Today I started my 11th full season at the Shaw Festival Theatre in beautiful, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario.  It would be an understatement to say this brings about a small measure of introspection.  Of course, there is the inevitable reflection on how I ended up here in the first place and on the decision to give up acting for a life on the other side of the bright lights. 
There were many sound reasons for becoming a stagehand; the opportunity to develop a new skillset, the chance to work more regularly but more honestly, it was the ability to show a stable income and therefore, to be able to buy a home.

NOTL is where I got married, having moved here with Leigh when she got a job at the Shaw.  We met at the Upper Canada playhouse in Morrisburg while I was acting in Norm Fosters, The Foursome. We got engaged at the site of the Battle of the Windmill from the war of 1812. Now, here we were in Niagara, home to Fort George, Queenston Heights and many other battles from that same war. Brock, Laura Secord and Techumseh all became Canadian historical figures because of their actions here. It was from here, on the heels of the Americans burning of Newark (now NOTL) that Canadians went to Washington and torched the Whitehouse.

In other life changing battles, this is also the place where I reached what I recall as the lowest points in my life, from an emotional point anyway.  This is where my marriage fell apart after only six years, this is where I felt trapped by homeownership and this is where I was when word came for me to race home for my Fathers final moments. I arrived too late.  
I have been able to come to peace with all of these things, partially because all my life both Mom and Dad taught me the very Canadian trait of never giving up. We never gave up in the war of 1812 despite overwhelming odds.  Nor did we give up in places like Vimy, Passchendaele, Flanders or The Somme.  
In martial arts a particular sensei would instill in us a particular mindset; we would repeat, two or three times a class, “If I persist, I can succeed.”  I took that to heart and would love that each class ended with saying, “If I persist, I can succeed. I will persist. I will succeed.”  
I have persisted and out of the most troubling times in my life came the woman who has shown me a love that I never imagined was possible, who gives me direction and every day makes me want to be a better person.  My Dad would have loved April.  He believed strongly that among other things, we should always try and leave everyone we meet, a better person.
I ask you, “How Canadian is that? “ 
 


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03/10/2017 12:39am

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