Plot 14, Lot 52
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto
Born in Toronto on August 4, 1915, Don Summerville was educated at Frankland Public School, Danforth Technical School, and Shaw’s Business College. His early employment was with his father, William (Billy) Summerville who was a city alderman and owned Danforth-Woodbine Theatres Limited and Summerville Properties. The father died in 1972 and is also interred in the family plot. For a time, the younger Summerville managed the Prince of Wales theatre on the Danforth. In 1955, he entered municipal politics as alderman for Ward 8, a position he held until 1958. From 1959 through 1962 he was a city controller and was elected mayor in 1963, defeating long-time incumbent Nathan Phillips for the job.
Early in the evening of November 19, 1963, Mayor Summerville made his way to the George Bell Arena where he was to play in a charity hockey game with the proceeds going to the Italian Flood Relief Fund. Summerville had been practice goalie with the Maple Leaf hockey team so it was only natural that he would play that position on a team made up of city council members. Their opponents were a team made up of city hall press gallery members. After only a few minutes in the net, the mayor headed for the dressing room and, while sitting on the bench, complained of not feeling well. Reaching for his coat pocket (and a bottle of nitroglycerine tablets that he kept close at hand ever since suffering a slight coronary in 1961), Summerville slumped to the floor and within moments, the second man in the city’s history to die while in office had succumbed to a massive coronary occlusion.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery: An Illustrated Guide
Second Edition Revised and Expanded