Funeral held for Canadian 'Sharkwater' filmmaker
Saturday, February 18, 2017, 7:37 PM - The funeral for 'Sharkwater' filmmaker Rob Stewart -- who died while scuba diving off the Florida Keys last month -- was held on Saturday at Toronto's Bloor Street United Church, attended by hundreds of mourners and drawing tributes from many quarters.
Attendees included George Stroumboulopoulos and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, with the eulogy given by his sister, Alexandra Stewart, and tributes coming in from friends and other well-wishers around the world.
"If it provides any solace, please be assured that Rob had a huge effect in his life," environmentalist David Suzuki wrote in a letter read out loud by a family friend, according to the Toronto Star. "Not only educating large numbers of people and saving countless lives of sharks, he has inspired a whole generation of young people, many of whom will go on and amplify Rob's work."
Prior to the funeral, the family asked that, in lieu of flowers, mourners consider making a donation toward shark and ocean conservation via the WWF. Many attendees at the funeral wore blue to symbolize Stewart's life-long focus on ocean conservation.
Stewart went missing on January 31 while on a dive near Islamorada in the Florida Keys, prompting a widespread search. His body was found on February 3 at a depth of about 70 m. He was 37.
Stewart's ground-breaking 2006 documentary Sharkwater examined the impact of the global shark hunt and fin trade, and its impact on the ocean ecosystem. It premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and won dozens of awards, as did his 2013 documentary Revolution.
Steward's last dive was part of production of Sharkwater: Extinction, a follow-up to the 2006 Sharkwater film.
Theatre chain Cineplex plans tribute screenings of Sharkwaterat some theatres, with tickets free at the box office in exchange for donations to WWF-Canada.