Miles Hearn – Obituary

Miles Hearn (July 9, 1947 – February 25, 2023)

It is with great sadness that we announce that Miles Hearn, husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle and friend, passed away peacefully on February 25, 2023, from cancer.

Born in 1947, Miles grew up with his parents and sister Adele in Scarborough. Miles’ mother was a devoted lover of classical music, and passed this love on to her son. He started playing the French horn at the age of 10. By 15 he was already performing and was a member of the Toronto Symphony Youth Orchestra.

Miles was a working musician for more than 30 years. He performed with many orchestras, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the National Ballet Orchestra of Canada and the Hamilton Philharmonic, where he was first horn for 20 years.

He accompanied a great variety of artists, such as Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5, as well as Glen Gould. He also played for Broadway shows in Toronto and elsewhere, including long runs of Crazy for You and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

Miles eventually retired as a musician to pursue teaching, but his love of music remained strong. He performed in several community musical theatre productions and was a member of the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir for many years.

Looking back on his musical career, Miles wished to thank two talented musicians and mentors, Eugene Rittich and Fred Rizner.

Another great passion of Miles’ was nature. In his youth he accompanied his grandfather, Dr. J. Murray Speirs, on numerous birdwatching trips, fostering a life-long love and interest in the natural world.

After retiring from teaching, Miles found perhaps his favourite career of all, working as a nature guide for adults. The Toronto District School Board recognized his efforts and commitment to lifelong learning with the Learn4Life Jack Henshaw Award in November 2022. Miles built his nature walk program from one group per week to eight groups per week over the years. In addition, Miles found the time to spend two winters in Antarctica as a naturalist, and two weeks in northern Ontario every summer conducting the Breeding Bird Survey.

When not out in nature, Miles could be found enjoying a Leafs, TFC, Argos or Raptors game, travelling with his wife Marie, taking in a play or concert, or having a good laugh with family and friends.

Over the last five years, he also built a wonderful website,, where he shared his boundless knowledge and pictures of nature from his daily walks. Through this website, Miles lives on with us.

Miles is survived by his wife Marie; his four children, Alexander (Ginny), Kathleen (Kris), Sophie (Pieter) and Evelyne (Jake); his sister Adele; his five grandchildren, Chloe, Calvin, Simon, Alice and Benjamin; his mother-in-law Hélène; his sisters-in-law Josée (Yvon) and Marie-Claude; his brother-in-law Denis; and his nephews and nieces, Jamie (Jan), Tanya, Émilie (Jérôme), Mélanie (Mimo), Philippe (Marie-Pier) and Mathieu (Alby). He will be dearly missed.

Memorial service details will be available at If desired, memorial donations may be made to the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.

7 thoughts on “Miles Hearn – Obituary

  1. Benny Perrino

    Hello, my name is Benny Perrino. I was a friend of Miles for 21 years. I taught with him at Earl Beatty PS in toronto. He was truly a genuinely nice man. We were both fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Raptors. I wish you peace in this time of grief. God bless.

  2. Patricia MacLeod

    So sad to hear of Miles’ passing. I only knew him briefly from the Saturday morning “Discover Nature” walking group, which quickly became a highlight of my week. He shared a wealth of knowledge and a deep appreciation & love for nature. I hope his website remains available to the public.
    A kind & extraordinary soul – thank you, Miles. 💗

  3. Pina

    My heartfelt condolences to the family. I am in shock and quite saddened by this unexpected news. I had the pleasure of taking 4 seasons of the birdwatching course, and I was always amazed by the infinite knowledge and love of nature Miles shared. I definitely learned a lot from these wonderful walks. Rain or shine, the walk was never cancelled. Miles truly had to be one of Mother Nature’s favourite sons. I am truly saddened by this loss.

  4. Wayne Boon

    A truly exceptional individual.
    I met him when he began the nature walks.
    He helped to develop my own interest in all things natural.
    Only gripe he identified 3 times the birds l saw due to his marvellous ear.
    Will be missed but his legacy will ripple out for generations.
    Condolences to family

  5. George Stimpson

    Miles and I were best friends when we both played horn in the TSO, hung out with mutual friends, and listened to all kinds of music. Back in ’73 or so, I introduced Miles to canoeing on a short in Haliburton. He was to teach me about birds, and I to teach him about trees. After an hour of paddling, I found that he knew as much or more about trees than I did. He went deep into learning about all living things while I went into canoeing and kayaking. We drifted apart but always maintained great respect for each other.
    I’m saddened by his leaving us and am thankful that he left us so much. Condolences to his whole family. George Stimpson

  6. Wayne Smith

    I knew Miles from R H King H.S. in Scarborough. We were in the same class most years, the same music class and both played in the orchestra. He played the french horn and I the cello. We played cards together at lunch ( whist or euchre ). We often walked home together down Kingston Road and had great conversations about sports, music and girls. He would go south down Chine Drive and I would go north. I knew he would go on to greatness. Rest in peace old friend!

  7. Virginia (Ginny) Wells

    Please accept my belated condolences on the passing of Miles, the “Gentle Giant”. I was fortunate to play many school concerts with Miles in Victor Dibello’s orchestra a couple of decades ago and have also seen him in the choir loft at Roy Thomson Hall with the Mendelssohn Choir from my POV on stage. Always kind and deferential, Miles’ passing is a great loss to the musical community and the world, at large. Thank you to his family for sharing him.

    Ginny Wells


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