Dennis Lane, QC

Obituary of Dennis Lane, QC




The Honourable Dennis Lane, QC passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 6, 2020, in his 87th year, having his hand held by his beloved wife of almost 64 years, Sandra (nee Brown).  Predeceased by his parents, Clifton Harper Lane and Marjorie Constance (Neish) Lane, and by his brother, Malcolm Stewart Lane. Survived by his sister, Margery Ann Lane and brothers-in-law, Philip Brown and Barry Brown (Pat).  A genuinely devoted family man, he was the adored father of Allan (Kate), David (Sue), and Andrew (Jennifer), and cherished 'grampa' and 'bampa' to Jamie, Henry, Noah, Emily, and Adam Lane.


Dennis relished his heritage.  His paternal grandfather was the legendary cowboy George Lane, owner of the Bar U Ranch (now a National Historic Site) and co-founder of the Calgary Stampede.  His maternal grandfather, Dr. George Neish, was the longtime Medical Officer of Health for Kingston, Jamaica. 


Dennis grew up in north Toronto and was educated at Allenby, JR Robertson, and Lawrence Park. He graduated in 1954 with a BA in History from Victoria University in the University of Toronto, which was the start of a lifelong affiliation.  Dennis planned on a career in History, until his father convinced him to give the law a chance.  He took his father's advice, and never looked back, graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1958, winning the Clara Brett Martin Prize. 


He began his legal career at his father’s law firm, Robertson, Lane, Perrett, Frankish and Estey, but quickly realized he preferred work as a Litigator to that of a Solicitor. In the early 1960’s he moved to Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt, where he truly found a home for the next quarter century.  He became Head of Osler's Litigation Department and spent the rest of his distinguished career there. In 1989, Dennis was appointed to the Supreme Court of Ontario, where he served for 18 years until mandatory retirement in 2007. The highlight of his time was serving as Acting Regional Senior Justice in Toronto.  He always said these were the happiest years of a fulfilling career in the law.  Dennis never wanted to leave the law, and after retirement became a highly respected mediator and arbitrator for over eight years. 


A man of quiet faith, Dennis was a lifelong member of the Presbyterian Church. In his twenties he was treasurer of Glen Mhor Camp. He spent over half a century as a member of Armour Heights Presbyterian Church where he served on the Board of Managers, as Chairman of the Investment Committee, and as an Elder on the Session.


Dennis believed passionately in community service and served as Board Member and Secretary of the Canadian Opera Company for 14 years. He also served on the Board of Victoria University for many years, including two terms as Chairman. It was at this time that the Gardiner Museum of Ceramic Art came to Vic, and Dennis served on the inaugural Board of the Gardiner. 


Ever the athlete, Dennis played rugby into his mid-40s, hockey into his 60s, and tennis into his late 70s. As a young lawyer, he acted pro bono for the Toronto Scottish Rugby Team and was a driving force behind the purchase of Fletcher’s Fields as a permanent home for Toronto’s teams. He enthusiastically coached youth hockey at North Toronto for many years, including one memorable night in his tuxedo.


Dennis will be missed greatly by his loving family and the causes he supported for so many years.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Canadian Opera Company or Armour Heights Presbyterian Church.  Condolences may be forwarded through