Posted in Canada, Community, Daddy, disaster, family, Linus, news, Parenting, The Urban Daddy, Toronto

Terror in Toronto – April 23rd, 2018.

Dbg_PgeWAAES_ggYesterday was a very sad day in the City of Toronto.  My hometown.  My City.  The 5th largest city in North America, and it happened on Yonge Street, the longest street in the world which connect Lake Ontario to Lake Simcoe.

The section of Yonge Street that this occurred on was from Finch Avenue to Sheppard Avenue.  I grew up, and lived at Yonge and Finch for almost 29-years.  I worked just north of Yonge and Sheppard for the Canada Revenue Agency for almost 11-years, and my mother and sister both live at Yonge and Sheppard – my sister works on Yonge Street as well.  This area I know very, very well.  It currently is predominately a hotspot for Korean and Persian residents and businesses.

Yesterday, for whatever reason, a 25-year-old male from North of Toronto, decided to rent a cube van and drive on the sidewalk down Yonge Street running over innocent people, as well as mailboxes, fire hydrants, lamp posts and anything else that was in his way.

As of the time I am writing this, 10 innocent Torontonians have lost their lives, and another 10-15 are in hospital fighting for their lives / receiving treatment.

If you have seen the video of the arrest of the driver of the van, you will understand what makes Toronto so amazing, and why our police are the best.  The unknown officer approached the driver, who whipped out his cell phone as if it were a gun and pointed it at the officer.  The officer did not flinch, but kept approaching the driver.

The officer yelled to the driver, “Get down”.

The driver yelled to the officer, “Shoot me.  Kill me.  I have a gun in my pocket.”

The officer kept approaching the driver, slowly, gun drawn and yelling, “Get down.  You’re going to get shot. Get down.”

The driver dropped his phone and was arrested.

He did not have a gun.  Guns are not allowed in Canada.

Amazing, caught on video footage of an incredibly brave officer!  Toronto Proud!

What else made me very proud of this city, and the people who live here is the countless stories of people rushing to the aid of the victims within seconds of the incident (which occurred over a period of 25-minutes) and administering CPR, and comforting the people as they lay in the streets badly wounded or dying.

Residents handed out water, supported each other, hugged those who needed to be held, and helped others to safety.

Any amazing reaction by an amazing community in an amazing city.  It brings tears to my eyes to know that in a time of crisis and unknown that people from all walks of life, of all ethnic backgrounds, of all ages, sexes, and from all races, religions, etc., realized that Canadians are special people and we need to support each other.

That is what makes Canada great.

That is what makes Toronto great.

Growing up in such a multi-cultural city is a blessing as it allows you the opportunity to look at people for what they are… people.  They are your neighbours, your friends, your colleagues, and your community.

Our city was under siege and our citizens reacted.

First responders, hospital staff, and police were incredible as usual, and everyone held their breath expecting news of this attack being a terrorist attack which would be adding to a horrific event, but it appears it was not terrorism.

News unfolding today reveals a man who was uncomfortable around women, who needed extra help in school and was unable to adjust to life as an adult.  Without confirmation, it tells a story of a man who was rejected by women and who felt the best way to deal with it was not to get help, but to inflict terror on innocent people.

I’m sick.

Words cannot express the sadness I am feeling for the families of the 10-people who will not be coming home from work today, or from their stroll on a beautiful sunny day.  Their lives will be changed forever as will the witnesses, the first responders and anyone who saw the footage on TV or the Net.

How do we prevent these from happening again?

I don’t know.

I feel that this man’s parents should have gotten him help.

I feel like they should have known he was dealing with these issues and they should have worked with professionals to address his feelings, his anger issues, and his rage.

Canada has socialized medicine.  It’s not like it would have costs the family a lot of money in appointments or medication…

Parents, it’s our responsibility, is it not, to help our children develop and contribute to society, not destroy it?

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the victims, and to those in hospital, we wish a speedy recovery.

Yesterday my city was under attack, and the people of this city made me so proud to be a Torontonian!

UPDATE: The drive has been charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder.

Posted in Daddy, family, Life, Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen: The Urban Daddy Ponders His Usefulness

The absolute best trait a person with ADD-like symptoms possesses is the ability to think about 45 different things over the course of one full minute.

Since today is Thursday, I’d like to put together 13 items that have crossed my mind in the past 13 minutes – many of course coming as a result of something one of my children has said to me, about me, recently when he questioned my (in)ability to help his with his homework.

  1. On the weekend my son needed help with a project for his math enrichment class. I wanted him to at least try it before asking for help, but I knew that he was hungry and when he’s hungry he is helluva cranky. Not realizing that his crankiness was meant for his mother whom he wanted to work with, my offer of help generated this reply from him; “I DON’T want your help! You’re useless!!”

This lead to #12.

  1. Being called “useless” by a 7-year-old child with low blood sugar is hilarious. I didn’t want to help him anyways! It’s the weekend and I have other things to do… Even things for (gasp) me!

Then I started thinking… See #11.

  1. Then as I set out looking to help one of my other children with schoolwork, I started to think about what my son called me when I came to the conclusion he’s off base. I’m 43-years-old. I’m married. I’m a great dad. I have 3 children, and have 3-years of accounting qualifications under my belt, plus a MBA which I earned while that child was a baby sleeping only 2-3 hours at a time for almost the first year of his life! I am far from useless.


  1. They say (and I don’t know who “they” are or if this even counts as a fact) that if you can question whether you are “crazy” then you must not be “crazy”. Granted terminology is terrible, but what if I’ve been telling myself that I am useful all these years but in the eyes of my kids, I’m already a dinosaur incapable of helping out wit Grade 2 math… Maybe I do belong in the museum of life.

  2. Or… If I was subconsciously pulling a fast one on my kids to get out of having to help them with their math. I mean when I was growing up and my family decided that I needed to help make lunches before bed, I sabotaged their lunches and was never asked to help out again.

  3. But after a hug from mummy and a handful of grapes, I could hear the cries for “DADDY!!!” from the child who actually needed my help… I think.

  4. I made him apologize. I didn’t need it, but I wanted him to get used to saying sorry. It’s not easy for everyone to say but it’s powerful and liberating to clear your conscience.

  5. Even at 7-years-old, children do not like to be forced to apologize, yet when they know they need help and you are their only option, you get the short, unemotional, “sorry”.

  6. Then we got down to business, and after 2-hours or being creative and cutting, solving, gluing and decorating this project, the light-bulb went on in both of our heads.

  7. It had become my project and it had to be good. Really good.

  8. Daddy was doing his project and it was looking good… Really good.

  9. I stepped back and said to him, “Hey man! It’s your project, not mine. We’re going to do whatever you want to do. Please don’t let me take over or tell you what to put where I think it goes. It’s all yours (and in the back of my mind, while he’s staring at this piece of art, I know he’s thinking it’s awesome and I’m thinking – still think I’m useless?)

  10. He takes over. He colours, aligns, decorates, fixes, alters, and adjusts the project and now it’s ALL his. It’s amazing,

He turns to me with his eyes wide as saucers and says; “I love you Daddy!”

Totally worth it!

Posted in Life

67th Anniversary of D-Day – Canada’s role in the liberation of Europe.

Today, June 6th, is the 67th anniversary of the greatest seaborne invasion in history as Canada took part in the liberation of Europe from Nazi Germany.  Canada’s role on this D-Day: to take one of the five designated beaches where Allied forces were to land.  The Americans had Utah and Omaha beaches in the west, then came the British at Gold beach, the Canadians landed at Juno Beach and finally the British arrived at Sword beach all across a stretch of about 80 kilometres of mostly flat, sandy beach along the Normandy coast in France.

The bombardment of the beaches began at 6 a.m.  Two hours later, the German defences at Juno Beach had been shattered and Canada had established the beachhead.

The victory was a turning point in World War II and led to the liberation of Europe and the defeat of Nazi Germany.

Fourteen thousand young Canadians stormed Juno Beach on his day.  The fighting they endured was fierce and frightening and the  price they paid was high, costing 340 Canadian lives, wounding 574 more.

Unfortunately I did not learn about this in school, neither did my wife.  Instead we learned the best life lesson about D-day in a rather unique way.  We travelled to Normandy as part of our honeymoon. 

For those of you who are new readers of my blog, my wife and I took 5 weeks honeymoon, flew into Paris, France then rented a car and drove up to Normandy, then around the entire country, ending in Paris for the last 3 days.  It was a wonderful trip, looking back at what we saw and where we went.  We stayed in a lot of bed and breakfasts all over the country and enjoyed the countryside and the locals.  Outside of Paris, life in France was wonderful.  Sunflowers, lavender, wheat, mushrooms, and a very small car called a Twingo (which we named Twinga). 

Yes, there were some hiccups like getting extremely sick the last 3 days in Paris, both of us spending each and every second in the hotel hoping to feel better, and my exploits with a manual car.  I realized you can’t push a car over 100km/hr in 3rd gear.  Who knew?  It was also on this trip that I introduced my wife to camembert with fresh tomatoes on a baguette, something we still enjoy – on this past weekend for example.  Top this off with marinated mushrooms and it’s something you cannot beat for flavour.

So what does this have to do with D-day.

Well, as I mentioned our first stop was Normandy to the north-west of Paris.  It was sunny on the drive up there, however, as we settled into the region, it quickly clouded over and started to drizzle.  It was fitting weather as we experienced a piece of history that neither of us understood at that time. 

The beach and water leading up to the beach in Normandy is filled with markers and monuments reflecting the points where the allied forces landed in their attempt to remove the Nazi’s from France and put an end to World War II.  It’s an eerie site.  Then very close to the beach is a giant cemetery.  Row after row of crosses indicating where a Canadian, American or British soldier died.  There was, to the best of my knowledge, a Canadian cemetery and in that cemetery there were some grave markers with Stars of David on them reflecting where a Jewish soldier died.   As is custom, we picked up some stones and placed them on those headstones.  I believe that is done to show others that someone came to visit these people, and if I remember correctly there were more than 30, but less than 50 Jewish Canadian soldiers who died at Juno beach. 

As we were putting the final stones on the graves we noticed another couple wandering around the cemetery.  The rest of this story is a little sketchy because I do not exactly remember what happened from here – and I checked with my wife, but I remember chatting with them and finding out they were locals who upon finding out we were Canadian thanked us very much for saving their country.  That I was able to verify with my wife.  It was 10 years ago, or 57 years after the invasion.

I remember being choked up standing in the cold rain in the middle of a cemetery, with Canadian soldiers who died so far away from home and who are laid to rest in a foreign country.  They died freeing the French from Nazi rule.  We can to see Normandy, we saw the beaches where the allied forced landed and we saw the carnage that remains.  We also saw the soldiers who perished and some locals who were happy to see us.  It was quite surreal.

After that we decided to read up on D-day and to learn a little bit about Canadian history that far too often gets ignored.  Sure it seems that our military is still using equipment from 67 years ago, but not enough attention and respect are paid to our armed forces who risked their lives to assist others – both here in Canada and abroad.  It’s a thankless task.  Imagine if there was a socialist government in Canada at that time?  France would be part of Germany.

So with that, I wish to take a second this D-day to encourage each and every one of you to google either “Normandy”, “D-Day”, “Juno Beach”, “Canada in WWII” or anything relating to Canada’s presence in France and be proud to be Canadian (if you are), or proud of the fact that the Americans, Brits and Canucks came to help out.

It is with great sadness that I mark this anniversary of D-day as I recall standing in a cemetery in the middle of a cold, wet, almost empty beach proud as heck to be a Canadian!