Dr. Norman Pearson 1928–2014

Posted on August 8, 2014

It is with much sadness that we learned recently that Norman passed away, August 8, 2014, in London Ontario. He was predeceased, earlier this year, by his wife, Gerda. They had no children.

Norman fulfilled his military service in the RAF and later, the RCAF, as Navigator, NATO Command.

Norman came to Canada in 1954 after graduation in Fine Arts, with honours in Town and Country Planning at the University of Durham, England, and obtained his PhD in Land Economy and Ecological Planning at the Institute of Advanced Studies in 1979.

Norman received many honours, awards and citations both academic and in land use planning, in North America and internationally, too numerous to cover in this obituary. He was founder of the School of Rural Planning at the University of Guelph, and was a Founding Member of the Bruce Trail Committee and later Norman became the first President of the Bruce Trail Conservancy (known at the time as the Bruce Trail Association.) Dr. Pearson`s leadership in the creation of the Bruce Trail and the preservation of the Niagara Escarpment, is a significant contribution to Ontario, and indeed, Canada.

After much searching, the GBA retained Norman, in 1975, to help with what became the creation of the first water-based Township of the Archipelago. In retaining Norman, we were very much influenced by the work he did on behalf of the then Department of Lands and Forests in the 1960`s, which resulted in the creation of North Georgian Bay Recreational Reserve. The Pearson Report “Planning for the North Georgian Bay Recreational Reserve” (4,000 square miles), became the vision of what we had in mind, planning-wise, for the Archipelago.

The guiding documents he developed for us were:

1. Georgian Bay Archipelago, A Decision for the Future …

2. The Archipelago Municipality, Towards Effective Local Government in the Georgian Bay Archipelago.

Both were published by the Georgian Bay Association in April 1977 and provided the guiding principles leading to the creation of the Township in 1980, and to the development of the Official Plan, and the Comprehensive Zoning By-Law developed within two years and approved by the Ontario Municipal Board.

Norman, during the same time-frame, and at the request of the Sans Souci & Copperhead Association, carried out an exhaustive review of the Official Plan for the purpose of ensuring that it reflected the guiding principles set out above.

Norman went on to act for us on numerous issues and indeed the success of the Township over the ensuing two decades reflects his leadership, advice and commitment to those he served in our community, and others over the years.

Norman was very proud to be a member and former Registrar of the Canadian Association of Certified Planning Technicians (CACPT). This Association initiated the Dr. Norman Pearson Bursary, which recognises the public contributions and academic achievements of first year students in accredited programs. To quote the CACPT, `His life was full of great achievements and we owe a debt of gratitude to him for the legacy he has left the world.

We can do no less than endorse this statement.

As a former President of the Georgian bay Association and Sans Souci & Copperhead Association, I appreciate the contribution and leadership he gave to so many of us over the years.

He was a true friend of Georgian Bay. His keen interest in land conservancy has benefitted so many people. For those who wish, I know a contribution to the Georgian Bay Trust Foundation Inc. – The Land Trust – in his memory, would be welcomed.

Respectfully submitted,

C.W.(Wally) King

Former President, GBA and SSCA

Founding Chairman, GBTFI

Former Councillor, TOA