Venue: Trinity- St. Paul United Church Gym
427 Bloor St W., Toronto
Dan was born in Rochester, New York and pre-deceased by his parents, William (Bill) and Ruth McDermott and by his life partner, Helen Rykens.
Dan and Helen were the love of each other’s lives. They made their home in Toronto and enjoyed travelling in Europe, Canada and the USA. Both members of the Bruce Trail Conservancy and the Art Gallery of Ontario, they hiked along many beautiful paths and enjoyed the art world in Toronto and on their many travels.
Dan is well known for his more than 35 years of work on numerous campaigns to curb environmental destruction. A founder of the Greenpeace Toronto office in the late 1970s, he was known for his commitment to the issues, his tenacity and his wonderful way with words. In 1979, in a signature campaign, he parachuted over the building site of the Darlington nuclear reactors to protest the dangers of nuclear power. Dan climbed smokestacks, gave scores of media interviews, always with great one-liners, and later organized tower climbs to support new technology and to encourage the phase-out of coal power generation. In his many years as the campaigns director at Greenpeace, he mentored countless young activists and composed dozens of witty banner slogans.
He worked to protect baby seals from slaughter on Canada’s east coast, with Greenpeace and later with the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Never one to shy away from conflict, Dan also worked with Newfoundland fishermen to reduce off shore over-fishing, in particular the use of dragnets on the ocean floor.
During Dan’s tenure at Earthroots, he was instrumental in establishing the White Bear Conservation Reserve in Ontario’s Temagami district.
At the Sierra Club of Canada, he worked tirelessly to end dependence on fossil fuels, recognizing early the dangers of human-induced climate change. Dan’s dedication to expanding protections for Ontario’s Greenbelt, and cleaning up the Great Lakes (while protecting the overall watershed) are his most recent campaigns.
Through his instrumental work at the Sierra Club of Canada, Earthroots and Greenpeace, and by working with broad coalitions of environmental activists, experts and the public, Dan strove to get industry, government and all of us to become more aware of our actions in order to clean up the planet.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Sierra Club Canada Foundation – Ontario Chapter and The 519 Community Centre would be appreciated. There will be no funeral, and a memorial event will be announced at a future date.