Evan Hugh Roberts
It’s with great sadness that we announce Evan Roberts, better known as Chick Roberts, passed away of natural causes at the age of 90 at Toronto General Hospital ICU on Jan 26th, 2023. Son, brother, uncle, father, musician, actor, entertainer.
Chick was one of five children born in Sudbury Ontario in 1932 to Welsh immigrant parents, shortly after the family relocated to Toronto to a house on Ontario St in the Cabbagetown neighborhood, where he grew up.
Chick was a renaissance man, with many accomplishments in the entertainment business and in life. A well known professional folk-blues musician, actor of stage-screen-tv & commercials. Regarded as playing a major role as a pioneer in the early folk music scene of Toronto in the 1950’s – 1960’s. His stage and movie acting career stretched over six decades, his first role came in 1956 in Charlie Chaplin’s movie “King in New York”. He toured Canada from coast to coast as a stage actor, and as a character actor/bit parts appearing in over 150 movies, tv shows and commercials.
His lasting example? Spreading joy with a warm smile, a joke, be generous, talk and listen to everybody you cross paths with in life, and be kind to others.
He leaves a legacy as a beloved brother, father, and friend to many. He was an on again-off again cabbie for four decades. He was a marathon runner for decades starting in the 70’s, organizing running clubs, planning marathon routes, and ran in the Boston Marathon. A weekly regular at the YMCA since childhood until the age of 88. He sang in local choirs, and was a weekly visitor to the Toronto Reference Library teaching himself music through their music sheet archive, and was a voracious reader his favourite being books on history. A great cook, the man loved his vegetables and made the best home made meals.
One of his most lasting accomplishments was being a co-founder of a program called Mariposa in the Schools or MITS in 1970 and ran for 50 years. Created to bring traditional folk music into the schools and expose thousands of Canadian children to music education. Chick loved entertaining children and educating, and he worked tirelessly to performing spreading the joy and importance of music from coast to coast.
Chick was the energized life of the party. He loved people. His passion was being a supporter, influencer, organizer, friend and mentor. Tributes have come in from fans, friends and acquaintances: “one of a kind”, “truly an original”, “a good man”, an enthusiasm for life”, “always upbeat”, “we lost a special man”, “a wonderful man”, “so talented”, “a warm and welcoming smile”, “kind”, and “his fun and music will continue in heaven where he will have everyone dancing”.
Though he slowed down in his last two years, Chick kept in touch with people keeping their spirits up with his regular emails of the best online jokes, and had fun conversations with neighbours at his beloved apartment complex in downtown Toronto.
Chicks chosen epitaph for his cemetery plaque speaks to how important music was to his life, and how he believed how important music is to the world: “Raise a parting glass and your voices in joyful music for me”.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made in his name to the
Mariposa Folk Festival
The Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
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