Born in Ottawa 1920, he grew up in Montreal. After graduate studies in classics at the University of Toronto, and divinity at Trinity College, where he became a tutor in 1944, and then lecturer in dogmatic theology, he left Toronto in 1947 to obtain S.T.M. and Th.D. degrees at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 1949, he returned to Toronto as associate professor of theology and ethics at Trinity, where he was named Keble Professor of Divinity in 1964.