Ten years later, once again, she was admitted to St. Michael’s Hospital, this time with a mystery illness. She stayed there for two months before they diagnosed her with a rare disease called POEMS. Shortly after that, she was transferred once a day, five days a week, for three weeks straight, from St. Michael’s to Princess Margaret Hospital for radiation treatment. Once the medical team was able to control the disease, ma was then moved to Bridgepoint Health, a rehabilitation hospital, to learn how to walk again. She was a permanent resident at Bridgepoint for six months, for a total of nine months of uninterrupted hospital time.
When they sent her home in 2003, ma was outfitted with new leg braces and, most importantly, hope. She thought she was going to die.
And she would have died if she hadn’t been in Canada. Or she would have had to sell her home, her belongings, everything my parents have worked for 40 years for since immigrating here from Hong Kong. Our health care system may not be perfect. Certainly it has its flaws. But you’ll never hear me shitting on a fundamental Canadian right that bailed out my mother multiple times and gave her back to me – so that she can keep nagging me, pushing me, loving me, and teaching me to appreciate what it is that we have here.”
– Elaine Lui, blogger, CTV host and author of Listen to the Squawking Chicken: When Mother Knows Best, What’s a Daughter to Do? A Memoir (Sort Of)
51. Our compassion
“On Canada Day I reflect on the immense compassion our country represents before the world. It extends from the stewardship of our natural riches to the respect we have for the people we live and work with. Compassion fosters our fundamentals of diversity and education that exist from east to west, providing the oxygen of immense economic opportunity. As a Canadian entrepreneur I have devoted myself to maximizing resources, founding Lululemon in 1998 and opening our first store in Vancouver. Our success as a company is a testament to Canada, a country that benefits from a global culture of driven and innovative citizens. I start every day now with a hike up the Grouse Grind, and I marvel at a country where I can clear my head in the clouds in the morning and minutes later be working in a world-class city. It is no wonder I knew Canada was a place where I could begin a life-long adventure of business, charity and environmentalism.” – Chip Wilson, founder, Lululemon Athletica
52. You can make it here. And still care about your employees John Sleeman, founder and chairman of Sleeman Breweries, turns 61 on July 2.
Your birthday is the day after Canada Day. How will you mark it?
I’ll have a beer and celebrate. I generally turn it into a nice, long weekend. One time I didn’t take my birthday off and came to work, and people sang Happy Birthday to me. I was so embarrassed. So now I just take it off and hope nobody notices.
What makes Canada special to you?
I’m a high-school drop-out. This is a country where people are given a chance. We don’t have a class structure like so many other countries in the world. If you are willing to work hard, this country welcomes you.
There is this feeling sometimes that to be successful you need to leave Canada, but more and more we are nurturing people and getting our entrepreneurs to stay. It is a country of opportunity.
Are there particular places you find inspirational?
We have a country place on the way up to Owen Sound, in Ontario’s Beaver Valley area. We chose it for all kinds of reasons. We wanted to be in farm country. We wanted to put on a pair of wellies and plaid shirt and just be in the country. It is very grounding for our kids. We are in a log house. We are not in a place with a $5-million kitchen Do Canadians have a different attitude towards business?
Canadians tend to have a softer approach. We still make tough decisions, but because we have traditionally been closer to the centre, and we don’t have the political schism between the right and the left, we tend to care a little bit more about our employees.
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