Reader Letters

I am the mayor of Wawa, Ont., mentioned in Ken Lee’s article, “What’s good for the goose,” in the summer 2021 issue of Renaissance.

My wife, Lina, and I, both retired teachers, enjoyed reading Ken’s story and hope to share the article with more people who have a Wawa connection.

-Ron Rody (District 3 Algoma)

I have just finished reading “The song of the sea” [summer 2021] and loved hearing about the couple’s wonderful adventure.

They have written a beautiful story that makes me feel as if I am on the boat with them. The memories these two will have are unique, and I can’t help but think that they may find life on land a little boring! On the other hand, I am quite certain that they will experience new things that are memorable.

—Joanne Murphy (District 33 Chatham-Kent)

In a time when we, as Canadian citizens, are dealing with COVID-19 and its ramifications and, as I write this, the deaths of four Canadians killed in a terrorist attack in London, Ont., the summer 2021 issue of Renaissance couldn’t have come out at a better time.

I loved the cover line “We are Canadian.” At 69 years old, I could connect to all the different activities shown on the cover. The maple leaf backdrop reminded me of when I picked up coloured maple leaves in the fall with my late aunty Mary Dexter at her cottage near Awenda Provincial Park in Ontario. I used the maple leaves in a project with my students. They wrote letters to Canadian soldiers who were stationed in Afghanistan. We waxed the gold and red maple leaves using an iron and waxed paper so they wouldn’t break. My students and I got a written response from the commander of the soldiers who received the letters and leaves. It was a special moment to read the letter in our school’s morning message to the children. I was never prouder of them as their teacher or as a Canadian to receive such a special letter. I am crying as I share that moment with you that I will never forget. This is what being a Canadian citizen is all about.

-William M. Krochak (District 14 Niagara)

I wanted to let you know how much pleasure it gave me to read “Friends for life” in summer 2021 Renaissance.

My friend Margaret Wilson (née Todd), now age 93, lives in Leeds, England. Margaret, who was my Grade 7 teacher, came to North York, Ont., from Scotland on a two-year teacher exchange. I loved her accent and her different background and approaches to teaching. Partway through her stay, she met another expat, an Englishman, at some social club. They married in Toronto on Valentine’s Day in 1959; with no family in Canada, Margaret invited her entire class to attend the wedding. I cannot tell you how thrilled I was. When Margaret and Ron left for England, she gave us all her address and urged us to write letters. We have been writing real letters to each other for 52 years, and I consider her my dearest and wisest friend. I have visited her twice in Leeds and hosted one of her granddaughters when she was exploring Canada. Margaret inspired me to become a teacher and, in too many ways to list, deeply enriched my life.

-Nora Jones (District 34 York Region)

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the summer 2021 issue, which I believe is one of your best!

The humorous and inclusive illustrations of the talented Tom Froese, starting with the one on the cover, were refreshing. I hope to see more of his work in future publications.

-Wendy Hooker (District 24 Scarborough and East York)

Congratulations on the excellent summer 2021 issue.

So many articles related to my life. “Could you pass the Canadian citizenship test?” was of particular interest to me. When my father applied for Canadian citizenship for my mother, my two brothers and me in 1960, there were no such tests. I have a copy of his petition for citizenship, which cost $7. Later, on Sept. 6, 1960, he received a receipt for $20 for citizenship for all of us. I vaguely remember going to the courthouse in Sudbury, Ont., where the clerk of the court, E.D. Wilkins, swore my parents in. That’s all it took. We were now citizens of this magnificent country — no flags, no ceremony and no recognition, except for the citizenship certificate in my father’s hand.

-Erna de Burger Fex (District 4, Sudbury, Manitoulin)

Your article “The song of the sea” in the summer 2021 issue was a real revelation.

It takes a very strong sense of adventure and a lot of daring to undertake such an unpredictable trip. I try to imagine how someone could spend so many days being tossed about by the waves. But as the writer said, “The trip was much better than we expected.” So all’s well that ends well.

-Juliette Champagne (District 44 Région du ciel bleu)

How encouraging to read Marta Searle Gill’s first-person piece on travelling Canada from coast to coast to coast [summer 2021].

At almost 60, as a “retired, widowed grandma,” she started to travel. Engaged and motivated, she is still experiencing travel adventures in her 80s. Age is just a number. Marta is an inspiration to us all!

-Gail M. Murray (District 23 North York)


We asked Pauline Duquette-Newman, Josiah Gordon and Brooke Smith to tell us how they would describe their personal prime time.

Pauline Duquette-Newman

“Learning Italian is my passion. I love how the language sounds, how many words are so similar to French ones and, of course, all of the associated art, culture, food and wine! My prime time? Eating pasta and drinking a glass of Chianti on the terrace of Il Restoro di Lamole at Greve in Chianti, outside Florence, while chatting with friends in Italian.”

-Renaissance writer

Josiah Gordon

“My life is a daily balancing act between the stresses of having a young family (three kids under 11), paying a mortgage and juggling a satisfying but demanding career. My prime time is finding peace in the middle of it all, moments of joy and happiness with my wife and kids in the chaos — like kayaking on Georgian Bay or snowboarding in Collingwood, Ont.”

—Renaissance art director

Brooke Smith

“When I was much younger, prime time meant two half-hour sitcoms back to back: Happy Days then Laverne & Shirley on Tuesday nights. Now prime time means sitting up in bed with my book — which really translates to ‘read a few pages and then lights out!’”

—Renaissance writer

We want to hear from you!

We welcome your feedback, so please send your letters to [email protected]. Letters may be edited for length and clarity at the discretion of the editor.

Covid note from editor :

As we go to press, the pandemic is still impacting day-to-day life in many ways. As you know, we plan and produce Renaissance months before it lands in your mailbox or inbox, so some stories and images might not align with current COVID-19 best practices or restrictions (our travel feature, for example). If we still can’t travel this fall, consider our winery tours story your getaway until we can.

Stay safe,
Stefanie Martin
Editor – in – Chief