McMILLIN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-04-21 published
GRANT, John Bass
Peacefully at home on Saturday April 19, 2008 in his 77th year. Loving husband and cherished friend of Audrey (née NEWBIGGING) beloved father of Susan (Hamilton HALL) and Lisa (Tom CAMERON.) Proud grandfather of Erica and Toby HALL. Survived by his older brother Ron. The son of John and Marion GRANT, John was born in Weston and lived in Etobicoke and at his cottage on Canning Lake (Minden.) John graduated from the University of Toronto ('57) with a master's degree in psychology and retired as corporate head of human resources for Canada Packers before serving as acting Chief Executive Officer and President of Humber Memorial Hospital (19931994.) He was a member of the Westway Bridge Club, an avid golfer and curler, and a very active original member of Westway United Church where he served on numerous committees, attended weekly Bible studies, and sang in the choir. John always gave more than he received. He demonstrated respect for all people, listened with genuine interest, and was able to identify the most important aspects of every situation. His intellectual ability, sense of humour, and clarity of perspective helped many people, especially young people, find their way. John wanted to thank his many Friends and family for their overwhelming support, which was a great comfort to him. A special thank you to Doctors Terry COOLIGAN and Bob McMILLIN and especially to Reverend Dale BURKART, whose unfailing Friendship and support, along with many hours of philosophical and theological discussion, became a significant part of John's life. John used to say, 'The most important thing is to love one another,' and for him, that was the most important thing. Friends may call at Ward Funeral Home, 2035 Weston Road, Weston, from 1: 00 to 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Monday April 21st, and from 1: 00 to 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday April 22nd. John's life will be celebrated at Westway United Church, 8 Templar Drive, Etobicoke, at 11: 00 a.m. on Wednesday April 23rd. A reception at the church will follow. Friends wishing to do so may make a donation in John's memory to the Canadian Lung Association or Dorothy Ley Hospice.

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McMINN o@ca.on.grey_county.owen_sound.the_sun_times 2008-03-07 published
CHALMERS, Donavon Miller
(February 4, 1921-March 5, 2008)
World War II Veteran
Don CHALMERS, husband for over 64 years of P. Jill CHALMERS (nee STINTON,) his war-bride from London, England. Father of Stephen Reagh CHALMERS and his wife Judy of Owen Sound, Margo BLANCHE and her husband Peter NEUWELT of Barrie and Lesley Anne CHALMERS and her partner Colleen ANDERSON of Toronto. Very beloved Grandpa of Mark BAZANT and his wife Angie of Australia, the parents of his first Great-grandchild Liam, and of Michael BAZANT and his partner Genvieve of Ottawa. Predeceased by his parents David and Eva (REAGH) CHALMERS, sisters Vivien McMINN, Vera VALLANCE and brother Dave of Grand Coulee, Saskatchewan. He also lives on through his niece and nephew and their families Patsy Ann Reagh McMINN of Saint Thomas and Clarence VALLANCE of Ottawa. Don was born and raised in Grand Coulee, Saskatchewan, where his predecessors were among the first settlers of Saskatchewan, and also the founders of Confederation with his maternal great uncle - Sir Charles Tupper. He signed up for World War 2 in 1939 and was shipped overseas to England where he was promoted to Sandhurst College for Officer Training. After serving in England, Holland and Italy in World War 2 with the Canadian Army Medical Corp. and then the Armoured Tank Corp., Dad brought his war bride back home and settled in London, Ontario where he completed his Batchelor's Degree at the University of Western Ontario. He went on to a long and successful career with Wyeth Canada, where he set records for sales in Southwestern Ontario. His friendly nature and humour brought him many life long Friends and acquaintances throughout the Southwestern Ontario region. In the early fifties, Don and Jill settled in Owen Sound, where they raised their 3 children. He was proud of his long relationship with the Grey and Simcoe Foresters, Knox United Church, and the infamous Friday Night Bridge Club. We shall miss his western humor and his true love of people. Thanks you to Knox United Church, the Toronto Dominion Bank and especially Summit Place where he received exceptional care and compassion. We'd also like to make known our special appreciation to Big Boots Barry, his bridge partner and Border Collie when he needed it the most. Friends may call at the Breckenridge-Ashcroft Funeral Home on Saturday March 8, 2008 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. A funeral service will be held at the funeral home on Saturday at 5 p.m. Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6 are requested to attend a memorial Service at the funeral home on Saturday March 8 at 2: 45 p.m. Interment in Greenwood Cemetery. Rev. Ralph SCHMIDT officiating. Memorial donations may be directed to the Alzheimer's Society of Grey Bruce, charity of your choice, or simply plant a rose in his honour. He loved his roses. Rest easy Dad. And in your famous words - Ya done good kid!

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McMINN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-03-07 published
CHALMERS, Donavon Miller
Peacefully at Summit Place Nursing Home in Owen Sound on Wednesday March 5, 2008. In his 88th year, Donavon Miller CHALMERS the loving husband of P. Jill CHALMERS (STINTON.) Loving father of Stephen and his wife Judy of Owen Sound, Margo BLANCHE and her husband Peter NEUWELT, of Barrie and Lesley and her partner Colleen ANDERSON of Toronto. Proud grandfather of Mark BAZANT and his wife Angie of Australia, Michael BAZANT and his partner Genvieve of Ottawa. Great-grandfather of Liam. He will be fondly remembered by his nieces and nephews. Predeceased by his parents David and his late wife Eva (née REAGH) and by his sisters Vivien McMINN, Vera VALLANCE and by his brother Dave. Friends may call at Breckenridge-Ashcroft Funeral Home in Owen Sound (519) 376-2326 on Saturday March 8, 2008 from 3: 00 p.m. -5:00 p.m. A funeral service will be held at the funeral home on Saturday evening at 5: 00 p.m. Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #6 Owen Sound are requested to attend a memorial service at the funeral home on Saturday March 8 afternoon at 2: 45 p.m. Interment in Greenwood Cemetery. Rev. Ralph SCHMIDT officiating. As an expression of sympathy, memorial donations to charity of your choice would be appreciated by the family.

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McMINN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-07-23 published
GARDINER, Helen Elizabeth (née McMINN,) C.M.
(July 18, 1938-July 22, 2008)
A mother&hellip
A brother&hellip
A daughter&hellip
Are deeply saddened this day by the loss of their most wonderful Helen. Together at the family farm… with beloved Westies, Airdrie and Angus…the family witnessed Helen accept death with great courage and peace.
Touching the lives and hearts of many, Helen was loved by her extended family and Friends. She was renowned for her humour, warmth and infectious laughter. Honest and gentle, with generous heart…Helen dedicated a lifetime to sharing and learning. She made things beautiful…she made people beautiful…she taught compassion, grace and thoughtfulness through example…even her last days were spent in comforting others.
It is not enough to say that she is loved.
It is not enough to say that she is missed.
Born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Helen was a York University alumnus and a graduate of the Christie's Fine Arts Course in London England.
Her passions for nature, travel, riding, arts, education, and culture were woven within her many commitments and achievements. Helen provided assistance and leadership to the National Ballet School, Victoria University, the Royal Ontario Museum, the Canadian Opera Company and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. As an honorary Lt. Colonel, Helen established the Friends of the 28th Medical Company, a charitable foundation to support the company and provide scholarships for it's' members. Helen was made an honorary Colonel in 1999.
Helen's greatest passion and future dreams were saved for the Gardiner Museum which she and her late husband George co-founded in 1984. Seeking to go far beyond the original vision, she spearheaded a fundraising campaign in 2003 which resulted in an award-winning expansion of this important Toronto resource and landmark. It is a heritage of which all should be proud.
In summation and recognition of a lifetime of efforts, Helen received the Order of Canada in the fall of 2006 for her extraordinary contribution as a philanthropist.
Predeceased by her husband George, and her father Charles McMINN, Helen will be sadly missed by her daughter Lindy BARROW, her mother Helen McMINN and Helen's brother Bob and his wife Norah. She will also be greatly missed by the extended Gardiner family, their importance has been vital in Helen's life.
The family will receive Friends at Morley Bedford Funeral Home, 159 Eglinton Avenue West, Toronto from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. on Sunday, July 27, 2008. A service of Celebration will be held at St James Cathedral, 65 Church Street, Toronto (corner of Church and King Streets), on Monday July 28, 2 008 at 11: 00 a.m. followed by a private burial. A reception honouring Helen to follow.
In lieu of flowers, it is Helen's grateful wish that donations be given to the Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen's Park, Toronto, Ontario M5S 2C7 Attn: Helen Gardiner Fund.

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McMINN o@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2008-07-23 published
She turned the Gardiner Museum into a glittering, priceless gem
With the help of her wealthy stockbroker husband, she transformed a hobby into a great ceramics collection, and then built a museum to house it all opposite Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum
By Sandra MARTIN, Page S10
Museum founder and philanthropist Helen GARDINER had three lives: before George, during George, and after George. The George was George Ryerson GARDINER, a business integrator, Harvard MBA and stockbroker who founded Gardiner Group Capital, the country's first discount brokerage, and was president of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Generally considered a business genius, he was a pioneer in the oil-and-gas business, opened the first airport hotel in Canada, was a key player in bringing Kentucky Fried Chicken north of the 49th parallel, established Gardiner Farms, the racing stable and breeding farm, and was one of the original members of the syndicate that owned Northern Dancer. "He didn't start with nothing," a former business associate said, "but he multiplied it many times over."
Ms. GARDINER, by contrast, came from humble circumstances, and was a single parent working as a secretary in Mr. GARDINER's brokerage firm when they met. With Mr. GARDINER's support, she became a mature student at York University and took the decorative arts course at Christie's in London, England. Having acquired professional expertise - her impeccable eye for quality was innate - she and her husband amassed a huge and very valuable collection of porcelain and earthenware, then built a museum to house it.
Nevertheless, he was always the public face and voice of the Gardiner Museum. After Mr. GARDINER died in December, 1997, she emerged as a fundraiser, philanthropist and connoisseur who transformed the Gardiner from a mausoleum for a private collection into a dynamic, innovative and internationally prized museum. She also developed her own interests in the National Ballet School and other art forms such as opera, becoming so fond of Wagner's Ring Cycle that she was known as a "Ring" addict.
"The Gardiner Museum was her No. 1 passion, but the National Ballet School was a close second," said Margaret McCain, former chair of the board of the National Ballet School and former lieutenant-governor of New Brunswick.
"Helen had moral integrity and she also had a lot of fortitude," said Ms. McCain, describing her friend as fun with a wonderful laugh and a complete lack of pretension. "She was grounded and she was able to hold on to her own identity even if she was in George's shadow for a long time. There was a strength there and I used to say, 'You are your own person, kind and gentle, but strong inside.' "
Tony ARRELL, a former Chief Executive Officer of Gardiner Watson and a director of Gardiner Group Capital said: "When you have a tree growing under a big tree, the big tree shades the little tree, but when you take the big tree out, the little tree can grow up - and that is what has been happening with Helen. She has proven to be a stronger character with a greater ability than many people thought," he said. "There has been a lot more to Helen GARDINER in the last 10 years than we ever knew before."
Helen Elizabeth McMINN was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, the year before the Second World War began. Her father Charles was a carpenter at one of the gold mines, while her mother Helen was a homemaker. The McMinns moved south to Toronto, where Mr. McMINN worked for General Electric at its Davenport Works until he retired. Their two children, Helen and Bob, went to high school in Toronto, and then Bob joined the military. Helen's daughter Lindy BARROW, who was born in 1958, lived with her grandparents until she was 10 while Ms. McMINN, a single parent, worked at various jobs in advertising and as a legal secretary to support her daughter and save enough money to provide a home for them both.
In the second half of the 1960s, she met George GARDINER when she was hired as a secretary at Gardiner Watson, the stock brokerage that he and a partner had founded just after the Second World War. At the time, she was in her late 20s and Mr. GARDINER (who was known to enjoy, discreetly, the company of beautiful women) was in his early 50s, married and the father of three children. Not long before, in July, 1965, his formidable father Percy, a financier, had died of a heart attack. This death may have liberated Mr. GARDINER, who had had a fractious relationship with his father and had always felt the need to show that he could be even more successful in business.
"He once said that Helen was the first person that he laid eyes on as he was coming out from under this oppression that he had been under for so many years," according to Gretchen ROSS, a long-time friend. Their relationship led to the breakup of Mr. GARDINER's marriage.
In the mid-1970s, they moved into a house on Old Forest Hill Road in Toronto. He bought the property, razed the existing house and built a new one with lead-lined walls - he had acute hearing and didn't want to be disturbed by the neighbours. Mr. GARDINER and his first wife had bought some pre-Colombian earthenware in South America, and he decided that he and Ms. McMINN should "collect something unique to make our house look lived in," she said later. He wanted it to have "quality, individuality and his personal stamp." Naively, as she later admitted, they hit on ceramics.
Two years later, inflation was escalating. Mr. GARDINER, an astute and thrifty businessman, read an article asserting that Chinese and European porcelain were outperforming stocks, bonds and real estate, and he decided it was time to turn their hobby into an investment. Helen, who had been studying as a mature student at York University since 1974, switched tacks and went to London in 1978 to take Christie's Fine Arts Course. A year later, she was both an expert and a qualified dealer who could buy ceramics at wholesale prices.
Their first mature purchase was a hand-painted, highly decorated yellow tea-and-chocolate service made in 1740 by Meissen, the earliest factory in Europe to produce hard-paste porcelain. On the advice of a Sotheby's porcelain expert, Helen had gone to see the 50-piece set, complete with its original leather travelling case, at Winifred Williams Antiques on Bury Street in London. She persuaded Mr. GARDINER to look at the Meissen service and to meet dealer Robert Williams. Without telling her, he bought the service. And so the Gardiners began their long association with Mr. Williams and transformed themselves into serious collectors. As she said later, "Bob taught me how to really look at things. He was generous with his knowledge and showed me how to identify artists and factories by the distinctive characteristics of their work."
From Meissen, the couple began accumulating works made by Du Paquier, the second factory in Europe to produce hard-paste porcelain in the 18th century, and pieces called Hausmaler, a term used to describe ceramics decorated by studio artists who painted or redecorated porcelain produced by factories such as Meissen or Du Paquier. As always, they kept a judicious eye on their passions and their bottom line, collecting Du Paquier because it was undervalued, and Hausmaler for its variety, eccentric charm and the stories about subterfuge, espionage and larceny swirling around the pieces - how artists "acquired" undecorated wares from the studios that employed them and then painted them with their own designs.
During her Christie's course in London, Helen was seduced by the lush sensual colours and painterly decoration of Italian Maiolica. She took Mr. GARDINER to see the Maiolica collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington and he too was entranced. Encouraged by a lull in the market for Maiolica, Mr. GARDINER began buying at auction or through their retinue of international dealers.
By the early 1980s, the Gardiners - they had married on July 11, 1981, at least a dozen years after they first met - were running out of display and storage room in their home. With the help of entertainment lawyer and ceramics collector Aaron MILRAD, the determined and persuasive Mr. GARDINER set about acquiring the land and the political approvals to establish his own museum. In 1981, the Ontario government, led by premier Bill Davis, unanimously passed Bill 183 to create The George R. Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art as an independent, public institution. Doctor Murray Ross helped the Gardiners acquire a tennis court on the east side of Queen's Park, directly opposite the Royal Ontario Museum, from the University of Toronto. Mr. GARDINER paid $500,000 to lease the land for 99 years.
Three years later, architect Keith WAGLAND and designer Robert MEIKELJOHN's $6-million building was ready. The George R. Gardiner Museum, showcasing some 3,000 objets valued at between $16-million and $25-million from the Gardiners' personal collection, officially opened on Saturday, March 3, 1984, with an additional $2.5-million operating grant from its benefactors to celebrate the occasion.
Initially, the Gardiners were as naive about operating a museum as they had been about ceramics. They didn't have nearly enough staff, went through three directors in their first year and underestimated their operating and exhibition costs. After unsuccessfully petitioning the Liberal provincial government for more money, the museum was advised by premier David Peterson to merge with the Royal Ontario Museum in 1987. "I have learned it is very, very difficult to compete with other museums," Mr. GARDINER, a man known for his independence, said at an emotional press conference called to announce the merger.
"The government decided we needed the Royal Ontario Museum's management expertise," Ms. GARDINER told The Globe in 2006. But it wasn't always a comfortable relationship. For an independent museum to be put under the control of another much larger one was akin to an adult daughter moving back into her parents' house with her children after a messy divorce.
The Royal Ontario Museum saw the Gardiner as an adjunct, housing yet another of its many collections, but the Gardiner longed to flex its curatorial wings. Mr. GARDINER, who was succeeded as chair of the board by his wife in 1994, bought back the museum's independence with a $15-million endowment (raising his investment in his own museum to about $50-million). It was announced in January, 1997, just 11 months before Mr. GARDINER died of complications from arthritis and heart disease.
The strain of caring for her husband in his last years when he was ill and "difficult" and dealing with his estate after his death made her so nervous that her throat muscles tightened up and she had trouble speaking above a whisper, Ms. Ross said. It was only recently that doctors found a solution - periodic shots of Botox and a regime of throat exercises - that enabled Ms. GARDINER to speak normally again.
In the decade of her widowhood, Ms. GARDINER threw herself into the museum and into the National Ballet School, where she had sat on the board since 1990. "She invested a lot more than money - she invested herself in the life of the school and the lives of the students," said Ms. McCain. "She took on a student and stayed with that student and became a mentor and a guide and a friend."
Under Ms. GARDINER's direction, the museum built up its membership lists again and stretched beyond the personal vision of its founders. The Gardiner began accepting other collections, such as Doctor Hans Syz's German porcelain and Murray and Ann Bell's trove of Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. It expanded its mandate to include modern and contemporary pieces from collectors, such as Mr. MILRAD, and began organizing exhibitions of work by living artists.
Ms. GARDINER was chair until 1999 and vice-chair for the next two years, during which time the museum received a Lieutenant-Governor's Award for the Arts for building private sector and community support, showing fiscal responsibility and expanding its audience (from 20,000 to 60,000 visitors annually), using pottery classes for children and exhibitions such as Maya Universe, Miro: Playing with Fire and Harlequin Unmasked. In 2002, she accepted the position of honorary chair and led the museum's fundraising and expansion campaign to raise $12.8-million from the private sector, in addition to $6-million in grants from the Ontario and Canadian governments.
The museum closed from 2004 to 2006 for a nearly $20-million renovation undertaken by Kuwabara, Payne, McKenna and Blumberg Architects. The renovation added a glass-encased third floor, restaurant and roof terraces, increased exhibition space by 50 per cent, added a research library and expanded the museum shop and the basement studio to accommodate artists in residence and more pottery classes.
"In the last 10 years, she started to develop her own interests and her own ability to reach out for things that she would never have looked at before. And then she got sick," said Mr. MILRAD, vice-chair of the board. "She had an integrity that was recognized and it is going to be extremely difficult for us to raise the kind of money that she was able to raise through her contacts and her own strength of character."
Falling terminally ill was a shock to Ms. GARDINER, who had always planned to live well into her 90s, just as her mother has done. In the first week of May, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. After seeking treatment at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Ms. GARDINER began a rigorous course of chemotherapy. But she soon decided to suspend treatment, since it wasn't working and it was making her feel very ill. Instead, she let "nature take its course," as she told her Friends and family.
Helen Elizabeth GARDINER, C.M., was born in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, on July 18, 1938. She died of pancreatic cancer at the family farm in Caledon East on July 22, 2008. She was 70. Predeceased by husband George GARDINER, she is survived by daughter Lindy BARROW, mother Helen McMINN, brother Bob McMINN and extended family.
The funeral will take place on Monday, July 28, at 11 a.m. in Toronto's Saint_James Cathedral.

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