Popular Uxbridge arts supporter passes away
by Conrad Boyce
Peter Reid – sailor, film maker and all-round local friend to the arts – died last week at 71 after many tough years with cancer. He moved from Uxbridge to Halifax three years ago to be with his son and grandsons.
Peter was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. With his parents David and Janet, and sister Sarah, he emigrated as a six-year old to Canada in 1954. Sarah, who still lives in Uxbridge, recalls, “We landed at Pier 21 in Halifax in our little British school-child clothes – bare knees, mackintoshes and wellies in the middle of a Canadian winter!”
Because his father was in the RCAF, Peter moved around a lot as a child, to Colorado Springs, RCAF Edgar near Barrie, and Montreal, before the family moved to northern Virginia. It was the height of the Vietnam War, and Peter was reaching draft age, so he and Sarah moved back to Britain, where he worked in London and then in Holland, selling magazine subscriptions.
While on the Isle of Wight looking for work, he landed a job as navigator on the yacht of Graham Kerr, the Galloping Gourmet, and sailed around the Caribbean for some time, before returning to Montreal to study film at Concordia University. Thus began a long career as a cameraman, mostly on industrial films (his movie about the building of the CN Tower is still shown there to tourists), but he occasionally strayed into feature films, most memorably using locations in Uxbridge for a film called To Catch a Yeti, starring rock singer Meat Loaf.
Peter first came to Uxbridge in 1980. He and his wife Marietta (known to all as Mouse) settled on the Sixth Concession south of town, and son Zebulon (Zeb) was born in 1983. Mouse died of cancer in 1995.
For part of his Uxbridge life, Peter worked as a yacht broker with Swan’s Marina in Pickering. He also worked for Uxbridge Printing, Richter’s Herbs, and most recently in the Wine Shop at Zehrs. He lent his creative mind and boundless energy to many arts groups in the Uxbridge area. But just as he began his Canadian life in Halifax in 1954, he closed it there as well, near to his beloved ocean. He went to help Zeb and wife Becky with their growing family, and spent long hours walking the nearby beaches with young Liam and Finley, and was looking forward to doing the same with his newest grandson Andrew, born in May of 2018.
There will be no memorial service here in Uxbridge, but locals are encouraged to send their thoughts eastward in the spring, when Peter’s ashes will be cast into the welcoming Atlantic (along with those of his canine buddy Bruce), and there will be a celebration of a life very well lived.
Donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada in Peter’s name would be welcome.