Mr. Sidney Kiyoshi Ikeda

11-Oct-1934 - 08-Jul-2023

Obituary Overview

In Loving Memory

Sid Kiyoshi Ikeda, age 88, passed away peacefully during the early morning of Saturday, July 8, 2023, at Providence Healthcare after a rapid decline stemming from a long battle with cancer.

An engineer by trade and training, Sid worked for the T. Eaton Co. and retired in 1996 ending his 40 year career there as the National Environment and Energy Manager. He is most known however for his acts of volunteerism which could be described as legendary and are too numerous to list here on one page.

He was most closely associated with the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre where he served nine terms as president of the board. In 1977 he oversaw the Centennial year celebration of immigration from Japan to Canada. He also led the JCCC during the planning and eventual move from Wynford Dr. to Garamond Ct. in 1995. Always having an eye on succession, Sid retired from the presidency in 1998 and served as Special Ambassador and later as an Adviser up to his passing.

Sid always believed in working together for the common good. He founded several organizations such as the Network, with organizations and groups in the Japanese Canadian community in the GTA where representatives would meet quarterly to inform and help each other in their progress and growth. He also extended this idea to the East Asian and some South Asian communities by helping to found CMC Asians in Ontario. The latter includes Chinese, Taiwanese and Tibetan Canadian communities as well Tamil, Lao and Burmese among many. Sid even spoke and played his harmonica last month at the CMC Gala honoring Asian Canadian heroes. Indeed he seemed to play his harmonica at most events, parties and even funerals.

This spirit of cooperation also extended to his spiritual life. He referred to himself proudly as a Buddhist Christian and also practiced Moon Meditation again focusing on the common good of all faiths. He helped form the Toronto Interfaith Council and was very happy to serve on the steering committee for the Parliament for World Religion, a large week-long international event held in Toronto in 2018.

Among his many awards and honors are the Rotary Paul Harris Award, Order of the Rising Sun Gold and Silver Rays, the Canadian Ethnic Media Association award and was the World Interfaith Harmony Week Champion. He was particularly proud of the JCCC’s Sid and Marie Ikeda Tower which greets you as you enter the building.

The accomplishments are surprising given his humble origin and upbringing. He was the third child born to Masao and Tamae (né Nishijima). He is actually both nisei and sansei. His Nishijima grandparents met on their boat to Canada in 1895 and married. His mother was born in 1907 in New Westminster, B.C., the fourth of eight children. Sid’s father came to Canada from Kumamoto, Japan, following his brother to seek his fortune. Young Masao married Tamae and had seven children together. Sid, born Kiyoshi, was the third son, born on October 11, 1934.

Like most Japanese Canadians of this era the Ikeda family is defined most by World War II and the internment and diaspora following its end. In 1942, the family home and the Nishijima businesses in Vancouver were confiscated. The family was allowed one suitcase and were first moved to Hastings Park while Masao was sent to work in the interior. The family was later reunited in Tashme, a makeshift camp in the interior of B.C. The reunion was unfortunately short-lived. Masao passed away suddenly on November 15, 1943 leaving Tamae who was pregnant with her seventh child in the camp, and the eldest son Arthur, aged around 12, now heading the household.

At the end of the war Japanese Canadians were given the “opportunity” to go to Japan and renounce their Canadian citizenship. Uncle Tosh (Nishijima) urged the young Ikeda family not to sign anything and come out east to Toronto; an astute move since many who changed their minds about leaving were nonetheless forced to repatriate to Japan. So the family first moved to Slocan, then New Denver, B.C. and then to Toronto’s Cabbagetown neighborhood in 1947; the two room house still stands today on St. Paul’s St. None of the family and even extended family ever moved back again to B.C. when allowed to legally travel freely and also vote in elections in 1949. Sid and brother Edgar sold newspapers on street corners and washed dishes after school to help support the family. According to Sid, every cent he earned went to his mother.

The family, which is still to this day incredibly close and supportive of each other, earned enough to buy a house in 1952. Sid earned his Engineering certificate while working. He met Marie, who he called the “Love of my Life” and married her in 1960. They had three children, David, Laurie, and Carole, who sadly passed away suddenly of a heart infection at age 11 in January 1982. Sid and Marie bought a house in Don Mills and after 62 years moved in 2022 to the Momiji Senior Centre.

He lived a long and rich life. May his spirit of seeing the good side of people and working together to create good things live on. As Sid closed each and every email, “With love, respect and appreciation.”

Funeral Details

  • Visitation

    Highland Funeral Home - Scarborough

    Event Times:

    12-Jul-2023 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

    12-Jul-2023 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

More Details & Directions

Condolences from family and friends

Posted by Carolyn Suehiro (nee Ide) | 19-Jul-2023

I was very sorry to hear of Sid's passing. Way back, as a volunteer at Caravan, I remember how hard Sid worked, bustling around spreading his enthusiasm as well. Much later, he would visit my mother in the hospital during her last few weeks on earth, bringing a smile to her face as she listened to him play his harmonica. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family of such a kind man who made a real difference in the world.

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Posted by Donna Hori | 16-Jul-2023

It is with sadness that I find myself expressing my sincerest condolences to the Ikeda Family for their husband ,father, uncle, brother, SID.... a man greater than life itself. Sid is an icon and a champion amongst people for camaraderie, peace and joyous living in a world which reflects so much opposite. He has always portrayed a bright harmonious outlook in every situation, and I know this influenced those around him. I found him never afraid to put his own feelings aside and forge forward on any task great or small with gusto. Sid's volunteer commitments too many to mention were always met with dedication, diligence and sincerity which made me respect him immensely. His talented harmonica playing brought much joy and comfort to many, especially my Uncle Frank Hori who listened to his CD every night before he went to sleep - it helped him settle his mind and body, which is what Uncle Frank told on many occasions. Thank you Sid for all that you have done and the many lives you have richly touched including my family's. May you play your songs with love for eternity and serenade all our loved ones as you did here for us. On behalf of the Hori Foundation and our family, sincerest sympathies to Marie, David, Laurie and families. Sid will be greatly missed but never forgotten. Respectfully, Donna Hori

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