Moffat Dunlap, a driving force in many aspects of the Canadian horse industry, died on September 11 at the age of 82, having battled Parkinson’s disease for 25 years.
Moffat was well known throughout the Canadian horse community; he was a member of the Canadian Equestrian Team for 20 years, winning a show jumping team bronze medal at the 1967 Pan American Games and a team gold medal at the 1970 World Championships. Moffat stayed heavily involved in the industry after his riding career ended in 1976 and maintained close, lifelong friendships with his teammates Jim Elder and Tom Gayford as well as Eventer John Rumble.
“I was a friend of Moff’s for over 65 years,” said fellow 1968 Canadian Show Jumping gold medallist Jim Elder. “He was a best friend but also a teammate. I give Moff a lot of credit for being with the team in the lean years when there were only four or five of us trying to jump the international classes.
“I also give him a lot of credit for helping build the Eastern Canadian Championships in 1959,” continued Elder. “That show is what led to our gold medal in 1968.”
Held at Elder’s Elderberry Farm in Aurora, Ontario for nearly 20 years, the name of the show was changed to Tournament of Champions in 1969. After a hiatus, the show was revived at IESS (now RCRA) in the late 1990s and is now hosted at the Caledon Equestrian Park.
Moffat served on many boards and management committees; was a former director and Jumping Team chairman of the Canadian Equestrian Team during the Los Angeles Olympics in 1984; was a past director of the Canadian Pony Club, Canadian Horse Council, Canadian Horse Shows Association and Horseman’s Benevolent and Protective Association. He was named Honourary Director of the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association and over the years served as director, Horse Show chairman and president of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Moffat was also a co-founder of The Country Day School, a ground-breaking independent school in King Township.
A graduate of Upper Canada College in Toronto and the University of Western Ontario in London, Moffat obtained his real estate license over five decades ago and established his own firm in 1972, Moffat Dunlap Real Estate Limited. The company specializes in country properties in the greater Toronto area, along with exceptional Georgian Bay properties. Special real estate projects Moffat has worked on include the purchase of land and rezoning for Canada’s Wonderland; the sale of Eaton Hall to become Seneca College’s King Campus; rezoning for the King Ranch Health Spa and Devil’s Pulpit Golf Course, assembling lands for the world headquarters of Magna International in Aurora, and acting as the Koffler family’s advisor and agent when their large property, Joker’s Hill, was gifted to the University of Toronto.
Moffat also served on the Equine Advisory Board at both Humber and Seneca Colleges and was a member of the capital fundraising team at Princess Margaret Hospital and Southlake Regional Health Centre Foundation. In 2011, the University of Toronto awarded Moffat an honorary Doctor of Laws degree for Community Service and Philanthropy.
Moffat’s son, John, remarked on his father’s involvement at the center of early developments in the Canadian horse industry. “He was always involved in different and wonderful projects. He was enthusiastic and wanted others involved. If there were talented people around, he wanted to draw them in to the horse industry.
“The early days of the industry had great private sponsors, and the first major corporate sponsor was Rothmans,” he explained. After Moffat sold a nearby farm to Rothman’s Pall Mall Canada Ltd. chairman John Devlin, the pair became neighbours and good friends. “As the industry transitioned from amateur to professional sport, Dad wanted to make sure that there were corporate sponsors.”
Moffat is survived by his children Louise, John, Allison, and Daphne. A celebration of life is planned for mid-October at his farm in King Township.