2019 Pollution Probe Peter Middleton Legacy Award

L-R: Ruth Kelly, Peter Middleton and Brian Kelly
Peter Middleton with the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell
Peter Middleton
Pollution Probe founders at the University of Toronto
Donald Chant and members of Pollution Probe

In 2019, Pollution Probe mourned the loss of Peter Middleton, our first ever Executive Director and one of our founding members, to pancreatic cancer. He was a much-loved and well-respected figure and an inspiration to all who had the pleasure of working with him.

“I think of Peter with the greatest admiration and gratitude,” recalls Monte Hummel, WWF Canada’s President Emeritus and fellow Pollution Probe founder. “Nobody but Peter could have done the job of leading Pollution Probe in its early days. On the surface one might think Peter was ill equipped. He was a very cultured person with an M.A. in French literature, but Peter inspired a lot of confidence. He was a natural leader who tackled what was necessary, not just what was possible.”

Peter is remembered at Pollution Probe as an inexhaustible big thinker with ambition. “Peter was quiet, but he had the ability to bring people together even when it seemed that there was no common ground,” says Brian Kelly, a fellow Pollution Probe founder. “He had a vision for Probe that was much bigger than seemed possible in those early days, but he was certain we could achieve great things.”

On an anniversary that would not have been possible without the work, dedication and vision of Peter Middleton, Pollution Probe celebrates his memory and our shared legacy with the Peter Middleton Legacy Award.

The 2019 Peter Middleton Legacy Award was awarded to the founding members of Pollution Probe, represented by John Coombs, Peter Love, Geoff Love, Ann Love, Ruth Kelly, Brian Kelly and Monte Hummel. We were fortunate to welcome back the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell,  Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, who knew Peter well, to speak at the Gala and introduce the award named in his memory. The Lieutenant Governor was Honorary Patron of the 2016 Pollution Probe Gala (‘Generation Now’) and has a distinguished record of environmental service, having served as the head of the Atmospheric Environment Service and Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme, as well as being the founding President and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. To present the awards, we were delighted to have with us Peter’s wife, Céline Messier, and his son, Josh Middleton.

The founders of Pollution Probe were true pioneers, leading the environmental movement from its inception, whose work established Pollution Probe as the organization it is today. We are proud to continue their vital work of bringing about positive, tangible environmental change for the benefit of all Canadians.