for life and he enjoyed each day to the fullest. He much enjoyed dining out, visiting with friends, watching sports and conducting YouTube searches in an attempt to satisfy his unquenchable thirst for knowledge. His witty sense of humor, lovingly cynical at times, was infectious and endeared him to everyone he met. He particularly loved keeping in touch with his many friends all over the world. Beat steadfastly maintained a positive attitude and an unwavering cheerful outlook on life in the face of numerous debilitating health related setbacks he suffered during recent years. As a result, he was a tremendous source of inspiration to all those around him.
Beat knew that his journey had come to an end when he developed an incurable stomach condition. He did not suffer and said that he had lived an incredible life his only regret was the he would not experience the Leafs wining the Stanly Cup. For that
reason, Beat always believed in the present, he never dwelled on the past and always looked forward to the future with a positive mindset.
Beat is survived by his cousins in Switzerland Christian and Markus Guedel and his many friends in Canada, Thailand, Australia, Switzerland, Italy, Portugal and Turkey, among others.
Our beloved travel athlete has returned home. He will be greatly missed by the many lives he touched so profoundly.
Please consider making a donation to St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation in Toronto, whose doctors and nurses consistently excelled in providing medical support and comfort to beat throughout his long-standing illness.
There will be no funeral as Beat’s wishes were to be cremated. A celebration of life will be held in the near future with all his dear friends.
So sorry to hear of Beat’s passing . He was a good friend of my late husband Vincent Pedulla. Both were well known in the shoe business in the 70’s and 80’s
Beat will be missed by myself and Tanda Shoes. We have been a long time customer since 2006. RIP
Mr Beat is a gentleman ,very polite and never mad in any difficult conditions on dialysis. He is always friendly, he speak multiple languages, every dialysis he speak Cantonese with me ,he can speak more than 5 languages fluently I believed, may be more.
RIP Mr ,Beat.
We all missed you!
Beat was such a gentleman and we loved doing business with him.