April 29, 1949 – November 7, 2018
Peter A. Milligan left us suddenly on November 7, 2018 to begin a new afterlife journey. He was born in New York in 1949 and settled in Canada where he began his law career. Dorene, his ‘bride’ as he so affectionately called her and his son Jeremy are devastated for a life that ended too soon. Deeply saddened are his brother, Stephen Milligan (Gisela); sister, Anne Verhagen (Richard); nephews, Tristan, Lars and Angus; niece, Maura Skates (Rob); and grandnieces, Samantha and Veronica. His family and friends will miss his larger than life personality that took over any room he walked into. He was a loyal, supportive, loving husband, father and friend. He adored his joint birthday celebrations with Dorene as they were born on the same day, month and year!
Peter had an extraordinary life that included an exhilarating, successful law career, recognition as a world class sailor, success as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and art connoisseur. Over the years, he purchased many works of art that filled his Toronto loft ‘art’ gallery. He loved to listen to music while enjoying the sea of creative artistry that surrounds every room in his home. One of his proudest personal achievements was to rebuild the sailing yacht Red Jacket designed by George Cuthbertson in May 1966. It was the first Canadian boat to win an offshore ocean race against a fleet of about 85 others, many who were top U.S. racers. Red Jacket won 11 of her first 13 races. Peter purchased the boat over a decade ago and restored her to its original glory. The boat proudly sits at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club where she continues to win races today.
Peter was a compelling spirit with a relentless appetite to learn and explore new horizons. He and Dorene have one of the most inspiring private art collections. He vigorously supported Dorene’s art career for decades. Peter was so proud of her success when one of her works was showcased on the global stage at the international Imago Mundi exhibition in Venice.
Peter had a strong drive to give back to the community. Peter and Dorene donated time, money and significant works of art to Casey House and other charitable organizations. Peter had a level of compassion that made him champion many causes.
He and Dorene made financial donations to OCAD over the years including bursaries, student assistance and other programs. Peter was especially proud of the University’s Project 31 fundraising event, where he purchased many works of art, now in his home. He didn’t like the term ‘art collector’. He always thought of himself as a ‘custodian’ as he felt art should be accessible to all. To quote Peter ‘I may acquire art, but over time it has to come into the public domain.’
Peter’s fierce dedication and passion for his work spanned decades. He was one of Canada’s preeminent lawyers specializing in Property Tax and Assessment. Peter was President of the Legal and Literary Society at Osgoode Law School where he graduated in 1975. He had a reputation for presenting his cases in an exemplary fashion winning praise and respect from the judges and other counsels.
He was a trusted advisor to many clients and worked tirelessly on their behalf. He took on many complex, challenging cases with a strong oratory in court that was spellbinding. He loved the law and was tenaciously working right up to the day he left us. Peter joined the firm of Walker Longo LLP in 2017 resisting the temptation to retire. Peter wasn’t quite ready to leave the love of law and the love of the ‘fight’. A special thanks to Jamie Walker, Counsel, who worked closely with Peter over the last few years. Peter felt great pride in their mentoring relationship.
Dorene and Jeremy invite you to bid a farewell to their beloved Peter at Turner and Porter Funeral Home, Yorke Chapel, 2357 Bloor Street West, Sunday, November 18th, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. There will be a private family interment. A Celebration of Life for Peter will be held at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club, Island Clubhouse in the Spring.
As expressions of sympathy, please consider a donation to any of the following charitable funds. Peter Milligan Fund at Osgoode Hall Law School. The Fund is being set up as a bursary to students in financial need who have an interest in advocacy. More details will be available on the Turner & Porter site. Casey House https://www.caseyhouse.com (a specialty HIV/AIDS hospital with community programs including home nursing care and outreach). OCAD University https://www.ocadu.ca/alumni (founded in 1876, OCAD is dedicated to art and design education).
Online condolences may be made through www.turnerporter.ca