John Boyd, the oldest known Veteran in Canada, received his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine today – from another Veteran.
A physician at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre, and a Veteran himself, Dr. David Shergold administered the vaccine.
Upon preparing John for vaccination, Dr. Shergold said: “We’re fortnight [two weeks] away from your 108th birthday.”
“No way!” responded John, a resident at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre.
“Thank you for fighting this battle, this COVID-19 battle,” said Dr. Shergold.
“It’s an honour,” responded John. “This is not my first pandemic,” referring to having lived through the Spanish flu from 1918 to 1920.
“All of us on the team caring for Mr. Boyd are honoured to be a part of this special moment,” says Dr. Shergold, who served as a Naval Officer in submarines during the Cold War in the 1980s. “These jabs are our torpedoes!”
Born in Edmonton to Ukrainian immigrants, John has devoted his life to making Canada a better place. He grew up fighting against poverty, and during the depression, he took part in left-wing youth movements. Over the years, some of his many accomplishments include:
- Editor of a communist newspaper, the Young Worker.
- Manager of a co-op creamery.
- Editor of the newspaper, the Canadian Tribune.
- Elected a school trustee with the Toronto Board of Education.
- Joined the Army base in Kingston with the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals and the Communications and Electronics Branch “because it was important to do my part and to fight fascism and the Nazis”. He worked as editor of the Armed Forces magazine, The Signalman.
- After the war, editor of another Communist Party publication called The Daily Tribune.
- Wrote extensively and travelled widely.
- In Prague, Czechoslovakia, as editor of an international journal, he discovered his love of painting and began to study art.
- Back in Canada, he won awards as an editor of Hospital Administration magazine.
- He worked tirelessly in support of the co-operative housing projects by the St. Lawrence Market, and spent 25 years, until his late nineties, as a Woodsworth Housing Co-op activist.
- An early feminist very much ahead of his time.
- Married for 52 years. He and his wife Gladys had three children.
- An accomplished painter, he created numerous paintings in oil, and later discovered his real love for watercolour His work has been featured in several art shows over the years.John has lived at the Sunnybrook Veterans Centre for almost five years. He turns 108 on January 26, 2021.
Source: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre article, published 12 Jan 21: