Over the last two years or so, Heritage Toronto has been organizing guided tours in what is known as Little Manila.
Mel Tobias (1939-2017), a world wanderer, was a man of many parts with many friends who loved him. He was always looking for “a place where his spirit can run free.” He found “his corner of the sky” in Vancouver, British Columbia. He became the quintessential Vancouverite – learning, earning, yearning and living for life. He made every minute of his life count.
In Canada, the tradition of getting together with loved ones over a large feast to express gratitude for a happy event and other blessings goes back many years. It began long before the Pilgrims arrived in the United States and started a similar celebration there. But it was only in 1957 when the second Monday in October was proclaimed a statutory holiday for Canadian Thanksgiving.
It was the autumn of 2015. It all started with coffee, lots of it, and many weeks of it, at my favourite Vancouver coffee shop in Olympic Village, with my journalist friend who didn’t stop the pitch until I gave in. My friend, who wishes to be anonymous, kept talking about ‘Filipinos should have a better presence in Canadian media”. That’s true.
It's December again and most of us begin the shopping trek for Christmas presents for family and friends. But others have been working on presents all year long for people they don't even know - couples in crisis, children who can't afford to go to school, families with no decent housing or medical care. For these 'others', Christmas calls, and they respond, every day.
It's not often that a non-profit society finds itself in this dilemna: owning a number of real estate assets, in Vancouver BC no less, in the tight real estate market of the 2000's, with an opportunity to turn these underutilized and aging properties into more productive assets, but whose stewards - the board of directors - may be risk averse.