Profile of Marg Borthwick

Growing up in Wayne Gretsky’s hometown was almost a given that my dad also would create a backyard skating rink! My dad being a very talented figure skater wanted to share his love of skating with my younger brother and me. Instead, I found myself being drawn to the warmth of our home with a good book. Throughout my life, curiosity prompted me. I was just ten years old when I took an interest in politics and listened to John Diefenbaker who arrived in our home town campaigning by rail. I loved participating in mock United Nations Assemblies and became quite intrigued by World Affairs.

My working career with Ports Canada took me to places like Churchill, a hub for grain exportation and other goods arriving by train and then loaded unto barges and sent on to other Northern communities. The richness of living in a small community of 1200 people really had an impact on me as witnessed the closeness and warmth that the local people shared with each other and how eagerly I was welcomed into their space. Curling, travelling by Kometick while wary of the elusive polar bear and watching for beluga whales became a part of my life.

After a dozen years in Edmonton I was given an opportunity to work in Richmond and needless to say, I moved without hesitation! With frigid temperatures left behind I embraced the mild weather, even the rain was fine. The North Shore became a haven for me as I explored the lovely hiking trails and ventured further afield to enjoy learning the names of the wild flowers in Manning Park. The sheer physical exercise felt so great.

Once semi retirement became a reality for me, I decided I would like to volunteer and get involved with my community. Van Dussen Gardens was an ideal fit as it encouraged my love for nature. Being an avid reader I also wanted to help others with reading so I joined an organization fostering kid’s literacy and received such joy in teaching others the magic of reading.

It was in the fall of 2016 that I was drawn to Jewish Seniors Alliance and I became even more aware of the importance of building stronger communities. I sensed that J.S.A. was an organization who shared this goal. I participated in the Senior Peer Counselling training program and instinctively knew this is where I wanted to be. Through listening to seniors grappling with the challenges in their lives, I have gained a much richer understanding of how our lives can change without notice. Their sharing has not only deepened my own awareness of the impact of setbacks and unsettling circumstances but given me a much greater appreciation for the possibility of resilience.