The kitchen clock counts time – the seconds, minutes and hours of our lives – and the calendar marks the days, weeks and months as they pass. But life is so much more than just the accumulation of time. It's also an ever-increasing collection of personal moments: some joyous, some mundane, some painful and some entirely unforgettable.
In tribute to the power of all of those mini-epiphanies that make time stand still – if only for a moment – we asked a few of our favourite Canadians to share their best 2011 moments with us.
Lean on me
"It wasn't my first federal election night broadcast, or being in London for William and Kate’s wedding. It was being by my best friend's side at her mother's funeral. We've been friends since Grade 1 and though the years have taken us miles apart and down different roads, we've kept the faith in our friendship. Her mom was a simple person whose acts of kindness and generosity left a mark on many. That I could be there to say farewell and to help ease her daughter's grief was an honour."
– Dawna Friesen, anchor, "Global National"
"I work extra hard throughout the year to carve out special family time at the cottage with my husband, our kids, and our extended families. The simple pleasures of taking 'rock walks' on our island while holding hands with one of our daughters, or watching them gain confidence jumping off the diving board, are the moments I will most certainly treasure as memories when the kids are no longer so small."
– Sarah Richardson, host of HGTV's "Sarah's House," "Design Inc." and "Sarah 101"
No place like home
"The best moment of the year? Actually living in my home! Two years ago the 'west-end arsonist' in Toronto chose to torch my house and I was out for more than a year while it was being rebuilt. This has been my first year back. To be home and have it finished and beautiful, and to be able to entertain and to garden, has been amazing! As Dorothy said: 'There's no place like home.'"
– Rex Harrington, artist-in-residence, The National Ballet of Canada
All kinds of capable
"I wrote a book this year, which at times I very much doubted I could do. Similarly, getting fit again; the satisfaction of knowing that at 54 I can recover that feeling of being physically capable was a journey. And watching my children start to come into their own as adults."
– Arlene Dickinson, entrepreneur, marketing maven and judge on CBC's "Dragon's Den"
Page 1 of 3 -- Discover what fashion expert Jeanne Beker and acclaimed author Ami McKay are most thankful for on page 2.
Witness to history
"I can't think of much that would compare with covering the royal wedding for CTV. That was a fantasy come true, especially because I got to go to London a few weeks in advance and had an exclusive interview with Philip Treacy, who designed some of those fabulous hats that the royal wedding party wore, including Princess Bea's outrageous hat. Then to be there, reporting live from a rooftop overlooking Westminster Abbey on that incredible day in history – I will never forget it."
– Jeanne Beker, host of CTV's "Fashion Television"
A baby's breath
"My family was blessed by the birth of my third daughter. The combination of responsibility, fear, appreciation and blessing all blend into one miraculous moment when your baby takes its first breath."
– Roger Mooking, chef and host of Food Network's "Everyday Exotic" and "Heat Seekers"
A bit of a better place
"Mid-January, I opened my email to find a letter from Cpl. J. Young, a Canadian Forces soldier serving in Afghanistan. She'd just read my novel The Birth House. Here's part of what she wrote: 'The past few days, we've had an increase of rocket attacks so I've been stuck in my bunker for 48 hours. I wanted you to know how much I enjoyed your book. Thank you for making this soldier's tent a little bit of a better place.' I never imagined my words would travel to a military base half a world away."
– Ami McKay, author, whose latest novel is The Virgin Cure
A tearful exchange
"When I placed the bag of food in the old woman's hands, she looked at me, tears in her eyes. 'My grandchildren are starving,' she whispered. 'Thank you.' The famine in Somalia had already taken two of her grandchildren and forced her family to walk for 28 days in search of food. What I had brought to the Kenyan/Somali border was simple: rice, flour, oil, sugar and porridge, but it was enough to feed 14,000 people."
– Amanda Lindhout, founder and executive director of The Global Enrichment Foundation (Lindhout spent 15 months as a captive in Somalia from 2008 to 2009.)
Page 2 of 3 -- Read about Olympian Hayley Wickenheiser and financial guru Gail Vaz-Oxlade's favourite moments from 2011.
A for effort, A+ for heart
"Reading my [nine-year-old] son Ayden's last report card. It was probably the best he's ever had. He did extra tutoring to get his marks up and he surpassed his goal. He worked really hard – and even gave up karate [to do the tutoring]."
– Dale MacKay, inaugural winner of "Top Chef Canada" and executive chef and owner of Ensemble in Vancouver
The end of an era
Kortney: "We changed our last diaper. We officially have three children who are potty trained. That's a pretty big highlight for us."
Dave: "No more diapers!"
– Dave and Kortney Wilson, country music duo, stars of "Meet The Wilsons" and hosts of "Kortney and Dave: By Request" on CMT Canada
Back to school
"Finishing up my final exams at university after a 10-year hiatus. Going back to school and playing varsity hockey was a big adjustment coming off an Olympic year. The feelings of surviving exams and getting through my first full year were good ones!"
– Hayley Wickenheiser, four-time Olympic medallist in women's hockey and now a kinesiology student at the University of Calgary
"I have a fabulous life and I'm very grateful. But one moment stands out. After months of medical tests – everything from EEGs to brain MRIs to liver ultrasounds – and weeks of getting practically no sleep, my son found out he does not have the genetic disorder he might have had. It was like a hippo had been lifted off my chest."
– Gail Vaz-Oxlade, financial expert, host of "Til Debt Do Us Part" and author of Debt-Free Foreve
What's your favourite moment from 2011? Share it with us in the comment section below.
|This story was originally titled "My Favourite Moment ..." in the December 2011 issue.
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