Obituary of Daniel A MacDonald
Daniel "Dan" A. MacDonald- Age 89
As the noon gun was fired from Citadel Hill, Dan passed away, peacefully, at the
Halifax Infirmary, on November 23, 2023. Born August 28, 1934, to the late Michael
R. and Matilda (Dadeau) MacDonald in Pictou Nova Scotia. Married to Nancy Joan
(Fry) MacDonald, who predeceased him in 2020.
Educated at Stella Maris Convent School, he graduated from Pictou Academy, Pictou
NS in 1953. Dan received a scholarship and attended the Vancouver Theatre School,
Vancouver BC, and Saint Mary’s University, Halifax NS
Dan’s career in the performing arts took him from Egypt to Vancouver. In the late
1950’s he was given a scholarship and joined the Old Vic Company in London
England where his acting career developed. He was the first Canadian actor to receive
the Shakespearean Cup. As part of their touring company, he performed for several
years in their productions throughout the United Kingdom and the Middle East. This
is where his life changed, meeting Haligonian Nancy Fry, whom he proposed to, and
in 1965, married in London England.
He returned to Canada for roles with the Stratford Festival and beyond. CBC Radio
shows were a favorite of Dan’s, finding him in roles, and acting in Halifax and
Toronto for those performances. Live theatre was his passion as an actor, producer,
and director. For over 60 years he was cast in multiple productions with Theatre New
Brunswick, The Citadel in Edmonton, and in Hamilton ON. His film and television
repertoire included Wind at My Back, Road to Avonlea, The Little Kidnappers, Due
South, Street Legal, The Trailer Park Boys-Make It Legal, The Book of Negros, to
name a few. He founded his own theatre company, Tiroam Arts, producing plays such
as Mass Appeal for audiences in New Brunswick, Ontario, and Alberta.
He established business ventures through Tiroam Enterprises, including the Toronto-
based “Man About the House” a handyperson business that provided work for
performing artists to supplement their income.
His career also included working with the Nova Scotia Department of Education and
producing Summer Theatre in Yarmouth and Tatamagouche, NS. He landed in Saint
John New Brunswick and worked as a news anchor for Irving-owned CHSJ (New
Brunswick Broadcasting), learning how to properly pronounce Calais, not Calay
Maine from no other than Mr. KC Irving himself.
Dan was past President of Actors Equity, ACTRA, and an active director of The
Performing Arts Lodges (PAL), an organization that advocated for and provided
housing and assistance to aging performing artists across Canada. He fought hard for
the performing arts community and helped establish the ACTRA Fraternal Benefit
Society (AFBS), Canada’s only national insurance and investment provider launched
by Canadian performers and screenwriters.
Although based in Toronto for much of his career, Nova Scotia was his home and he
would visit and travel here as often as he could, spending many summers at his family
property on Mill Lake, near Hubbards.
Family was very important to Dan. He took great delight in family visits and hearing
about the life of the Clanranald’s. He loved sharing stories about growing up in
Pictou, his cross-country travels, especially when he piloted his plane to acting gigs,
and off-air and off-stage experiences. Dan served time in uniform as a junior officer in
the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves and university program. He was very proud of
his family and three older brothers who volunteered to serve in WWII.
Dan was predeceased by the love of his life Nancy; brothers, and sisters, Joseph,
Angus, Allan, Bernard, John R (Jackie) Michael, Mary, Patricia “Patsy” and
Elizabeth. He is survived by many nieces, nephews, and their extended families.
The family would like to thank Dr. Peter Leighton and staff for their excellent care of
Dan. Many thanks to the staff of the Emergency Department and Unit 4.1 Halifax
Infirmary for their supportive and gentle care of Dan during his final days on Earth.
Arrangements have been entrusted to J. Albert Walker Funeral Home (2005) Ltd., 149
Herring Cove Road, Halifax. A Mass of Christian Burial will take place in St
Patrick’s Church, 2263 Brunswick St., Halifax N.S. B3K 2Y9 on December 2 nd, 2023,
at 10 a.m. Internment, alongside Nancy, in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, Lower
Sackville, N.S. No flowers by request. Donations can be made to a charity of your
choice or by doing a good deed to those of us less fortunate.
“May eternal rest be granted to him and let perpetual light shine upon him.”