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In Praise of Tenderness Not Towers

Posted On 4/11/2017 By Admin

Our city's towering condo creations are a testament to developers’ belief in progress, change and high-density living.

19th-century farmhouse funeral home isn’t half as sexy as a shiny new skyscraper. Yet I believe I’m more of a neighbour and contributor to the New Toronto Lakeshore area than all these new towers combined, which is exactly what I told the developers when they came calling a few months ago.

I was told another local funeral home (our competitor) had already sold their Lakeshore property so why not me too? I was invited to imagine what it would be like to see a sky-high tower built across from Humber College. To imagine the sense of pride and progress knowing I had helped wipe out the final remnants of a family farm almost as old Canada.

By signing on the dotted line, our funeral home could become a plot (a tombstone!) signifying the end of an era and the dawn of a revitalized Lakeshore. And yes, the developers offered millions.

What the developers didn’t factor into their presentation was my belief that there’s a lot more to life than money and progress. I see the reality of that truth every day when I come to work and wander into rooms filled with kind-hearted people laughing and crying as they share stories about the people they love.

A funeral home is literally a place where life and death intersect.

There are few places left for expressions of public tenderness. Few places where we can gather as family, friends and neighbours to cry, laugh and story-tell.

In this age of speed and progress, places that bring people together – live and in person – are priceless. 
A funeral home like ours has deep roots for a reason. We’re a part of the community, a member of the neighbourhood and we’re committed to our role as a gathering place.

The developers call me a different kind of dreamer, the old-fashioned kind. I believe in tenderness not towers.