SIDNEY FREDERICK DAKIN September 5, 1926 January 19, 2022
Sidney was the fifth child born to John Arthur Viets Dakin of Montreal and Percita Marie Clough of Lennoxville, Quebec. He grew up in the Town of Mount Royal and enjoyed many holidays at their summer house on Thompson’s Point. Sailing was a passion of his father, and Sid continued that passion racing on Mirage, his father’s 45-foot sailboat. They took the boat up to Lake Ontario on many occasions to race in the Freeman Cup Race and the LYRA sailing events. Celebrating VE Day, May 8, 1945 in the streets of Montreal, he first met Jon Agnew who was later to be his bride. In the fall of 1947, while working for Dominion Bridge, he was assigned to Toronto for three months to assist in the structural design and building of the now defunct Christie’s plant. With a very pregnant Jon, they lived on Toronto Island just long enough for their first child, Kathryn, to be born. Upon returning to Montreal, Sid and his brother Jack joined their father in his business, Mount Royal Construction. They built the homes in Gables Court and East Gables Court on the Beaconsfield waterfront with Sid and Jack being the principal designers. For the next 15 years, Jon and Sid lived in Gables Court with their four children, Kathryn, Johnny, Jennifer and Sally. His brother Jack (and family), and Jon’s sister Emma Lou (and family) were neighbours. It was an ideal setting for young families with the lake for fishing, sailing and swimming and a park for tennis and children’s games. During this time, Sid and his brother-in-law Ken designed and built an 18 foot tunnel hulled scow named Dominion. Sid also headed up a group of fathers that built 5 Flying Junior sailboats for their children to race. One of those boats became the first of many named ‘Duck Soup’. In 1961, Sidney bought his first Shark, the second ‘Duck Soup’. After his father’s retirement, Sid was hired by Manufacturers Life Insurance Company in Montreal. He was subsequently transferred to the head office in Toronto in late 1962 to head up the mortgage division, and the family moved to Clarkson, west of Toronto. Summers were spent racing his Shark with his children continuing the Dakin passion of sailing into the next generation. Friends took over as crew as the children started their own sailing careers. Winters were spent at the Boulevard Club playing badminton. After heading up the mortgage division at Manulife, Sid was promoted to VP, Real Estate Investments. He then led the company into significant real estate development, and the company became a major participant in the commercial real estate industry. Sid undertook large office building projects in major downtown Canadian cities. As Sr. Vice President, Real Estate he took the company to the US and completed large office projects in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Los Angeles. At the time of his retirement from Manulife in 1991, he was a respected and admired competitor by the industry’s major corporate real estate developers. Notwithstanding his demanding professional career, Sidney earned many accolades in his many years of yacht racing.
In the Shark class, Sid won 6 World Championships – 5 in the 1960s, and the sixth in 1999 with 3 generations of Dakins on board. In the Soling class, an Olympic class boat, Sid won both North American and Canadian Championships, and he placed third at the Olympic trials in 1976. It was during this time that he was recognized as an elite and unique talent – a true amateur that was able to compete with the top sailors in the world. What made Sid unique was that he sailed with his family and friends. His crew weren’t always the best, but they certainly were the most fun! And this confounded his competition. Sid represented Canada at the PanAm Games in 1979, being the oldest competitor on the Canadian team where he placed fourth with his 2 sons-in-law as crew. His son John, racing on another Soling just beat him out for the bronze – all in the family.
On his retirement, he bought a Niagara 42. Sid along with family and friends sailed the boat to St. Thomas in the BVIs. Time was then spent cruising the Caribbean with children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends who took turns visiting. Once Sid and Jon turned 70, they became snowbirds and spent winters at their condo in Highland Woods, FL where they enjoyed golf, tennis, bridge and bocci. Back in Toronto, Sid derived great pleasure taking his last Duck Soup, number 14 out to watch his children and grandchildren compete in various regattas while offering coaching (and the occasional refreshment) from the sidelines. He continued doing this into his late 80s. His wife Jon predeceased him by 11 years just short of their 60th anniversary. Sidney died on January 19, 2022 at Ian Anderson House in Oakville, leaving behind 4 children, Kathryn (Peter/Chad), John, Jennifer (Julian), Sally (Bert); 10 grandchildren: Jeremy, Victoria (Shawn), Gabriel (Nicole), Courtney (Mark), Megan (Somers), Ryan (Jay), Connolly (James), Morgan, Kyle, Trevor, (Kristjana) and 11 great-grandchildren: Sebastian, Liam, Claire, Ruby, Evelyn, Stanley, Jack, Oscar, Oliver, Michael, and JaKobe. Sid’s competitive drive and passion have been passed down through the family producing world class sailors and badminton players through 3 generations and probably beyond. Part of his legacy will be his ability to tell stories and jokes; quoting Henry Drummond and Robert Service; and entertaining his 3 generations of children with endless card games and tricks, and organizing tiddlywink tournaments.
A memorial will be held at a later date. Contributions in Dad’s memory may be made to the Ian Anderson House (Oakville) or St. Joseph’s Healthcare Foundation. Sid has now finished his last race – in the regatta of life.
Published by The Globe and Mail from Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, 2022.