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Peter Scott Smithunknown

Peter was the middle of three sons of Friede and Harry Smith, who had fled the post-war harshness of Europe for suburban calm in Canada.

Like many children stuck in the middle and not old enough to be independent or young enough to be doted on, Peter struggled for recognition. At sports and at school he had to work twice as hard to achieve athletic grace or academic awards. The only thing that came naturally was drawing. With pastel crayons from Switzerland and heavy paper, Peter would spend hours sketching the world around him.

As a teen Peter found the wonders of girls, parties, beer and pot more interesting than school. With his friends, aptly named the Out to Lunch Bunch, he travelled to Quebec City for Carnival and in a sober but reckless manoeuvre managed to flip their car. On a 1980 trip to Florence, he lost himself in galleries that taught him the power of the canvas and the life force of stone.

Upon returning to Canada, Peter began work in the Oriental carpet trade with Harry, becoming a well-respected salesman. But above the carpet shop lived an artist who inspired Peter to become his pupil and develop his talents. One Christmas, his parents bought him a used professional easel, and from that day onward Peter lived to make sense of his life through art.

During his early apprenticeship Peter took up residence in an illegal loft for artists in Toronto's West end. While developing as an artist and as a man he was pursued by schizophrenia, which would hound him for the rest of his life. He lost many friends and even his brothers, Michael and John, failed to understand the profound loneliness and paralysis he endured. Peter was saved by Friede and Harry, who took him to their home and protected, nurtured and medicated him. Peter's only other rock during that difficult time was his girlfriend, Maria.

For 10 years, Peter wrestled with schizophrenia by painting, carving and drawing his world out into ours. With time and newer medications he was slowly able to introduce himself back to society. In 1999, a month before his mother's death, he married Maria. They moved into an artist co-operative in Toronto and eventually to a small farm near Belleville, Ont.

Last summer, ill with pulmonary fibrosis, Peter travelled to Bon Echo Provincial Park with Harry and John, where he enjoyed the boat tour of the park's lake and giant cliffs, etched with primitive petroglyphs. On board the guide asked the passengers to call out their names to hear the lake's famous echo. Peter called out and his name rolled back across the water and the cliffs. He smiled. The echo produced from his life, his art and his love will last for more than a moment.

John Max Smith is Peter's brother and Harry Smith is Peter's father.

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