lives livedYou both agreed with Ontario Place builder Jim Ramsay otherwise you obtained out of his method February 15, 2023
James Walter Ramsay: Soldier. Bureaucrat. Theme park creator. Partisan. Born July 21, 1931, in Victoria; died Nov. 30, 2022, in Toronto; of Alzheimer’s; aged 91.
The primary time I met my brother I used to be 12.
One Sunday he got here to my boarding faculty in Port Hope and drove me in his impossibly luxurious automotive to Toronto the place we had roast beef lunch on the impossibly luxurious King Edward Resort, then drove me again to tiny cloistered Port Hope.
I used to be his half-brother. We shared a father however had completely different moms. He’d left dwelling by the point I used to be born. The truth is, he left our home in Edmonton on the age of 17, one yr earlier than he was legally allowed to battle within the Korean Conflict.
Jim could be summed up in a single phrase: He was a warrior. He seen life as a battle between those that agreed with him and people who didn’t. You knew precisely the place he stood on the whole lot, all the time – from the rise of left-wing values to the autumn of the work ethic. Making an attempt to alter his thoughts was futile, in fact, which is why I tended to restrict our interactions to 2 or 3 times a yr over lunch. We didn’t have conversations, actually. He would bark at me (his typical talking mode) and make pronouncements and I might say “Proper” or “Actually?” I’m positive he was like this with everybody. He was clear, he was fixed and also you’d higher get out of his method.
However for all of his readability, he was additionally a mythological creature. When he was finding out economics at New York College he was one in all Robert Moses’s drivers. Mr. Moses, the person who lined New York with highways, didn’t have a driver’s license. Jim should have heard loads in that automotive that served him properly when the time got here to plan the Ontario Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal and 4 years later, Ontario Place.
These have been the 2 nice jewels of his ambition and life. I marvel at what number of competing wills he needed to bend his solution to get these marvelous theme parks constructed. I typically questioned how such a person might have helped convey the lyric “Ontari-ari-ario” into the provincial psyche or construct locations that have been so uplifting, optimistic and enjoyable. However he did, inspiring a permanent loyalty among the many lots of of hosts at Expo 67 and Ontario Place who signed on to observe Jim.
The truth is, the Expo 67 gang hosted him at their fiftieth reunion in 2017 simply as Alzheimer’s was altering him. So he match neatly into that common archetype: the powerful man with a coronary heart of gold.
In his household life, he was a fierce protector of his brood: his spouse, Bridie (who died in 2020 after their 57 years of marriage), his son Allan and daughter Siobhan. When his grandkids Connor and Caelan arrived 19 and 16 years in the past, his gruff exterior melted and he turned a puddle, as so many grandparents do within the presence of their progeny.
Jim was old school that method, too, dividing his life into two components, work and household. I can’t recall a single time when one crossed over into the opposite, besides maybe when his household stood by his aspect when he greeted Queen Elizabeth with Premier John Robarts on the opening of Ontario Place in 1971.
Jim lived many full and massive years. His remaining ones have been no enjoyable in any respect.
He was moved to the Sunnybrook Veteran’s Wing dementia unit someday earlier than the COVID-19 lockdowns in March, 2020. In his early time there, Siobhan and Allan and I might do Facetime calls with him. However they obtained shorter and shorter till they stopped altogether.
Dementia took away his powers, his senses, and eventually his life. Close to the top he couldn’t discuss or eat. He didn’t linger.
As a result of as a warrior, he knew when to retreat.
Bob Ramsay is Jim’s brother.
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