Recently Canada lost one of its theatrical pioneers, Donald Davis, an actor who co-founded the Crest Theatre, Toronto's first professional theatre.
Davis began the Crest with his brother Murray in 1954 and together they created a company that launched many a Canadian talent, including Stratford director Richard Monette as Hamlet (who, incidently, was only 19 and was critically blasted for his performance).
Though the theatre shut down in 1966, Davis leaves behind a legacy that includes the staging of new Canadian work at a time when few would care (or dare) and the formation of a rep season that produced international hits and once even saw British playwright J.B. Priestley write a play specifically for the Davises.
Davis also worked as an actor, most notably with Samuel Beckett in New York on Krapp's Last Tape, and in Canada at the Stratford Festival and on television, though on stage he had a higher profile south of the border than he did back home.
Ultimately, Davis's most important contribution was serving as a cornerstone upon which his and following generations have built the foundation of a proud Canadian culture. Davis's booming voice raised high in criticism of Canada for not shedding its Colonial attitudes quickly enough, and remains as enduring a memory as the emblem of his belief, the Crest Theatre. By Mira Friedlander