Cottage fire victims believed to be Toronto lawyer and his family

Toronto corporate securities lawyer Geoffrey Taber, his wife Jacquie Gardner and their two children are believed to have perished in a tragic Christmas Eve fire at a cottage near Peterborough.

As of mid-day Dec. 26 the Ontario Provincial Police had not confirmed the identities of the victims but according to news reports, the bodies of the four Taber family members, including the couple’s two sons Scott and Andrew, had been removed from what remains of the family cottage on Stoney Lake.

The family is said to have lived fulltime in the Riverdale area of Toronto. Taber was a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.

In a statement, Dale Ponder, managing partner and chief executive at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP said: “Geoff Taber was a generous, vibrant and wonderful person, a legal visionary and beloved partner at Osler. There are no words adequate enough to express the depth of sorrow we feel about the tragic death of Geoff and his beloved wife Jacquie and sons Scott and Andrew.”

In a message on the firm's website it states Taber was "at the forefront of understanding the importance of the technology sector to Canada and was the founder of Osler's Emerging Companies Group. He advised many of Canada’s emerging and later stage companies as well as venture capital investors. He encouraged entrepreneurship through his work with key industry initiatives such as the Rotman Business School's Creative Destruction Lab and The Next 36, Canada's Entrepreneurial Leadership Institute."

Gardner was “an exceptional corporate lawyer initially at Osler, then as general counsel & secretary at Altamira Investment Services.”

“Geoff and Jacquie were first and foremost loving parents to their two remarkable sons. We will miss them terribly,” Ponder said.

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