Loyal and True by Mark Koning
Loyal and True
“There’s no place like home; there’s no place like home; there’s no place like home.”
We all know about Dororthy and her famous chant from the land of Oz in the hope of returning to her home in Kansas, but let me tell you, I myself am chanting it lately and it is for a different place entirely; a place found within the boundaries of York Region. I also think I may just be a little taken with this building and its purpose……… because it is rather charming and elegant in its manner.
The Loyal True Blue and Orange Home has been caring for and supporting the needs of children since 1921 in Richmond Hill Ontario. Set on a beautiful eleven acres of lanscaped property, this magnificent structure was originally used as an orphanage but transitioned to a child care centre in the 1980’s. The dedication to children, the community, programs and services, still remains. Smiles linger the hallways plastered on both the little faces that receive care and the staff that give it.
This remarkable framework of construction is set back from the busy Yonge Street and somewhat shaded by a few largely beautiful surrounding trees. One might not notice it when passing by; but because of its social and emotional basis, remaining on the subtle side may have been done by design. I myself did not think much of it when I first drove to this address, but as I completed my turn into the driveway and took stock of where I was, I was a bit awe-struck at the rather grand building laid out before me.
I was there to drop my mom off at one of the rear picnic shelters for a bbq lunch put together by the Brain Injury Association of York Region. There were quite a few other individuals on site that suffered from the same disability as my mom, and like her, all of them held smiles on their faces and looked forward to the festivities being put on that afternoon.
So this building is not only used as a child care centre, serving a meaningful and worthy purpose in its own right, it is also home to meetings and support groups for people inflicted and trying to cope with brain injury.
History is a wonderful thing in a variety of ways. It educates us, helps put our lives in perspective by allowing us to visit a part of life that was somewhat different than our current styles, it gives us fond memories of people and places, and it tells a story. Another remarkable aspect of history, and in this case it is true, is to see how a building, someone’s belief, and a valued tradition, can grow and expand over eighty years and continue to touch lives. The wording of Loyal True Blue and Orange suddenly bring about a warm feeling. No wonder everyone is smiling… because there really is no place like home.