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Daniel Hill’s active life was sadly limited by illness after his retirement from public office in 1989. Diabetes-related complications severely hampered his ability to walk and to see, and after a long and difficult struggle with the disease, he died on June 26, 2003 at Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital-just a short walk from the Pembroke Street rooming house where he had first settled in 1950 when he came to Canada to study at the University of Toronto.

Article from the Toronto Star, A Tribute - Dad will always ‘live within us', July 6, 2003

More than 1,000 people came out to mourn the death of Daniel Hill and to pay their last respects to him at a memorial service held on September 9, 2003 at the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto.

On Sunday, July 6, 2003 a tribute to Daniel Hill, written by Lawrence Hill, appeared in the Toronto Star. To see a pdf version of the tribute, click here.

Article from the Toronto Star, A Tribute - Dad will always ‘live within us’, July 6, 2003
Courtesy of Lawrence Hill.
Used with the permission of the Toronto Star Archives

A perfect closing to the exhibit can be provided by Daniel Hill's own words as expressed in the excerpt below from the speech given on the occasion of his inauguration as the Ombudsman of Ontario.

While I have much to learn as Ombudsman, I am hopeful that my past has prepared me for this challenge.  Having spent most of my life as a human rights worker, I have witnessed the hearts of men and women at their best and also at their worst.  On the other hand, our history has left us all a legacy of social justice and respect for human dignity.

The province of Ontario has long been a terminus for freedom seekers:

  1. The founding colonists from England and France
  2. The United Empire Loyalists
  3. The Black Freedmen and Slaves from the United States
  4. The waves of immigrants from Europe, Asia, Africa and the Caribbean

They represented every race, every creed and every colour-all drawn to Ontario by the promise of a freer and fuller life . . .

In our strong moments, we welcomed the many and diverse peoples and let them be who they were … But in our weak moments, in our ignorance, in our apathy, we witnessed the corrosive forces of racism, discrimination and prejudice sapping the strength of our bonds as brothers, sisters and fellow citizens.  Human rights issues from the past are still with us-native rights, women’s rights, the treatment of visible minorities, francophone rights and the rights of the handicapped, to name just a few, very few.

That we have not yet reached the promised land of the just society is known to every person who has toiled for security and social justice.  But that is no reason to abate our efforts.  There is simply too much at stake.  From the hindsight of history, one lesson is very clear-so long as the rights of even one are abused, abridged or abrogated-then the freedom of all is in peril. . . .

Excerpt from remarks by Dr. Daniel G. Hill on the occasion
of the taking of the oath of office as Ombudsman for the
Province of Ontario, March 21, 1984
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-7-0-15
Archives of Ontario

Photo: Daniel G. Hill at home in his garden, July 15, 1984
To see a larger image, click here (343K)
Daniel G. Hill at home in his garden, July 15, 1984
Daniel G. Hill fonds
Reference Code: F 2130-9-1-5
Archives of Ontario, I0027983
Used with the permission of the Toronto Star Archives.