Goddard, a life of music and prose

 In Obituaries

“The finest music journalist that Canada produced has died,” begins a Toronto Star article about the life and death of Peter Goddard, musician, ethnomusicologist, journalist, and Creemore resident.

Goddard attended The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, where his father Jack Goddard was a teacher and examiner, where he studied with Margaret Butler, and as a pianist earned a solo performer diploma, his proudest professional accomplishment. He went on to the University of Toronto, earning a bachelor’s degree in music and later a master’s degree in ethnomusicology.

Goddard is the author of more than 20 books including The Sounding, a novel, and books about Ronnie Hawkins, the Rolling Stones, Genesis, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Frank Sinatra, The Who, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran and most recently published a book about Glenn Gould. He began writing for newspapers in 1966 and was the music critic for The Toronto Star from 1972-1988. He was the last recipient of the Juno Award for Canadian Music Journalist of the Year in 1972 and in 1982 he received a National Newspaper Award for Critical Writing.

Goddard followed the music scene in his home city of Toronto and also spent time in France and Creemore.

Carol Ann said her husband discovered Creemore in 1983.

She recounts that as a member of the Anglican Young People’s Association, Goddard, and his father, came to Creemore in search of Rev. George Daily.

“He didn’t find George Daily but he found Creemore and he fell in love with it,” said Carol Ann.

She said they got in touch with the real estate agent the next day, and were recommended two properties.

She and Peter went to see them shortly afterwards and considered a property on Ten Hill. Carol Ann said they were on their way back to Toronto to see a Blue Jays game and decided, yes, they wanted it so Peter turned the car around, they went back and made an offer.

The Goddards were welcomed by the Fairgrounds Road community, and with daughter Kate, enjoyed community picnics and the help of neighbours who knew a lot more about working on the land than they did.

Goddard, a philanthropist, was also engaged in the fight against the wind turbines, and also a member of CARA – Creemore and Area Residents’ Association, volunteering each year at the tree lighting.

Goddard paid tribute to the community in a 1989 Toronto Star article entitled Hockey Night in Creemore, a story about the frenzy around the Creemore Chiefs, the senior hockey team of the day.

“Creemore, just south of Collingwood, is so small you get to know even most of the dogs by name. The hills low around it are settled by well-to-do “weekenders” and farmers making a successful go of it, two cultures as unalike as the as the Finns and Brazilians. But when The Chiefs are in the playoffs the town is entirely of one mind.

“Last Wednesday, when they played the Durham Huskies in the deciding game in the quarterfinals, about 700 folks turned out. Players’ wives were there screaming. Kids, dads, granddads and even city slickers were there as Toddy and Jilly – That’s Creemore for Gilles Ouellette – and the rest murdered the suckers.

“Shoot, the town only has 1,200 people. The arena seats only 400. It’s a sleepy place. But on hockey night it gets so crowded in the arena you have to go outside to change your mind.

“And did Creemore win?

“Is a pig’s behind pork?”

Goddard died on March 23 at the age of 78, of glioblastoma, a type of brain cancer.

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