Passed away after a lengthy illness on Sunday, November 3, 2019 in his 86th year at Kensington Hospice, Toronto. Predeceased by his son Thomas and his first wife Margaret, he is survived by his adored and adoring wife Janice Dembo, son Michael of Orillia, daughter-in-law Kathleen Trainor, daughter Kathleen Hefferon and son-in-law, Dr. Jed Lippert of Ithaca NY and his adored grandchildren; Colin Hefferon and Rory and Ryan Lippert; he will be dearly missed by his brother Colin and his partner Lydia Kawun and by his devoted extended families in Toronto, South Africa, Israel and England.
Born and raised in Scarborough, Dennis graduated from Saint Michael’s College at the University of Toronto, Osgoode Hall Law School and Harvard Law School. He enjoyed a rich career as a law professor at Osgoode Hall and at York University’s Faculty of Environmental Studies. At Osgoode Hall, he authored numerous works of legal scholarship and initiated new ideas in teaching Canadian law.
As special counsel to the City of Toronto Dennis exercised his passion for preserving the character and creativity of the inner city while attracting livable residential development. His commitment to those goals led to the creation of the vibrant city we enjoy today including parks, workplace daycare centres, the preservation of the historic Winter Garden and Elgin theatres and the growth of Harbourfront. He developed the legal strategy for the implementation of the new Central Area Plan of the City of Toronto under Mayors David Crombie and Art Eggleton. As special counsel to the Planning Act Review Committee, Dennis provided advice that resulted in the enactment of the 1983 Ontario Planning Act; many of his recommendations continue today in the current Planning Act. One of his more notable successes was, with Mayor Marie Hubbard, the settlement of safety and assessment issues with the Ontario Power Generation Corp. involving the Darlington Nuclear Generation Facility while acting for the Municipality of Clarington between 1988 and 2010.
A thirty-five year member of the RCYC, Dennis was an enthusiastic sailor, ever delighted to host his friends and family on his boat, as well as an avid reader of books about history and leadership. He was generous to all people throughout his life and will be remembered forever by his loving family and all the people he touched through his remarkable life and career.
The family is thankful for the friendship of David Nunes, as well as the tender care provided by Regat Ogbasilasie, Miryam Marticorena, Sarah and Sophia Bassakyros.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to: the Broad Reach Foundation for Youth Leaders; the Kensington Hospice; or a charity of your choice serving disadvantaged youth and the homeless.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Centres