Hon. David SMITH, P.C., Q.C.

Obituary of Hon. David Paul SMITH, P.C., Q.C.






P.C., Q.C.

May 16, 1941

February 26, 2020


In light of the rising risks relating to the Coronavirus, it is with heavy hearts that we have decided to postpone the Celebration of Life. We will publish another notice when the Celebration has been rescheduled. Thank you for understanding.  Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.




Born May 16, 1941 in Toronto and passed February 26, 2020 in Toronto.


David was the second son of the Rev. Campbell Bannerman and Beulah Argue. He is survived by his wife of almost fifty years, the Hon. Heather Forster Smith, former Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court; their children Alex Smith (Samantha Marks), Kate Smith (Leif Malling), and Laura O’Connor (Dennis O’Connor); five granddaughters (Cosette, Hannah, Grace, Annabelle and Eloise); and his brothers George (Barbara) and Bob (Brenda). He was predeceased by his dear sister, Cay Lindblad, and is mourned by generations of extended family, including the Smith, Lindblad, Forster and Klapman families, and countless friends from across Canada.


David grew up in Toronto, Victoria B.C., and Peterborough, where he graduated high school. He studied political science at Carleton University and law at Queen’s University, from which he graduated in 1970.


David’s professional life was divided between a legal career, which he thoroughly enjoyed, and politics, which he loved. A passionate Canadian and Torontonian, David served as President of the Young Liberals under Prime Minister Pearson and executive assistant to the Right Hon. John Turner in the 1960s; as a Toronto Alderman and Deputy Mayor in the 1970s; as an MP and Cabinet Minister under Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the 1980s; as a leader of successful Liberal Party campaigns under Prime Minister Jean Chretien in the 1990s and in 2000; and as a Senator representing Cobourg, Ontario, from 2002 until his retirement from Parliament in 2016. In more than half a century in politics, David mentored scores of politicians and activists in federal, provincial and municipal politics. He respected everyone who shared his sincere commitment to public life, regardless of party affiliation or ideology.


A specialist in municipal law, David helped forge the skyline of Toronto. Following years in private practice with many wonderful colleagues at various firms, David served as Chair of FMC Law, now Dentons Canada LLP, until his appointment to the Senate in 2002, then continued as Chair Emeritus of Dentons Canada LLP until his retirement from the practice of law in 2017.


David’s community service beyond politics included service on the boards of Toronto General Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital, George Brown College, Royal St. George’s College, Exhibition Place, Massey Hall, Roy Thomson Hall, and the Salvation Army, which honoured him as a Life Member of its Advisory Board.


A person of faith, David was active in many church communities, including the Pentecostal Church (particularly Lakeshore Pentecostal Camp near Cobourg, which he visited throughout his life), Yorkminster Park Baptist Church and the Church of the Redeemer in Toronto.


David was a kind, generous and loving man. He will be profoundly missed. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Salvation Army. A private family funeral was held on February 29th. A celebration of his life will be held at Yorkminster Park Baptist Church at 1585 Yonge Street in Toronto on March 27th at 2 p.m. Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.