Symons was no stranger to scandal. He fled Toronto with his 17-year-old male lover for the warmth of Mexico. Left behind was his wife and young son.
He was born in 1933 amidst the wealth of Rosedale. He was educated at the University of Toronto, Cambridge University and The Sorbonne. Early in his career he was a journalist with the Quebec Chronicle Telegraph and La Presse. His career path lead him to the Royal Ontario Museum where he wrote Heritage, A Romantic Look at Early Canadian Furniture during his time as curator.
Evading Mexican police who were seeking him at the request of his and his lover’s families he moved to Morocco. There he lived for 25 years. He wrote his novel Helmet of Flesh while residing there.
In 2005 Symons returned to Toronto where he resided until his death Monday.