Well and truly lauched

Our son Mark, CEO of Wellington Financial, and his wife, Andrea Whiting, a vice-president at BMO Financial Group, hosted a lively reception at the august Toronto Club last night to to celebrate the publication of my new book about Manulife. Other family members on hand were our daughter, Alison, a professor of art history at McMaster, and her husband, Ken McLeod, a professor of music at the University of Toronto; Andrea’s parents, Donna and David Whiting, of Erin, Ontario; and, most importantly, my wife Sandy, who as the book’s dedication indicates, “Makes everything possible.”

First to arrive at the early evening event was Hal Jackman, former lieutenant-governor of Ontario. He was soon joined by sixty guests who included Madam Justice Mary Lou Benotto of the Superior Court of Ontario and her husband, Douglas Stoute, the Very Reverend Dean of Toronto; John Honderich, chair of Torstar Corp.; Ken Rotman, co-chief executive officer and managing director, Clairvest; Phil Deck, chairman and CEO of MKS Inc.; Wanda and Dick O’Hagan, who has worked for two prime ministers, Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau; my literary agent, Linda McKnight of Westwood Creative Artisists, and my publisher, Andrea Magyar, of Penguin Canada.

Also in attendance were Roy Firth, executive vice-president, Individual Wealth Management, Manulife; The Reverend Canon Andrew Sheldon of All Saints’ Kingsway and his wife, Amy Crawford; Frank Potter, a director of Canadian Tire and several other companies; lawyers Rene Sorell of McCarthy Tetrault and Neill May of Goodmans; among the journalists were Andy Willis of the Globe and Mail, BNN’s Howard Green, Noel Hulsman, editor, Report on Small Business, and Sean Pasternak of Bloomberg.

Other friends and well-wishers included Elaine Solway, President, Garden Club of Toronto; Menna and Bob Weese, vice-president, Government and External Relations, GE Canada; Catherine Nicol, Regional Affairs Director for Finance Minister Jim Flaherty; Joe Martin, Director of Canadian Business History at the Rotman School of Management, a trio of medical men, Dr. Jim Kiproff, Dr. Jim Cullen and Dr. Bruce Rowat; as well as three from various arms of RBC: Tony Soares, Julia Clubb and John Harding.

The only faux pas of the evening came from yours truly. In my brief remarks I mentioned the first book I wrote, The Moneyspinners, and how Don Matthews had hosted a similar reception in the very same location in 1963. Matthews, the developer who successfully took Prime Minister Jean Chretien to court, was also on hand last night.

After my speech was finished, several people sidled up and said, “Did you mean to say 1963?” Unlike some of life’s blunders, I was able to return to the podium and correct myself immediately. I’ve been writing books for a long time, but not that long. The first of my dozen books came out in 1983, not 1963.

1 Response

  1. Antoinette Taddeo says:

    Re Book: Fantasy in Florence,

    As an Italian-Canadian I very much enjoyed your above book about your stay in Florence. I was, however, very dismayed to read the glib, gratuitous, unfounded comment:
    “St Clare and St. Francis were PROBABLY lovers”.
    For Catholic believers who have studied the lives of these 2 saints,
    it is most disappointing that an intelligent, sensitive author would
    make such a comment.
    I refer you to Donald Spoto’s bio “Reluctant Saint”.

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