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In Honour of Dave

I traveled a gray concrete arm clad in green sleeves, from the hamlet of Bond Head, down to the city of Toronto on Thursday afternoon.

Along the way I parked my car and met Susan, who drove us the rest of the way down to Church Street, where we were meeting friends at the Cafe California.

Driving as a passenger, I tried to absorb as much as I could of the increasingly concentrated life of the city. We flowed like corpuscles down an artery; blood pooling into nerve endings. Sensory stimulation overwhelmed with every glance and inhalation of air.

A tall black woman in casual clothing walked the hot pavement with the grace of a gazelle--a Masai princess in t-shirt and denim; around her every tribe and colour in the world seemed represented on the crowded streets.

In the depths of a parking garage we tried to talk sense to a stoically impervious ticket machine. I resisted the urge to kick it as our generous margin of time was squandered on its adherence to strict rules that we could not understand but eventually deciphered, watched by a "helpful" man, who cheerfully told us that because we didn't want to wait three more minutes until 4.00 p.m., our high priced ticket would need to be renewed at 6.00 p.m.. We paid anyway, not wanting to disappoint our waiting friends by being late. The triumph of finally wrestling a ticket from the machine made us ridiculously happy! :)

As we emerged into light and life from the concrete stairway, our senses were overwhelmed and called to by the street vendors' wares--the tang of mustard and hot dogs and the alluring fragrance of french fries.

We found our friends Dave and Joe, who were treating Susan, myself, and two other friends; Rose and Dunja; to appetizers and tea, before a ceremony in a beautiful building that used to house the National Ballet School. Dave was to be one of three recipients that night of the Surrey Place Centre, June Callwood Award, for 2013.

The other two winners of the award that night were Robert Pio Hajjar, a motivational speaker and self advocate with Down syndrome, and Mary Pat Armstrong, who won the award for volunteerism and philanthropy. 

Dave won the prestigious award for his lifetime of education and advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities. 

The new CEO of Surrey Place Centre, Steven A. Finlay, honoured Dave's work, and said that his was "one of the early voices advocating for rights for people with disabilities, including the right to sexuality."

In his acceptance speech; which had to be three minutes or less; Dave spoke of his memories of having lived in a building that overlooked the old National Ballet School; the venue for these awards; and how he and Joe had looked down one night on the young dancers that burst out onto the roof and danced beneath the open sky, with passion, purpose and joy!

To those of us in the audience he said, "Let's dance the rest of our careers with passion, purpose and joy."
Star struck and not ashamed to admit it! :)


I was so happy that you and Susan were able to come, it made the whole thing really special! Thanks.
Belinda said…
It was a night to remember! Such an honour to be there and to celebrate all that you mean to the work we do. The impact you have had cannot be measured Dave.
Susan said…
It WAS an evening to remember.

I'm having a little trouble finding my dancing shoes. But I'm ready to jump in on Monday morning with reckless abandon and just dance in my bare feet! :)

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