Toronto financier and deal maker Brad Griffiths has been declared missing after disappearing on Lake Joseph in Muskoka on Monday afternoon.
Mr. Griffiths is well known on Bay Street, and was one of the co-founders behind GMP Capital Inc. , among the country's biggest independent investment banks.
Police confirmed on Tuesday that Mr. Griffiths could not be located, almost 24 hours after distraught friends on Bay Street and in Canada's oil patch had started calling his Muskoka cottage to get information as news of his disappearance spread.
"We are all devastated by what's happened," said a friend of Mr. Griffiths. "He was a dear friend."
Mr. Griffiths, 55, was seen shortly before 1 p.m. on Monday in the water in the cottage area in distress, according to Ontario Provincial Police. The motorboat that he had been fishing in still had power, with its prop turning and its motor running. No one saw him fall into, or enter, the water. He did not appear to be wearing a life jacket. Lake Joseph is about 200 kilometres north of Toronto.
A local marina worker who rushed to the scene arrived to find Mr. Griffiths boat doing circles and emergency crews later found some of his clothes, including his shoes and a glove.
Because Mr. Griffiths has not been found, the search for him continues. The OPP's marine unit was initially involved, but a private company that is capable of diving in deeper water has since take over. Ambulance and fire officials had also been involved in the search.
Mr. Griffiths is said to have his loved his cottage, which he purchased for $4.9-million in 2005, and treated it almost like a sanctuary.
A friend said Mr. Griffiths spoke Monday morning with colleagues at Griffiths Energy International Inc., which he chairs. But by early afternoon, Mr. Griffiths' wife was frantically calling the office to see if he had been in touch with Mr. Griffiths. "It doesn't look positive," said the friend, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We are just waiting to hear from the family."
Mr. Griffiths and his wife Barb have two daughters. One of his biggest achievements was co-founding Griffiths McBurney & Partners in March 1995, now known as GMP Capital. He left the firm in 2000.
Throughout his banking career, he had stops all over Bay Street, including roles as head of mergers and acquisitions at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, a vice-president of Gordon Capital Corp., head of capital markets at Canaccord Capital and managing director of capital markets at McFarlane Gordon.
Some of his greatest feats included leading deals that were practically unheard of in his day, such as raising $650-million for Sherritt International. The dollar value may not seem like much today, but at the time it was a landmark deal for a smaller independent firm such as GMP. Similar feats included financings for Inmet Mining and Fonorola.
Most recently, Mr. Griffiths was chief financial officer and chairman of the board of directors at United Hunter Oil and Gas Corp. as well as chairman of Griffiths Energy International.