WARMINGTON: 111-year-old Toronto woman dies in COVID-19 epidemic


WARMINGTON: 111-year-old Toronto woman dies in COVID-19 epidemic

At 111, nothing could have killed Foon Hay Lum.

She survived two world wars, the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Great Depression, the Chinese Cultural Revolution, the Great Chinese Famine, the Spanish Flu, SARS, MERS and H1N1.

She lived long enough to become what was believed to be the oldest person in Toronto and one of over 110 people in Canada. She received congratulatory messages from Prime Minister Stephen Harper on her 100th birthday and from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on her 110th birthday.

“She was such a strong person,” said her grandson, Helen Lee, on Sunday. “She would have reached 112 for sure. “

Otherwise for COVID-19.

Ultimately, it was the coronavirus from his native China that ended his amazing life on Friday.

Foon, who adopted Canada as a residence in the 1960s, was one of the 26 residents of the Mon Sheong Homes seniors’ residence on D’Arcy Street – in the area of ​​Dundas St.-Spadina Avenue – died during the pandemic. .

“Living such a long life and having all the experience and wisdom that goes with it is amazing, but it’s just as sad when one of these lives – one of the longest in our country – ends in circumstances that we are experiencing with COVID-19, “said Mayor John Tory.

“I hope that the incredible long life of Foon Hay Lum and his sad end will inspire us to see how we can do better in his honor and in the honor of all the elders who died during this global pandemic.”

Lee described his grandmother as a “remarkable person” who lived in his own house until the age of 107 “and who was independent and had no social assistance until recently.”

Her life is the story of a classic Toronto immigrant.

Born in 1908 during the Qing dynasty, Foon was married at the age of 18, but financial difficulties forced her husband, Jack Lum, to travel to Canada to support her wife and children.

It took him 30 years before he could join him in Toronto – where they finally settled on Cowan Ave. She lived there after the death of her husband in 1971 and maintained her garden there until four years ago.

In the Chinese Canadian community, she was legendary in her struggle to convince the Canadian government to apologize for imposing an head tax on thousands of Chinese immigrants, including her husband.

“Four generations sat in the House of Commons to hear the apologies (from Prime Minister Harper),” said Lee, moved.

Her former head of the city council and former NDP MP Olivia Chow called her efforts an icon of this campaign.

“During the 23-year tax collection campaign in China, Foon Hay Lum never gave up his hope of seeing justice one day,” said Chow. “It was inspiring to see her in Ottawa in 2006 with flying colors when the community finally won.

“To honor his legacy, let us take his fighting spirit and enshrine national standards for long-term care in the Canada Health Act so that all seniors can live in dignity,” added Chow.

Meanwhile, this house ravaged by COVID-19 did not come out of the woods.

“To date, 50 residents have tested positive,” said a statement from Mon Sheong. “The number of employees tested remains at 16.”

Mon Sheong told authorities that she needs additional nurses and personal support staff to ease the workload at the long-term care center, where 400 residents live.

Vivian Ip’s 102-year-old grandmother Chi Nui So – who came to Canada from China 40 years ago – is one of the residents who tries to keep out of the virus.

Vivian Ip (left) and her husband, Jalyn Young, visit her 102-year-old grandmother, Chi Nui So, at the Mon Sheong long-term care home. Then looked at the two from his second floor window. (Ernest Doroszuk, Toronto Sun)

“We are quite worried, but she is quite tough. It’s hanging there, “said IP.

She noted a lack of resources in the center, adding that the staffing committee has decreased by 20% from normal levels, as many have been found to be positive.

Perhaps military personnel who have assisted in long-term care facilities can put My Sheong on their list. If there ever was an establishment that needed help, this is it.


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