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Born: Jul 13, 1958

Date of Passing: Apr 16, 2019

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July 13, 1958 - April 16, 2019

Ian is survived by his wife of 25 years, Janine Pearson; his daughter Anik; his father Douglas Watson, of Edmonton; his sister Martha (Willie King), of Edmonton; his brother Alick (Anne Watson), of Boston; his in-laws, Curtis and Elsie Pearson, of Kipling, Saskatchewan; his sister-in-law Ruth Spetz (James), of Calgary; and his seven nieces and nephews, Emily (David Clanachan), Christopher, Maxwell, Fiona, Gillian, Joel and Aaron.
Born in Vancouver and raised in Winnipeg, the son of Douglas and Janet Watson (nee Ryder), Ian attended Grosvenor Public School and Lakefield College School in Peterborough, Ontario (an institution that his great-grandfather founded). In 1977, he attended Queen's University for a year before beginning his studies at the Vancouver Playhouse Acting School (under the direction of David Latham). After leaving the school, he joined the English acting company at the National Arts Centre for four seasons (under the direction of John Wood). He was a member of Quebec's Carbone 14 and participated in the creation of the world-renowned Le Dortoir. In 1986, he was invited by John Hirsch to join the Stratford Festival acting company where he subsequently worked for four seasons. He also enjoyed many other opportunities to work in theatres across the country from Manitoba Theatre Centre to the Centaur.
In 1993, he married Janine Pearson in Kipling, Saskatchewan. Directly afterwards they made their home in Montreal where Ian obtained a B.A. Honours degree from McGill University in English and Mathematics. He was influenced and mentored by the great acting teacher Michael Mawson and his dear friend, Bernard Hopkins. In 1996, Ian began teaching at the National Theatre School of Canada (under the direction of Perry Schneiderman). He spent the remainder of his career guiding young actors in the work of Shakespeare most notably at NTSC, Ryerson University and George Brown College. He also taught for the Stratford Festival's Conservatory Training Program and coached for the company. He felt called to teach and coach, and his passion for language was contagious.
In 2002, Ian and Janine moved to Stratford, Ontario. They became parents when they travelled to China to accept their long-wished-for daughter, Anik. These were extraordinary years for Ian as he was immersed in his work and created a life with his wife and daughter.
Janine and Anik send their deepest thanks to all of the family and friends who have supported us throughout Ian's journey with cancer.
A family funeral will take place at Christ Lutheran Church in Kipling, Saskatchewan and a Celebration of Life will take place in Stratford at a later date.
As expressions of sympathy, donations may be made to The Professional Development Program for Coaching at the Stratford Festival, or the Canadian Cancer Society through the W.G. Young Funeral Home, 430 Huron Street, Stratford, Ontario. 519.271.7411

As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on Apr 20, 2019

Condolences & Memories (2 entries)

  • My sympathies to go out to all the family of Ian Watson. Though I had not been in contact with Ian for many years, I often thought about him and wondered if his childhood dreams of travel came to fruition. Ian and I grew up living next door to each other in Winnipeg, on Harvard Avenue. We didn’t spend many daytime hours together, instead, we waited until the sun was down and the stars filled our prairie sky. We both had bedrooms on the top floor of our houses and our rooms faced each other. We had a lot of late night conversations through those bedroom windows. During our middle teen years, we started talking about travel and our mutual interest in making our way up to the Yukon. A couple of years later, when we had a chance to reconnect, we laughingly made plans to travel together to the far north of Canada. I think that may have been the last time I saw Ian but the travel dream we shared became one that I pursued. Within four or five years, I found myself working in the Northwest Territories, along the Mackenzie River, within visual distance of the Yukon. Though we didn’t get there together, I brought Ian along in my thoughts. I am so sorry for your loss. Ian was a kind and gentle youth and I can only imagine how he must have blossomed as a husband and a father. I will hold dear my sweet teenage memories of the two of us, hanging out of our bedroom windows (three stories up!) as our exchange of ideas floated above the lilac hedge and drifted in the cool night air. - Posted by: Theresa Heffler (childhood friend) on: May 18, 2019

  • My condolences to the Watson family. I knew Ian for a brief period at Grosvenor School in Winnipeg. I recall spending time at the family home on Yale as well as Ian's efforts putting out a school newsletter known as "The Grosvenor Falcon", which I still possess and get a laugh whenever I pull it out. Dick Alsip - Posted by: Richard (Dick) Alsip (Old elementary school mate) on: Apr 24, 2019

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