by Sean Hurley
Ian and Joan Dewar-Adair are a familiar sight in Crown Point, walking their two, very large white dogs around the neighbourhood of Cannon and Kensington. Both dogs, Lochaber, a Great Pyrenees, and Fiona, an Abruzzenhund, are rescue dogs. It’s not enough for the couple to rescue dogs, though. They also rescue some Christmas joy for sick kids.
Joan told me by email that she and Ian arrived in Crown Point ten years ago and will be celebrating their 20-year anniversary in 2019. They met when she was a singer, classically trained, and he was already retired. “We moved into Crown Point,” she told me, “as it is near the Scotiabank at Centre Mall where I was working at the time.” When Joan retired they decided to stay because “it is near to downtown and all the places we normally go, including beautiful parks. The people around us are very good neighbours so we have decided to stay here.”
The couple did the usual things retired people do. They enjoyed hobbies, volunteered, and engaged their interests. However, a family crisis added a new mission to their lives. “Many years ago, a hospital out West was instrumental in saving our grandson’s life,” Joan explained. “Since we cannot pay back we have chosen to pay forward by raising monies for McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation. Each year we hold a Burns Day Dinner at the Hamilton Club where I am a member, with the proceeds going to the Foundation.”
As for Santa and Mrs. Claus, here’s Joan to tell that story:
“It all started when a man from Toronto called on us to ask if Ian would play Santa for him as Ian has a real beard. It was for the Sick Kids in Toronto and without thinking twice, I spoke up and said we would do it.
What neither of us knew was that CBC, CTV, CP24 and a whole group of radio stations were going to be there filming and interviewing him. He really was rather upset that he hadn’t been better prepared.
It wasn’t until a little three-year-old Shirley Temple look-alike came screaming across the room calling ‘Santa! Santa! Santa!’ and threw her arms around his legs that he fully understood the importance to the children of what he was doing. At that point we were hooked.”
The pair now go as Santa and Mrs. Claus to McMaster Children’s Hospital and the Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre each Christmas “to see and spend time with the children. We read to them and sing songs with them. Parents and staff enjoy an interactive Twelve Days Of Christmas as much as the children as evidenced by the number of phone cameras clicking away.”
According to Joan, “We also did the Easter Bunny and helper for McMaster this year, and we do a Halloween witch and warlock as well as various Dickensian characters. Along with these I do the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland.”
Joan said the couple are available to do both corporate and private functions with the proceeds going to McMaster and they can be reached at 289-339-7242.
“The main reward we have from doing all of this is the joy on the faces of both children and adults, and the knowledge of the continued belief the children have in the magic of Santa and Christmas.”
A special request: Ian and Joan are helping to raise money for McMaster Children’s Hospital Foundation through The Inside Ride: “The Inside Ride, presented by the Coast to Coast Against Cancer Foundation is Canada’s first indoor cycling challenge and fundraising event dedicated to raising money in support of children with cancer and their families.” To sponsor their team, go to www.hamilton.theinsideride.com, click on the “Donate” button and paste in The Uptight Prig and The Artsy Fartsy
where it says “SEARCH FOR THE PARTICIPANT OR TEAM YOU ARE SUPPORTING”.
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