Richard Dildy

Section 20, Lot 861
York Cemetery

Black activist Richard Dildy was once arrested for proclaiming Santa Claus a fraud during the annual Santa Claus parade through downtown Toronto. An insurance salesman, born in the United States and a veteran of the Viet Nam War, Dildy spent most of his brief life trying to convince parents to stop filling their children’s heads with visions of Santa Claus. He was fined $50 for wearing a sign proclaiming, “Santa is a phony,” in the 1980 Santa Claus parade. He had received an absolute discharge the year before on two charges of causing a disturbance for a similar campaign. Described as a true activist, Richard Dildy loved creating colourful signs and championing causes. He once walked down Yonge Street wearing a clapboard sign advertising for a wife. He was fired from an insurance agency in the spring of 1986 for running a newspaper ad advising people to buy life insurance before the AIDS epidemic caused premiums to skyrocket. Richard Dildy died of kidney and liver failure on January 8, 1988 at the age of 47.

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