Simon says…

(July 14, 2020)

Simon says…

It’s not always easy to ask for help.
I’ve never been very good at it to tell the truth. As a kid, I’d always rather muddle through on my own, hope for the best, and then be smugly pleased with myself if, against all odds, things worked out alright in the end. Maybe it was misplaced pride, childish male arrogance, or perhaps some weird post-immigration British upper lip thing but asking for help always made me feel like I was lacking something as a person. So, 9 times out of 10, I’d try to tough it out.

Needless to say, things didn’t always pan out and there were consequences … a really bad Grade 12 calculus grade, a knee injury that almost ended my competitive running career, and an attempted body-job on my Mother’s car after a fender bender that I was convinced she would never notice. She did …
Fortunately, several decades later my perspective has changed.
It’s OK to ask for help. It can be humbling sometimes, but that’s OK too, and sometimes people really want to provide that help, they want to reach out, and that “reaching out” can be the basis of a real sense of community.

As a not-for-profit we reach out all the time, to private donors, to government agencies, and to business sponsors. Over the next little while we’re going to shine a light on some of those sponsors. Some have been with us for many years, some are brand new, some, because of their own difficulties in these troubled times have had to reduce their sponsorship, and some have been able to stay the course, but without their support we would not have survived.

So, when you see us feature these folks on this page, don’t just pass them buy, give it a read, follow a link or two, and get to know some of the people who’ve decided to give back to their community.

Because, you see, we reached out, we asked for help, and they gave it…


(June 30, 2020)

Simon says …

In the spring of 1968, my life changed. I stepped off the “Empress of England” in the port of old Montreal and I learned a whole lot of things in a very short period of time.

I learned that cars could be the size of a small country, that people said, “you’re welcome” when you said, “thank you”, and that hockey was very, very important.

I learned that hockey was played on ice, that it was a game that contained a certain amount of violence, and that the Montreal Canadiens were the best hockey team in the world, ever, without exception, bar none … I learned about BBQ’s, peanut butter, and maple syrup.

I also learned that 10 year old boys didn’t go to school wearing knee socks and flannel shorts, that apparently I spoke “funny”, that I was something called a “limey”, and that at lunch recess “limeys” ate their lunches on their own.

Not every lesson I learned was an easy one, and in the beginning it sometimes seemed that the only way to fit in was to deny completely the person I was before.

But eventually I learned some perspective, that most of the changes in me would be imperceptible, gradual, and virtually painless, that there would always be people in this country who were “newer” than me and that they deserved my generosity, and that the Montreal Canadiens were not in fact the greatest hockey team in the world, and that that title (in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary) rightfully belonged to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

When I was 12 we went home to England for a visit with family in the old country. It was great, it was familiar, people drove on the right side of the road, and football (soccer) reigned supreme. But then something strange happened. I opened my mouth to say “hello” to my grandparents, and I could tell by the look in their eyes that I now spoke “funny” on that side of the Atlantic. And that was when I realised that England wasn’t home for me anymore after all. In two short years my home had become Canada. It still is.

I still talk funny on occasion, I’m still waiting for the Toronto Maple Leafs to prove their worldwide supremacy, and I still worry about the reception that some newcomers receive when they come to this country, but I am and always will be proud to be a Canadian.

Happy Canada Day everyone!

(June 19, 2020)
Simon says...
Well, I haven’t been a new father for quite a long time now. My daughter has long since progressed from letting her needs be known by crying and screaming (mostly). Nowadays communication seems to consist of a lot of “eye rolling” and an occasional plea that her mother and I stop finding ways of embarrassing her … But there is a member of our team here at the theatre, Production Manager Tony Sclafani, who is a new Dad, and I thought a few words from him might be a good reminder of what early fatherhood is all about …
“After seven years I’m a new father all over again. Benjamin Floyd Sclafani joined the world in the middle of this little pandemic we are dealing with. If anyone has ever said, “parenting is like riding a bike, you do it once you never forget”, they were wrong. Fibbers I tell you, parenting a second child is nothing like parenting the first. No two babies are alike, even in the same household. Gabriel, our first born. He was and is an incredibly sweet child, a mild mannered curious little boy. I can honestly say that first time around, all of our parenting choices worked. Now, becoming a dad to Benji has been a totally different story. Number two, this sweet second son of mine, is of a different temperament altogether. When Benji was born, I thought I had this in the bag. “I’ve done it before I can do this father thing again with ease.” HA! Nonsense! I tried using all the classic moves that worked with Gabe, and I get nothing from this kid. He can’t be in my arms, he needs to be with his mom almost 100% of the time, which, by the way isn’t easy on my wife…she needs a break too once in a while. Benji does not give breaks! So far, the only thing that I have been able to accomplish as a father with Benji is give him a good burping after a hearty meal on the bosom. Yup, Tony the “Burper”, that’s me, and if “Burper” is my title, then I will do it to the very best of my ability … and I hope that at least my many hours of whispering “dada” in his ear will get him to utter his first word and acknowledge who I really am.”
Happy Father’s Day to all!