remember me

March 31, 2021

I’m familiar with almost every memorial tree, bench and park in the Annex, and a fair few beyond our borders. Anyone who walks with me regularly knows that reading the commemorative plaques is a bit of an obsession. How do you distill a person into a sentence or two, capture their spirit in a stanza, their life’s legacy in a rhyming couplet? “Jay Macpherson enriched our world,” says a commemorative plaque for the poet in a parkette at the corner of Dupont and Avenue Road. “And mountains for David were made to see over,” are the words written on David William Priddle’s commemorative bench on Willcocks Street. “In loving memory of Barbara Ann Ward, from her devoted husband of 57 years.” “Michael J. Walker read here.” Some of my favourites are in the Philosopher’s Walk. Gordon Bruce Cummings “walked this path in happiness.” Pablo Neruda’s Soneto de la Noche appears with a dedication from his family. Leo Zakuta, “much loved professor and tennis player. Iconoclast. Gentleman.” I think it’s a beautiful tradition, and a lovely way for a person to live on. These people are on my daily walks, and I feel I know them. “You were the sunshine of our lives, and always will be,” reads Samya Maiko Al-Kholani’s bench beside Robarts Library. Very often, it’s the simplest ones that move me the most. “Daddy.”

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