Martin C. Winer

This is what happens when Martin gets tired of sending mass emails.

Flowers and CN Tower

 

“CN Tower peering down at the flowers.”
This photo was taken on the roof patio of 401 Richmond Street by Eva Karpati

Winston by Em Waugh

Winston checking out the wave sidewalk at the Harbourfront”
This photo of her Great Dane was taken by Em Waugh. To view her photography please visit her website: ragmynphotography.zenfolio.com

Winston by Em Waugh

Winston checking out the wave sidewalk at the Harbourfront”
This photo of her Great Dane was taken by Em Waugh. To view her photography please visit her website: ragmynphotography.zenfolio.com

July 1, 2014

This new monthly column by Joyce Singer-D’Aprile will be a Celebrity Roundup featuring the opinions and experiences of Stars aged 50+.

Inspired by Good News Toronto’s 100 Days of Kindness, I inquired of various Notables and Quotables if they would share their stories of kindness received. While each one expressed that the topic required much deep reflection on their part, they generously did just that. This month, in Part I, sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer, actor Gary Holiff and radio personality Ziggy Lorenc recall life-altering kind things that were done for them, and for which they are forever grateful.

ROBERT J. SAWYER, Internationally lauded science fiction author whose latest tome is Red Planet Blues:

Robert J. Sawyer

Robert J. Sawyer

The nicest thing anybody ever did for me had a huge impact on who I ended up becoming. In the summer of 1982, I had just graduated from Ryerson and I had a summer job working at Bakka, Toronto’s science fiction specialty bookstore. The owner, John Rose, apparently saw something in me and said, “I’m going to take you to the CBA (Canadian Booksellers Association) trade show. Because I think your destiny doesn’t lie next to a cash register in a bookstore. It lies somewhere else making the books that end up in the bookstores.” It was a mitzvah, a kindness, which I’ve never forgotten. It meant so much to me that years later I dedicated my book MINDSCAN to him. John clearly felt that—to quote Spock from Star Trek—being an author was my “first, best destiny.”

 

GARY HOLIFF, Star of the award-winning celluloid gem My Father and the Man in Black, which is making the rounds of the film festival circuit:

gary holif headshot

Gary Holiff

A few years ago I was at a really challenging, emotional place in my life. My dad had died, my uncle had killed himself, I was separated from my wife, my mom was sick with Alzheimer’s and I was her primary caregiver, plus I was between jobs and things were tight, financially. Thankfully, I have a very good friend, Debbie, who was very concerned about my state of mind. At the time we were walking buddies, so she took me with her to Tofino, BC, where we competed in a half-marathon walk, which I’d never done before. She created an opportunity for me to challenge myself in beautiful, pristine surroundings, and I did it with flying colours, and I really felt good about that. I certainly couldn’t afford it at that time. She made that happen for me. It gave me a brand new perspective and re-energized me. That’s when you know you’ve got a great friend—when the chips are down.

 

ZIGGY LORENC, Host of Stardust and Midnight Blue, AM740 Radio:

Ziggy Lorenc

Ziggy Lorenc

I have been thinking over kindnesses done to me…. It happened early on in my career, at a time when I had no experience and no references, that an individual recognized something in me and helped me find work. I’m continually grateful to people who have supported me. My parents always told me that I must get along with people and be kind to them. It was the way I was raised. Sometimes, it’s not the big kindnesses, either; much like Blanche DuBois, there are people daily, whom I do not know, who offer a smile. And that matters if you are sad. It can instantly lift one’s mood. I love those kindnesses.

 

Join us next month for more kind acts recalled by other Notables and Quotables.

July 1, 2014

In this monthly column, Etta Kaner shares some of her favourite children’s books written for a variety of ages.

Dear Reader,

When faced with personal challenges in our lives, it’s natural to become introspective. Becoming aware of the challenges that other people encounter might aid in gaining a different perspective. To help you and your children do so, you might want to share some of the following books.

Just for you to KnowJust for You to Know by Cheryl Harness (published by Harper Collins Publishers) is narrated by 13-year-old Carmen, the oldest and only girl in a family of six children, soon to be seven. The book opens with Carmen and her family settling into a new town in Missouri with all of the challenges that moving entails—concerns about making friends, attending a new school, and the usual squabbles and irritating behaviour of five younger brothers. When Carmen’s mother dies in childbirth, Carmen’s world is turned upside down. Looking after her siblings and a new baby while attending school becomes an almost impossible task. But with support from neighbours, an aunt and friends, Carmen and her father are able to figure out a way to deal with all of life’s challenges. Preteens will appreciate the realism of the characters, especially Carmen, who proves to be a plucky, independent girl devoted to her family.

from AnnaFrom Anna by Jean Little (published by Scholastic Canada Ltd.) is a heart-warming novel featuring 9-year-old Anna who moves to Toronto from Germany in the late 1930s. In spite of this distant time period, anyone who has moved to a new country or anyone who has been ridiculed or feels frustrated due to a disability will be able to relate to this book. “Awkward Anna” is the term Anna’s four siblings use when they refer to her. When Anna arrives in Toronto, a doctor discovers that the reason for her awkwardness and her inability to learn to read and write is a severe visual impairment. Once Anna gets glasses and attends a special school with an understanding teacher, Anna changes from a prickly, withdrawn child who refuses to speak English to an outgoing, enthusiastic child who loves to learn and discovers she has two dimples when she smiles.

MalalaEvery Day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney (published by Second Story Press) honours 15-year-old Malala Yousafzia who was shot by the Taliban because of her campaign for the right of all girls to have an education. Illustrated with beautiful full-colour photographs, the book takes the form of a letter addressed to Malala and written by girls around the world. The “letter” talks about the various ways that girls are prevented from getting an education and thanks Malala for giving them the courage to stand up for their rights. The book ends with quotes from the speech that Malala delivered at the United Nations including these powerful words: “So let us wage a global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism and let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons.”

misschewThe Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco (published by G. P. Putnam’s Sons) is a first-person narrative in which talented illustrator/author Patricia Polacco pays tribute to two teachers who were instrumental in her becoming an artist. When her elementary school teacher, Mr. Donovan, discovers her artistic talent, he puts her in touch with Miss Chew, the high school art teacher, who takes Patricia under her wing. When Patricia’s art lessons are threatened by a substitute teacher who doesn’t understand Patricia’s learning needs, Miss Chew comes to the rescue. As always, Polacco’s vibrant pictures are full of emotion and movement in this wonderful picture book.

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