John Irwin Fisher




P. Eng.


John died peacefully on August 5, 2021 at North York General Hospital.  Dear husband to Margaret Bird, loving father to Susan Fisher (Firoz Ahmed) and Geoffrey Fisher (Cheryl Griffin). Proud grandfather to Robin, Christopher and Molly Ahmed. He was predeceased by his sisters, Shirley Shearer and Norma Ward and brother, William “Bill” Fisher. 


John was born to Frances Irwin and Harry Fisher in Toronto on September 7, 1933 and grew up in the Beach. Though he lived elsewhere in Toronto as an adult, his connection to that neighbourhood ran deep, and frequent visits along the boardwalk with family members would inspire him to share colourful stories of his childhood by the lake. 


He graduated from the University of Toronto in 1960 with a B.A.Sc. (Civil) and again in 1972 with an M.B.A.  After earning his engineering credentials, John worked at the Industrial Development Bank (now the Business Development Bank of Canada), which launched him on a career as a consulting engineer.  In addition to his consulting practice, he developed and taught courses at the Faculty of Administrative Studies at York University, Seneca College and the Institute of Management Consultants of Ontario.


His early exposure to the “theatre business” through his father, Harry, a long-time President of IATSE Local 58, led to summer jobs and eventually an apprenticeship as a stagehand.  These experiences informed John’s passion for theatre and lighting design and his practice expanded to include the design of both stages and stage lighting systems at venues such as the O’Keefe Centre and the CNE Grandstand.


John met and, in 1999, married Margaret and began a wonderful new chapter of his life. Among other things, she broadened his horizons and together they enjoyed travel across Canada, Europe and Great Britain. 


An active volunteer all his life, John spent his retirement years advocating for environmental protection with the Paudash Lake Conservation Association and, for over a decade, manned the coffee urns each Thursday at the Out of the Cold program run out of the Metropolitan United Church. He was a dedicated fitness enthusiast, proudly recording 300 plus workouts per year for more than 40 years at the Granite Club, and a lifelong paddler, from his teen years at the Balmy Beach Canoe Club through to his grandchildrens’ first canoeing lessons. And, like his own grandfather and great-grandfather, John sailed for most of his life, racing in Albacore and Shark classes at the Toronto Sailing and Canoe Club for many years.


A private funeral service has taken place, and his ashes will be interred at a later date. Friends and family are asked to take a moment to remember John and his sense of humour, intelligence and kindness and to raise a toast with a half-glass of beer (and a handful of peanuts) to his memory. If desired, donations may be made to the Sunnybrook Foundation (online at or Timothy Eaton Memorial Church, 230 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto M4V 1R5. Condolences may be forwarded through


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