drawn back home

black and white of man wearing cowboy hat and leather coat; head shot with glasses

40 years ago in the pediatric unit at RVH, a mother gave birth to a four-month premature baby boy. Suffering from heart and lung issues, they weren’t sure he would make it…but he is here today to tell his story.

Meet Mark. He is partially blind in both eyes, suffers from chronic pain, has terrible scars on his arms from an accident, and is on disability for the rest of his life. Mark was forced from his home at age 16 because his parents went bankrupt. He had no choice but to move to Oshawa to live with extended family.

Finally, after many years, he was able to return to Barrie and rents a room. We met him on the street downtown while he was walking to the Salvation Army to get a meal; it’s close to month’s end and his disability money has nearly run out.

Despite his circumstances, Mark has a very positive outlook, is quite educated and well spoken. Perhaps, very well read.

When asked, What do you love most about Barrie and what drew you back after all these years? he replied, “There are many things I love about Barrie but the ones that come to mind most are the fresh, clean air, the safe streets and the quality of conversations with the people you meet.”

– Mark, Van Helsing, Jim Morrison, free man, survivor