Invidiata: What’s in a Name?

By Tara MacIntosh

The Invidiata family, with proud Italian roots, has built an enduring legacy by not only rising to the challenges they face but exceeding all expectations. The literal translation of Invidiata is envied, and when Christopher Invidiata is asked if that is true, he replies, “some days yes, some days no.”

Although Christopher has been a fixture in Oakville for some time, his Italian heritage has always been a source of great pride and inspiration. Dr. Rosario Invidiata, Christopher’s Grandfather, was a Sicilian by birth, and his Grandmother, Ada Invidiata, was born in Bassano del Grappa. Dr. Rosario Invidiata met Ada during war times in Europe and engaged in a fairy tale romance. Shortly after they became husband and wife, they immigrated to Toronto, Canada, searching for a new beginning. Life in Toronto offered adventure and the hopes of prosperity, yet Ada had trouble adjusting with her family and friends so far away. She often felt isolated and lonely, relying on her husband to keep her spirits high.  

Frank Invidiata

Dr. Invidiata set up a successful practice in Toronto serving the community of Italian Canadians. The family was growing with Ada giving birth to 3 children, one of whom was Frank Invidiata, who would eventually become Christopher’s father. Frank faced some medical challenges and had a hard time adjusting to life in Canada, but the family always supported each other and did their best to create happy memories.  

In Sept 1939, Canada set up internment camps targeting Italian Canadians and other groups.  In June of 1940, the Right Honourable W.L. Mackenzie King proclaimed, “The Minister of Justice authorized the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to take steps to intern all residents of Italian origin, whose activities have given grounds for the belief or reasonable suspicion that they might, in time of war, endanger the safety of the state, or engage in activities prejudicial to the prosecution of the war.” Dr. Rosario Invidiata was taken from his family in the middle of the night and sent to these camps in Northern Ontario. This act would forever change the Invidiata family and the lives of many Italian families living in Canada.

With Dr. Rosario gone, Ada was left fending for herself and her children. The pressures of life became too much, and, in time, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and institutionalized. Upon release from the camps, Dr. Rosario returned to Toronto, moved back into the same house, and never fully accepting or processing the horror he endured; he committed suicide due to his experience in the camps. Ada never returned home, living out her last days in the institution.

Frank grew up with the dream of becoming a medical doctor like his father. He put himself through medical school by driving a taxi and working hard to achieve his goals. In his last year of school, Frank married Elizabeth, the love of his life. Frank established his practice in their first five years of marriage, and Elizabeth worked as a school teacher. When it came time to grow their family, they decided to adopt after years of trying unsuccessfully to conceive. They first adopted Mark, then Christopher and then Lia. Much to their surprise, years later, Elizabeth gave birth to a son, Aaron. 

Elizabeth stayed home with the four children and created a loving, thriving environment where they flourished. The Invidiata family continued to be influential members of the GTA community. The entrepreneurial spirit seeped into the veins of all the children, each growing up with dreams of creating something meaningful to carry on the Invidiata name.

Christopher, an entrepreneur at heart, began his career selling jewelry under his first company, Carducci, in Toronto. In 1981 he was forced to shut down his business due to the recession. He decided to move into the luxury fashion industry, selling luxury clothing from Italy and Germany to high-end retail stores. He enjoyed sales and the personal relationships he developed and nurtured through this line of work.

While growing his fashion business, Christopher married and had a young daughter, Shae. Travel was a big part of the demands of his job, and with each passing day, he missed being close to his family. While on a business trip, his wife called to say that Shae had taken her first steps; at that moment, he knew he needed to be close to home, never again to miss these family milestones.  

He turned to his father for advice on building something meaningful while staying close to his family. His father urged him to consider real estate as he could remain local, and it incorporated selling luxury products and building personal relationships, two of his strongest skills. He reminded Christopher that he could sell luxury fashion at a lower price point, or he could sell luxury real estate and collect notable commissions to support his family, all while staying local. In 1985 Christopher entered the real estate world and never looked back.

At this time, a new company was on the horizon, RE/MAX. The RE/MAX system intrigued Christopher as it allowed the agents to excel at their own pace. Essentially, each agent was their own boss and were only required to pay a desk fee, their marketing expenses, and 5% of their commission to the company. The volume of commission was uncapped. Christopher loved this structure as it lent itself to the entrepreneur mentality and offered unlimited potential. The harder you worked, the more you earned. This structure was infinitely appealing. Christopher joined RE/MAX and enjoyed a professional relationship with the company for the next 35 years.

As in his past endeavours, he proceeded to do things his way. As an industry leader, he wanted to make the experience of buying and selling luxury real estate top-tier, so he created a waterfront division and a luxury division. The goal of these two divisions was to make the product and the package better for both buyers and sellers. Christopher’s father always said, “If everyone is wearing blue jeans, wear dress pants. If everyone is wearing dress pants, wear blue jeans.” In that vein, he made sure to stand out by always bringing something new or different to the table. By creating these luxury divisions, he made the product better for buyers and sellers and created something new in the real estate landscape. He elevated the market by stirring up the competition and forcing others to put their best foot forward.  

In the first ten years of his real estate career, Christopher Invidiata and his three assistants worked tirelessly and challenged real estate traditions where it made sense. It came to the point where Christopher could no longer do more work in a day than he was currently doing. So in essence, his earning potential has maxed out. In 1995, Christopher made $20 million in gross sales. He was very proud of his success, but he knew he needed to figure out how to grow to the next level. 

Searching for ideas, he went to a real estate convention in Florida. This decision turned out to be lifechanging both for Christopher and the real estate industry in Canada. The convention had non-stop speakers and lectures. Christopher attended as many as possible to learn about emerging opportunities.  He discovered two concepts that would disrupt the industry in Canada forever. The first being the team concept, and the second was the buyer Broker concept. He learned that you don’t have to work as a single agent, but you can have a team of agents working under you moving collectively towards a common goal. As a team, the earning potential and reach extends far beyond the capabilities of an individual. The Invidiata Team was born.

Upon return to Canada, Christopher began to build his Invidiata team. He realized that most active real estate agents spend 75% of their time on pre- and post-sale work leaving only 25% of their time with their clients. By implementing this new structure, he provided crucial support for agents in the field via licensed inside sales agents. This meant those in the field would reclaim their time, thus increasing their sales potential. Christopher knew the implementation process of this new structure would require him to mentor his agents and transition his assistants into sales associates. It would provide the support the agents needed to flourish.  

Christopher employed licensed inside sales agents that would help his agents in the field. The Invidiata team also began creating marketing materials and brochures, removing any roadblocks to success. In 2005 the power of the team was undeniable with a reported $200 million in sales.

In 2009 the major financial crisis disrupted the real estate industry as a whole. In six months, sales had dropped 90%. Christopher still believed in the power of real estate and needed to find a way to share his love of the industry on a wide scale; the Invidiata magazine was born. In the beginning, Invidiata created four micro-magazines with the ethos of showcasing Invidiata listings and inviting people to see the Invidiata collections. Christopher began with four categories – under $2 million, over $2 million, over $5 million, and Waterfront. These four eventually were merged into one magazine, The Invidiata Collection. The magazine served to create a community between buyers, sellers, marketing, and business partners. The idea was that Invidiata would present beautiful properties, and the marketing partners would have the opportunity to meet new people that could become possible clients with the potential to form lasting business relationships. It was a win-win concept. Almost ten years later, the magazine morphed once again to be called Invidiata Homes and Lifestyle. In addition to Invidiata listings, the current magazine features luxury retail elements introducing the public to local businesses through community events and business offerings.

In 2020, Christopher and The Invidiata Team made a big move after being with RE/MAX for 35 years to eXp Realty — the fastest growing real estate company in the history of real estate according to Real Trends. There will be a re-brand to reflect this new chapter focusing on an inward look at real estate. After a brief pause, the magazine will be published in the new year, returning to its roots. Solely virtual, the preferred clients will have access to the agents and in-depth views of the properties featured. The premiere issue will be released in January 2022.   

Christopher started his real estate career based on the advice of his father, and after 37 years in the industry Christopher couldn’t be prouder than to have both of his children, Shae and Caleb, as licensed agents on the team who have been invested in the teams’ success for over a decade and continue to have growing roles in the company and the future of The Invidiata Team.

“We are just getting started, there’s a lot more fun to be had, new success to create, and clients to serve!…Stay tuned!” – Christopher Invidiata