Day 15 - How is Christmas like for a Homeless Person?

In November 2012, I moved into the St. Lawrence Market area of downtown Toronto, a short ten-minute walk to my office in the financial district. My 5-minute walk to the nearest PATH underground walkway entrance in the freezing cold each morning led me to step over more than one homeless person each day.  I had not made friends in the neighborhood very quickly and I was happy to engage in conversation with my other neighbors, the homeless people of St. Lawrence Market. 

Every morning as I walked by, I thought about what it would be like to be woken up by a ruthless security guard, booting me out of a warm bed on top of a heating vent, half asleep. I would hate it. I couldn’t even tolerate my sister or parents disturbing my slumber! I started wishing them a “Good morning” in a loving voice with hopes of being the first one to wake them up every morning.

One of my new neighbors stood out, his friends called him Snowflake.  He turned out to be one of the neighbors I was waking up every morning.  Days went by and we grew closer and closer.  He told me about his upbringing, about his hopes for the future, about his family and how he wasn’t allowed to go home for Christmas.  He shared his plans for the future with me, how much he wanted to meet a girl who would marry him and be his wife.  In that same sentence he confessed, “But who would want to marry a homeless man?”.  

I couldn’t find him on Christmas or Boxing Day, he was not at his usual spot.  It turned out that he ended up getting arrested on Christmas Eve for drinking on a Greyhound bus and was put into jail for a few days.

He told me Christmas in jail was actually better than Christmas on the street. Can you imagine?

Rosemary Horwood, Associate Investment Advisor at Richardson GMP 


Precious memories are worth celebrating. Let us not forget those with Alzheimer's or other dementias who suffer from a loss of memory. For more information, visit the Alzheimer Society of Toronto.

Have you ever gave rather than receive in Christmas? Let us know by commenting below!

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