Peter Godsoe Obituary, Remembering Peter Godsoe, A Life Well-Lived and Legacy of Leadership

Peter Godsoe Obituary, Remembering Peter Godsoe, A Life Well-Lived and Legacy of Leadership

In the heart of Toronto, an influential figure, Peter Cowperthwaite Godsoe, bid farewell to this world on December 13, 2023, surrounded by the love of his beloved wife and three children. As we reflect on the remarkable life of Peter Godsoe, we celebrate a man whose impact extended far beyond his family, reaching into the realms of business, community, and equality.

Early Years and Personal Life

Born and raised in Toronto, Peter was the epitome of a devoted family man. Growing up with three siblings, he embraced life with a passion for hockey, golf, pool, cards, and a bit of mischief. His enduring love story with Shelagh, his high school sweetheart and wife of 60 years, is a testament to the deep connections he forged.

Education and Career

Peter’s intellectual prowess was evident as he graduated with a BSc in Mathematics and Physics from the University of Toronto and later earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. His entire career was dedicated to Scotiabank, where he rose from a teller to become the Chairman and CEO. Under his leadership, the bank flourished, becoming the second-largest in Canada and earning him a prominent place in the Canadian Business Hall of Fame.

Leadership and Philanthropy

Peter’s influence extended far beyond the banking sector. He served on the boards of numerous global companies, including Barrick Gold Corporation, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and Rogers Communications Inc. His commitment to equality was groundbreaking, actively promoting diversity in the workplace when it was not yet a common practice. Awards such as the Order of Canada, Order of Ontario, and Order of Jamaica, along with honorary degrees from prestigious universities, underscore his impact on both business and society.

Generosity and Impact

Peter’s generosity was legendary, extending to his role as Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario and involvement with various charitable organizations. His ability to connect with everyone, offering encouragement and sound advice, was truly a superpower. His influence reached beyond the professional realm, touching the lives of countless individuals.

Family Man and Enjoyment of Life

A consummate family man, Peter balanced his professional success with a joyful personal life. From family car trips to Nova Scotia and Florida to creating cherished memories with his grandchildren, Peter embraced life with gregarious humor and unflappable practicality. His love for family, passion for travel, and enthusiasm for fun endeared him to all who knew him.


In the wake of Peter Godsoe’s passing, Toronto and the global business community reflect on the loss of a visionary leader, a loving family man, and a champion of equality. As we cherish the memories of a life well-lived, our hearts go out to his beloved wife, children, grandchildren, and all who were touched by his warmth and wisdom. Peter’s legacy lives on in the positive impact he made, forever remembered and dearly missed.

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