Bill was born in Toronto on March 17, 1945. He was raised in “The Beach” by two loving parents Stanley and Phyllis Dickinson. His childhood explorations of the Glen Stewart and Glen Manor Ravines as well as the shoreline of Lake Ontario kindled a love of nature that would gather momentum for the rest of his life. His enduring passion for paddling first began at Balmy Beach Canoe Club. Bill attended the University of Toronto, receiving an MSc in Plant Ecology in 1968. He went on to teach at Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Secondary School where he was head of the Science Department for 16 of his 31 years teaching. A talented educator and a dedicated mentor inside the classroom and out, Bill created memorable and life-changing opportunities for students to explore camping, canoeing, cycling and Nordic skiing.
His devotion to the well-being of his students extended to his community. Bill participated in founding Bracebridge Minor Soccer, the Muskoka Rowing Club, and the Bracebridge Langlauf ski race. After teaching, he was an instrumental volunteer for Muskoka Conservancy. He was also involved with the Muskoka Watershed Council and the Muskoka Field Naturalists. Bill’s work in environmental education and land trust acquisition earned him The Wayland Drew Award for environmental leadership and stewardship in Muskoka as well as notable awards from the province of Ontario including the A.D. Latornell Award and the Angus McLeod Vision Award. Bill also served for ten years as a director on the Algonquin Forestry Authority Board. Following that he continued to serve as a member of the Local Citizens Committee for Algonquin Park.
Bill met the love of his life, Janet Mykitko, while they were both students at the U of T. Married in 1968, they shared a lifetime of outdoor adventures with their children (Adam and Kim), as well as with their wide circle of friends. They hiked the White Mountains in New Hampshire, the West Highland Way in Scotland, the Cornwall Coast. They travelled to Ecuador, the Galápagos Islands, the High Arctic, New Zealand, and spent a year on exchange in Australia. There were countless canoe trips with family and friends through the lakes and rivers of Ontario and beyond. A talented craftsman and builder, Bill made canoes, kayaks, and furniture as well as a classical guitar. In his later years he produced exquisite bird carvings. Bill was filled with a generous, infectious curiosity. An avid botanist, bird watcher, and environmental activist, he showed those who knew him new ways to care for, respect, and be inspired by the human and nonhuman world. He died peacefully on July 5, 2021 after a brief illness surrounded by his family in view of the stone fireplace in the living of room of his home, a house he built 48 years ago with his own hands.
Bill is survived by his wife of 52 years, Janet Dickinson (Mykitko), son, Adam Dickinson (Erin Knight), daughter Kimberly Dickinson (Mike Bardswich), and three grandchildren, Millicent Dickinson, Marigold Dickinson, and Addison Bardswich. In keeping with Bill’s wishes, cremation has taken place.
A memorial event honouring Bill’s life will take place on Thursday, July 29th at the Bracebridge Fairgrounds from 2-3 and 4-5 pm. Bill inspired so many people in the Muskoka region and around Ontario; this event will be open to the public.
Please RSVP your reservation beside the indicated interval times listed below.
PLEASE NOTE THERE HAS BEEN A RECENT CHANGE IN TIME FOR THIS EVENT.
THE EVENT WILL BE HELD FROM 2-3 p.m. & 4-5 p.m.
Messages can be left on the website or delivered by hand to baskets that will be on the premises at the event.
To send sympathy gifts to the family or plant a tree in memory of William (Bill) Stanley Dickinson, please visit our tribute store.
Attendance is limited to a maximum of 150 people, spread over 1 hour intervals. Family and friends planning to attend are kindly requested to RSVP to reserve their time slot
Attendance is limited to a maximum of 200 people, spread over 1 hour intervals. Family and friends planning to attend are kindly requested to RSVP to reserve their time slot