William (Bill) Greer

Obituary of William (Bill) Newton Greer



February 21, 1925 – February 5, 2023


Bill died peacefully in his sleep, at home, with his wife holding his hand. He lived a life fulfilled by his passions for family, architecture, and community.


Marrying for the first and only time at age 48, he celebrated his 49th wedding anniversary on November 17th.  He will be profoundly missed by many, but mostly by his loving wife, Rina; his two boys, Jonathan (Valerie) and Simon (Melissa) and his five grandchildren, William, Julia, Oliver, Erica and Spencer.  Family meant everything to him and he cherished the time he spent with his grandchildren, often engrossed in making drawings together.


Born in Kingston to Lt. Colonel George Garnet Greer and Mamie Isobel Garrett in 1925.  His mother died in 1927 and his father remarried Agnes Flora Taylor in 1930.  Bill moved to Toronto when he was six and attended Crescent School before boarding at Trinity College School in Port Hope for high school.  He came back to Toronto to live at Trinity College and to study architecture at the University of Toronto.  Afterwards, he completed a Master of Science in Product Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (where he studied under Buckminster Fuller), which gave him a heightened appreciation for form and process.


Bill returned to Toronto and spent the next 22 years at Shore & Moffat, Architects focused on academic institutional work, and became a partner.  To mix it up, he went out on his own for a few years, but then turned his focus to preservation and for 16 years was the Chief Architect of the Heritage Preservation Division of the Toronto Historical Board.  Post retirement, he became a heritage consultant, contributing to significant projects around the province.


He felt fortunate for the many awards he received:  Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Letters, Trinity College; Fellow, Royal Architectural Institute of Canada; Ontario Association of Architects Order of da Vinci Award; Special Achievement Award, Heritage Toronto (and naming of the William Greer Built Heritage Award); Chancellor’s Circle Medal, Daniels Faculty of Architecture, University of Toronto; Eric Arthur Award for Lifetime Achievement, Architectural Conservancy of Ontario; Lifetime Achievement Award, Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals.


His favorite places in the world were his cottage on Rock Lake in Algonquin Park and the ski hills of Osler Bluff Ski Club.  Before marriage, he could be found racing dragon sailboats out of the RCYC.

Bill was a modest man, a gentleman with quiet dignity who used his pragmatic and mediating skills to preserve the old and integrate it with the new.  He lived a long and distinguished life – and will be forever loved.


A celebration of life will be held on what would have been his 98th birthday on February 21st from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (City Clubhouse). 


In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his name to Trinity College at the University of Toronto (www.trinity.utoronto.ca) or Heritage Toronto (www.heritagetoronto.org). Condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.


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