Donald Dean Summerville

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Donald Summerville)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Donald Dean Summerville
53rd Mayor of Toronto
In office
January 1, 1963 – November 19, 1963
Preceded byNathan Phillips
Succeeded byPhil Givens
Personal details
Born(1915-08-04)August 4, 1915
Toronto, Ontario
DiedNovember 19, 1963(1963-11-19) (aged 48)
Toronto, Ontario
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Alice Summerville
ParentsWilliam Summerville and Alberta D. White
Professionmilitary pilot, real estate office manager

Donald Dean Summerville (August 4, 1915 – November 19, 1963) was a municipal politician in Toronto, Ontario, and served as Mayor of Toronto, briefly, until his death.

Early years[edit]

Summerville was born in Toronto to William Arthur Summerville and Alberta White in 1915.[1] He had an older brother, Ross, who died as an infant in 1910.

Summerville served as a pilot for the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II, and is reputed to have bombed the Canadian National Exhibition grounds in Toronto by mistake during training. Before public office he was manager of family owned real estate company Summerville Properties (founded 1912).[2]

Public office[edit]

He was first elected to city council in 1955 as the alderman for Ward 8, in east-end Toronto, that included The Beaches neighbourhood. He served until 1958, then he was elected to the Toronto Board of Control – the city hall executive council – in 1959 and served until 1961. He was elected mayor of Toronto in December 1962 and took office on New Year's Day 1963.

Summerville suffered a fatal heart attack while playing in a charity hockey game at the George Bell Arena in the west-end Toronto neighbourhood known as The Junction.[3] The fire department arrived about three minutes after they were called, but because ambulances in the area were already on call, an ambulance had to be dispatched from Yonge Street at Davenport Road and did not arrive until about 15 minutes after it was called, arriving at 8:55 p.m.[4] At very high speed, he was rushed to St. Joseph Hospital in the High Park area, and died there at 9:05 p.m. Mayor Philip Givens, who succeeded Summerville, called for an inquest into why the emergency response was so slow.[4] The inquiry into the emergency response to his death found that the closest ambulance was not sent, because the ambulance service it belonged to, did not have jurisdiction over The Junction, and thus wasn't called. This led to the creation of the Department of Emergency Services and the amalgamation of Metropolitan Toronto's various local ambulance services.


Summerville's body was initially at Ralph Day Funeral Home, and then was moved to the council chambers at City Hall, followed by a funeral at St. James Cathedral.[5] Summerville is the second of two mayors to be lying in repose at City Hall (McBride was the first).


Summerville's father, William Summerville had been a city councillor and Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament for Riverdale from 1937 to 1943. His widow, Alice Summerville, was elected alderman, in her own right, representing Ward 8 in the Beaches from 1965 to 1966,[6] and Ward 9 until 1969, when she came in third in the municipal election.[7] His great-nephew, Paul Summerville (born in England to his nephew Paul William Summerville), an economist, was the New Democratic Party's candidate in the St. Paul's electoral district for the 2006 federal election.[8] He later resigned from the NDP and joined the Liberal Party of Canada.[8] He was the Liberal candidate in the 2012 federal by-election in British Columbia's Victoria electoral district.[9]


The Donald D. Summerville outdoor Olympic-sized pool (located at Woodbine Avenue and Lake Shore Boulevard East in The Beaches) and the annual Donald Summerville Yacht Race, hosted by Ashbridge's Bay Yacht Club, are named after him.

Summerville is buried in family plot at Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto.



  • Bragg, William (1963-11-20). "Mayor Summerville Skates Off Ice To Die". The Toronto Daily Star. p. 1.
  • Bragg, William (1969-12-02). "City voters mow down controller, 6 alderman". The Toronto Daily Star. p. 8.
  • City Staff (2013). "Fonds 1322 - Donald Summerville fonds - 1960-1962". City of Toronto Archives. City of Toronto. Retrieved 2013-10-25.
  • Globe Staff (1963-11-20). "Heart attack at 48: Stricken playing hockey, mayor Summerville dead". The Globe & Mail. Toronto. pp. 1, 4.
  • MacKinnon, Leslie (2012-11-26). "All eyes on Calgary Centre in today's byelections Polls predict a tight race in Conservative stronghold". CBC News. Toronto. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  • Rough, Alec (2012). "Don Summerville". Orange Men in Politics - 3. County Orange Lodge of Toronto. Retrieved 2013-11-25.
  • Star Staff (1963-11-27). "Givens: Why was Summerville call slow?". The Toronto Daily Star. p. 1.
  • Star Staff (1964-12-08). "Voting". The Toronto Daily Star. p. 8.
  • Times Colonist staff (2012-11-25). "Paul Summerville". Times Colonist. Victoria, British Columbia. Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-26.