Mary takes on Toronto

In Toronto, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) held there for the first time dominated news and overshadowed the federal election slated a couple of days later.

Mary Giuliano meets UFC fighter Jason MacDonald while on a trip to Ontario.

In Toronto, UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) held there for the first time dominated news and overshadowed the federal election slated a couple of days later.

Normally, I wouldn’t pay much attention to sport news but I happened to be in Toronto on the Saturday of the event and the number of people sporting UFC bandanas and t-shirts was pretty impressive. 55,000 people attended, many of them partying in the streets.

My interest was first piqued during the flight by an intimidating man with elongated facial piercing who came to engage the guy across the aisle from where I sat.  Curious, I made inquiries and discovered the man with metal hanging from his chin was a friendly firefighter from Fort Mac and the person he was speaking with was seven times UFC winner, mixed martial artist Jason MacDonald.

Jason is married, a father of four, and runs his own gym in Red Deer while managing other fighters. I watched his televised match when he won in Toronto using a very impressive Jiu-Jitsu hold on his opponent who “tapped” out. This is a sport of courage but there are different types of courage that are just as inspiring.

Take Faustino Benitez, a young computer scientist who travelled world wide to attend conferences as part of his job with the Cuban government. On a visit here he applied for refugee status so that he could offer his wife and children a better life.  Canada is a wonderful country he said quietly, adding that we have no idea of how poor they are in Cuba. People wait for hours to receive a bag of rice every two weeks. Faustino spoke of Cuba, telling me how beautiful it is and how he will never see his mother again because he doesn’t feel comfortable returning, even for a visit. Another man that impressed me was my son, Peter. In Mt. Sinai Hospital to have a rare tumoral calcinosis removed from inside and outside his hip socket, Peter was up using a walker the first evening. The next day he walked with crutches and by the third evening insisted that he be released much to the consternation of staff, girlfriend, mother and sister who felt it was too early.

His doctor, Oleg Safir, said this condition is so rare it was documented and photographed. The benign mass of calcium deposits had jagged edges that cut into surrounding tissues, causing Peter great pain for the past year. Removal gave him instant relief. My wonderful Toronto cousins made the trip memorable by surprising me with a birthday dinner and cake and also took Pina and I to a service at St. Catherine of Sienna church. The congregation was celebrating a special mass dedicated to St. Catherine by having numerous flags carried by people dressed in colourful native costumes. Afterwards a procession was held with the bishop, clergy and men in special dress carrying the statue of St. Catherine. An Italian band dressed in period finery followed and right behind were hundreds of people spilling onto the street. This was reminiscent of my childhood and something I hadn’t experienced since leaving Italy. It’s astonishing to witness a scene and hear music that transports one back in time. All of this and the people I met made the trip truly special.

Just Posted

Elk Valley mines boost overall Teck production

Fording River, Elkview achieve record fourth quarter; Fording, Greenhills have bumper year

B.C. Interior free from measles

Vancouver measles outbreak hasn’t spread to the B.C. Interior

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Local DJ to take stage at Fernie Stoke Fest

Jenn Johnson - aka Jenn Frost - confirmed as closing act at Fernie Stoke Fest on April 9

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Kootenay man dies in crash near Sparwood

Accident occurred last night east of Sparwood, RCMP appealing for witnesses

POLL: Are Wildlife Detection Systems in the Elk Valley working?

In 2016, the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) installed two wildlife… Continue reading

Fernie Ghostriders face defeat during away weekend

Fans encouraged to wear white for first playoffs game at Fernie Memorial Arena, February 26

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Most Read