Michael Alister McGuigan


Mike McGuigan

Died Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, at St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, of natural causes, aged 74.

He is survived by his wife Kathleen West; children Tobias (Kelly) and Nora (YakosSpiliotopolous); seven grandchildren; former spouse Marcellina Mian; his stepsons Charles and Samuel Steven; his brothers Robert (Julia) and James, sister Kathleen (Pat);  two nieces and two nephews.

In place of a funeral service, a wake was held. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Amnesty International.

Mike earned his BA at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and his medical degree (MD) from McGill University (1970).

He served as Captain in the U.S. Air Force from 1971 to 73 near Boston, Mass, and remained disappointed, as an enthusiastic athlete, that the medical officers were not permitted to do the obstacle course.

He then did a Pediatric Residency and Clinical Pharmacology Fellowship at Harvard in Boston.

He achieved the academic appointment of Associate Professor in Pediatrics and Pharmacology at the University of Toronto.  His daily work was as Medical Director of the Ontario Poison Center from 1980 to 2001.  For 21 years, through his appointment at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, he provided telephone advice regarding the care of patients across Ontario at all hours of the day and night.  He subsequently spent 10 years as Medical Director of the Long Island Poison Center, Mineola, N.Y.

He taught and trained many residents/fellows and was well respected and loved as a teacher/mentor.  Along the way, he travelled widely, and earned an MBA at McMaster University in 1995.

Mike was active internationally. His elected positions included President of the Canadian Association of Poison Control Centres as well asthe American Academy of Clinical Toxicology, the only international toxicology association.He was the only person ever to be president of AACT twice.  He was appointed editor-in-chief of the journal Clinical Toxicology, the only international toxicology journal.

He was highly regarded in the Toronto Aikido (Japanese martial arts) community as a 4th degree  black belt instructor at Aikido Tendokai. His Aikido career began in Boston in the 1970s and he was a regular member of New York Aikikai in Manhattan while working on Long Island.

Among many other activities in retirement, he and wife Kathleen enjoyed long motorcycle trips with Kathy and Pat,his sister and her husband.  Mike also volunteered with his therapy dog Calvin,at the St. Joseph’s Health Centre in Toronto. He was particularly proud that Calvin had recently qualified to visit pediatric wards.

He is remembered by his family, friends and colleagues as a generous and caring man with a broad range of interests and a wry sense of humour.

Our deepest condolences go to his family, friends and colleagues.


This space is available for members of the Aikido community who knew Mike who wish to comment. Please email us your note if you would like to contribute.

I knew Mike for about 30 years, dating from his arrival in Toronto. He was a close friend and valued dojo colleague all that time, and I became close to his family and other friends as well.

Mike was one of the founding members of Aikido Tendokai. As an instructor, he was respected and trusted by his students.

He practiced enthusiastically, with consideration for his partners and with only the occasional humourous aside. Practicing with him was a pleasure.

I think that is the real test of Aikido character. If someone is sought out as a partner in practice by everyone, that is a sign of excellent Aikido. Mike was a joy to practice with and will be sadly missed on the mats.

— Jim Barnes