Remembering Dan McDermott – Former Chapter Director, Sierra Club Ontario

Remembering Dan McDermott.Dan McDermott, Sierra Club Canada’s Ontario Chapter Director for 13 years, passed away peacefully on January 4th 2017. It is wonderful to see his influential life mentioned in these posts, which have featured in the news recently with reflections and thoughts on Dan’s life, what he dedicated it to, and his passing three weeks ago.

Sierra Club Canada Foundation statement.

Sierra Club Ontario:


Toronto Star:

Toronto Environmental Alliance:

Bob Hunter blog:

Freshwater Future:

Dan’s obituary in the Toronto Star:

Dan will be sorely missed and fondly remembered by all those who knew him.  In lieu of flowers, donations to the Sierra Club Canada Foundation – Ontario Chapter would be appreciated. We are planning a tree memorial at the Toronto Islands, stay tuned for more information.

Below is Dan’s obtituary.

Daniel McDermott

May 6, 1947 – January 4, 2017

Born in Rochester and predeceased by his life partner, Helen Rykens, and his parents, William (Bill) and Ruth McDermott.

Dan and Helen were the love of each other’s lives and enjoyed travelling in Europe, Canada and the USA. Members of the Bruce Trail Conservancy and the Art Gallery of Ontario, they hiked on numerous paths and followed the art world in Toronto and on their travels.

Dan is well known for his more than 35 years of work on numerous campaigns to curb environmental destruction. In 1979, he made a parachute jump over the building site for the Darlington reactors to protest nuclear power plants. Dan has climbed smokestacks, and later organized climbs, to support scrubber technology and to encourage the phase out of coal power generation. He worked on the anti-sealing campaigns with Greenpeace and later with IFAW.

Dan worked with Newfoundland fisherman to reduce off shore over-fishing, in particular drag nets used on the ocean floor. Dan was instrumental in establishing the White Bear conservation reserve in the Temagami district of Ontario. He worked tirelessly to end dependence on fossil fuels, recognizing early the dangers of human induced climate change. Dan’s dedication to expanding Green Belt protection and cleaning up the Great Lakes (while protecting the watershed) are his most recent campaigns.

Through his work at the Sierra Club of Canada, Earthroots and Greenpeace, and by working with broad coalitions of environmental activists, Dan strove to get industry, government and all of us to clean up the planet.