Day 316 - Colin

Day 316 - Colin (2nd person I approached)
November 12, 2014 - The first person I approached today didn’t even want to hear what I had to say.

“I’m not interested,” he said, waving me off. I always make sure to give an extra warm ‘thank you and have a nice day’ in those rare instances. Somehow, I think we both for feel better for it.


Colin was extremely pleasant and engaging from the get go. Having the same name helped with our instant bonding as well! Born in Willowdale, a suburb of Toronto, Ontario, he is the youngest of three children.

“I have two older brothers. I kind of sat back and watched them fight. I was more of a quiet observer. I learned from some of the mistakes they made, and saw the outcomes. I managed to avoid some of those same mistakes myself,” he said. Colin was the first to apply and get accepted to art school, the first to get married.

“It wasn’t a competition, but I was fairly independent.”


“I got into an arts program, similar to a mini-school setting, but in my high-school. I did that for grades nine and ten, and then I dropped out of the program. I knew there were high expectations, I had seen the class ahead of me, the bar was set high. I didn’t want to have to go through that,” he said. In grade ten, Colin, a Toronto Blue Jays (baseball) fan, took it upon himself to write a letter to the Blue Jays organization.

“I wanted to work there. I thought maybe selling programs or something like that. They responded to my letter and I ended up getting a job as a ball boy. I had a uniform and everything,” he told me. His small circle of friends knew, but it wasn’t widely known that for two years, Colin was working for the team.

“I remember one morning after a game, there was a picture in the newspaper from the night before showing a home run. I could see my face in the background of the picture. No one at school mentioned seeing the newspaper.”


He went to Queen's University, in Kingston, Ontario, right after high-school, to study liberal arts.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” he said.

“It was my first time living away from home. There was lots of fun and partying and meeting girls. It was great.” On the first summer break from university, he travelled to Europe with his cousin. They travelled to a few different countries, including Greece, in the month they were there.

“I shifted my studies to a major in sociology. I really liked that. I had thought about going into marketing and I think that somewhere between art and sociology, is marketing,” he said. Colin graduated after four years at Queen's University with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology.


Taking time off after university, Colin traveled to Europe again, this time meeting some friends who were already there.

“I went to Turkey, Italy and Greece that time. Greece is an incredible place to visit,” he said. Colin returned home to Willowdale and considered moving to New York. After realizing how hard it was to get a visa and how expensive it was to live there, he reconsidered. 


“I decided that I should start to build my life in Canada. I thought about Toronto, and decided no. There was only place left, Vancouver. Looking back knowing what I know now, Ottawa might have been good. But Vancouver is just beautiful, so I moved here. I had a couple of friends from school that were living here, and they made some introductions. I got my first marketing type job working for the Canucks (Vancouver hockey team)." Colin met his future wife while working there.

“She was interning at the time in hospitality. We both left after two years. It was a really great place to work, and the job was intense. It’s definitely the kind of work that you give your everything to,” he said.


Over the next few years, Colin worked in a number of different organizations and industries, including technology, insurance and film.

“I spent a year working in the film industry, because it was something I wanted to try,” he told me.

“I was doing a lot of consulting work. I had an accident and broke my hip. I was off work for six weeks with that. There was a large event that I had been working on for my employer at the time. I went back, on crutches, to ensure the event happened and that everything went well. They let me go shortly afterwards,” he said.

“It was a difficult year. My best friend had died in Thailand, and I also found out that my mother had cancer. I continued working contracts and took three trips back to Willowdale to spend time with my mother, before she died.”


Colin got married, and took a seven week honeymoon trip in Europe, seeing several countries with his new wife. He wanted to focus on starting a family, and gaining more stability to make that happen. He is now the Director of Marketing for a successful non-profit organization.

“The ideals, priorities and goals of (the non-profit) really are aligned with my personal beliefs. I thoroughly enjoy the work I’m involved in,” he said.


“We have two daughters, aged twelve and ten. We have some pretty in-depth serious conversations about science. They’re intelligent and interested in all kinds of different things. We had a conversation the other day about the difference between the speed of sound compared to the speed of light. They completely understood what I was talking about,” he said. Colin and his wife have been married for fifteen years. 


“It’s different in our house with two daughters compared to when I was growing up with two brothers” he said.

“Sometimes my house can be very emotional.” #notastranger