Ian Shaw had a pretty simple life motto: if you want to be happy, make someone else happy.
As a husband, father and volunteer in the Leaside hockey community, he did just that.
Robert (Rob) De Boyrie had cue cards in his hands and a stuffed bunny in his pocket. The spotlight beamed on him as he walked on stage and stood in front of the mic.
“So many people think that individuals with schizophrenia are violent psychopaths,” De Boyrie said, “but that’s just only when we’re training for the zombie apocalypse.”
The crowd inside the small office of Thorncliffe food bank is nearly outside the door as it opens for service on Thursday. Zeeshan Modi, food bank co-ordinator, works to put together baskets of food to give to the waiting families — food that they can pick up once a month, but only lasts them a week at most. Toronto continues to be the capital of child poverty in Canada with 27 per cent of all children living in poverty, according to a report released on Nov. 14.
When was 18 and in the Canadian Armed Forces, Ron Raby remembered going sleepless for days while stationed in the town of Soest, West Germany. It was 1953, during the Cold War.
“We had to sleep in tents, in weather below 45 degrees,” Raby said.
On March 4, 2009, Canadian soldier David Macdonald pulled ahead of his convoy on its way into Kandahar to ensure that a bridge ahead was safe. Fourteen days later he came out of a coma in a German hospital bed.
“I woke up … (and ) they told me about my injuries. I asked them where my platoon was and they said they were still back in Afghanistan,” MacDonald said. “That was far worse than hearing about any injuries I had.”
The sound of soft voices is echoing through the music room at Holy Cross Catholic Elementary School, in East York. It’s the music of a famous Beatles tune.
“Let it be, let it be, let it be,” Alexandria Hunters, 11, sings with her classmates and vocal teacher, Patricia Hinschberger.
The Holy Cross student glee club is rehearsing for the school’s upcoming Remembrance Day ceremony.
Morris Polansky worries that Canadians don’t understand the relevance of Remembrance Day.
“I spend a lot of time with the Legion, and we spend a lot of time delivering great bags of poppies to schools,” Polansky said.
Polansky, 95, is a Jewish-Canadian war veteran, who works with the Royal Canadian Legion to distribute poppies to different Toronto schools and subway stations. He is the vice-president of General Wingate Legion, Branch 256, the only Jewish-based branch in the organization.
Janet Davis has discovered new importance in the annual Remembrance Day, in personal wartime correspondence she inherited.
“I found all the letters that my father and brother wrote to my mother during the war,” Davis said. “They talked about not being sure what was going to happen next.”
In the days leading up to Remembrance Day, Nick Fusca takes time to remember comrades from the War in Afghanistan.
“On my last tour, in 2006, we had six soldiers in my (brigade) who were killed in Afghanistan,” Fusca said.
Fusca particularly grieves for his good friend, Pte. Mark Anthony Graham, 33, who was killed in a friendly-fire incident on Sept. 4, 2006, in Afghanistan.
“A couple of those guys were close friends of mine,” he added. “To me, Remembrance Day is very important in remembering them and supporting their families.”
On Tuesday, Narin Shamasi joined her classmates in the gym at Jackman Avenue Junior Public School in East York.
As a recording played out the music, Narin swung her arms behind her back and then back in front of her chest in a prayer motion; occasionally she froze in a tableau.
“All my life I’ve been waiting for, I’ve been praying for people to say … ‘We don’t want to fight no more,’” the song says.
She was preforming to the song “One Day,” by Matisyahu, a Jewish-American reggae vocalist.
“I always sing the song in my head and then I look at myself as if I’m doing it,” Narin said.