2017 is coming to a close so we thought it was an important time to look back and remember many of the celebrated Canadians who are no longer with us.
From Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie to popular radio host Stewart McLean, these Canadians made a huge impact on the nation’s culture and history. And they were, each and every one, a part of what makes Canada so great.
Here is a list of some great Canadians who passed away in 2017.
The frontman of the legendary Canadian band passed away on October 17, 2017.
Shoppers founder Murray Koffler 1924 – 2017
Murray Bernard Koffler was Canadian pharmacist, businessman, and philanthropist. He was best known for creating the Canadian pharmacy retailer Shoppers Drug Mart.
Writer William Weintraub 1926- 2017
Montreal’s William Weintraub was a Canadian journalist, author, filmmaker and lecturer, known for his long association with Canada’s National Film Board (NFB).
Actor John Dunsworth 1946 – 2017
John Francis Dunsworth was an actor, best known for playing the alcoholic trailer park supervisor Jim Lahey on the comedy series Trailer Park Boys and the mysterious reporter Dave Teagues on the supernatural drama series Haven.
Arnold Chan, the MP for Scarborough-Agincourt, in Toronto had been fighting cancer for the past two years, he is survived by his wife and three sons.
Horror Movie Director George Romero 1940 – 2017
George Romero was an American-Canadian filmmaker, writer and editor
Born in Vourvoura, Greece, Panopoulos immigrated to Canada at the age of 20 and operated several successful restaurants alongside his brothers Elias & Nikitas, his obituary read. Among these was a restaurant called The Satellite. And it was here that, in 1962, Panopoulos reportedly took canned pineapples and pieces of ham and combined them on a pizza crust.
Former Flames defenceman Zarley Zalapski 1968 – 2017
Comic actor Tony Rosato 1954 – 2017
Tony Rosato was an actor, writer, and comedian known for Night Heat (1985), Resident Evil 3: Nemesis (1999) and Seeds of Doubt (
Former Habs owner David Molson 1928 – 2017
John David Molson was the former president and owner of the Montreal Canadiens and a member of the Molson family. Her served as president of the Canadiens for nine years.
Stuart McClean, whose distinctive voice probably just popped into your head as you read the name died at the age of 68. The longtime host of CBC Radio’s popular The Vinyl Café, McClean was also an award-winning humourist with honourary degrees from eight Canadian universities.
TIFF co-founder Bill Marshall 1939 – 2017
Bill Marshall was a Scottish-born Canadian filmmaker, film producer and theatre producer. In 1976, Marshall co-founded the Toronto Festival of Festivals, now known as the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), with Dusty Cohl and Henk Van der Kolk.
CFL star Bernie Custis 1928 – 2017
Bernie Custis was an American and Canadian football player who went on to a distinguished coaching career. He is known for being the first black professional quarterback in the modern era and first in professional Canadian football, starting for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in 1951.
Daisy Sweeney was known for teaching jazz legends such as Oliver Jones and her own brother, Oscar Peterson, how to play the piano.
Cree leader Tyrone Tootoosis 1958 – 2017
Tyrone Tootoosis a was a well known First Nations activist and an indigenous historian in Saskatchewan.
WW2 hero Thomas Simpson 1921 – 2017
Thomas Joseph Simpson was one of only 114 Canadians to receive the Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) for World War II service.
Former general manager of the Ottawa Senators Bryan Murray 1942 – 2017
Bryan Murray was a Canadian professional ice hockey executive and coach. He served as general manager of the Ottawa Senators of the National Hockey League (NHL) from 2007 to 2016. He died of died of colon cancer in August.
Hymie Sckolnick, the founder of Montreal’s iconic Beautys Luncheonette, died at the age of 96.
Sckolnick bought the Mile End eatery in 1942 with his wife Freda.
Over the years Beautys became a Montreal institution. The famous eatery is known for its “Mish Mash” as well as Beautys Special. Sckolnick was known to greet customers daily, making them feel right at home.