"My favorite family memory" videos and stories

Hutoshi's story

When my son was 6 years old, he came up to me and gave me a big hug and said, “You are the most important woman in the world to me.”
I hugged him tight and said, “Oh sure, you say that to me now, but in a few years you’ll be saying it to some other woman.”
He looked up at me and said, “Can’t you be happy that today I think you are the most important woman to me?”
From the mouth of babes.
I hugged him closer and said thank you for reminding me how precious each moment is.

Leon’s story

"In Chinese culture, you always try to pay the bill. When I was very young I used to love visiting Vancouver because that’s where all of our extended family was. My mom was an only child and she had a favourite uncle and we always went out for dim sum with his family. It was amazing to watch these two people love each other so much and get along so well over the course of each lunch. Then, when the bill came, they’d become each other’s bitterest enemy. They would start by looking at each other. It was like the big draw at noon in a western movie. Then they’d tense up and my mom would start narrowing her eyes and my great uncle would narrow his eyes and they’d get ready. The poor waiter would come by and end up in the middle of it. My mom would say “don’t you give my uncle the bill!” and my great uncle would say “Don’t disrespect your elders!” and, having no choice, the waiter would just drop the bill like he was dropping a puck between them. You’d think my mom would have an advantage being much younger than her uncle, but I’ve never seen a man in his 70s move as quickly as my great uncle. He’d just snap up the bill like that. My mom would rage about it but she never won."

Vladmir’s story

I came to Canada from Russia. I was in high position is Russia and I wrote a book published in many languages. It took two years for me to get my family - my wife and three children – and we came and immigrated without English, without anything, and we established our life. For 35 years we went forward and we are very proud Canadians. I am a professional engineer now retired, my wife was a professor at U of T for 15 years. Our children who came from Russia as small children are now an architect, professor at U of T and the baby, now 41, is in finance. We are really happy and proud Canadians.

Rachel’s story

"I used to love the Scooby Doo show when I was a child. One of my happy memories of childhood is coming home from school every day and turning on the TV to watch Scooby Doo. My dad used to work early shifts so he would be home when I got home and he’d make me peanut butter and toast and get me all comfy on the couch and I’d watch my favourite show. It was the best."

Innis’s story

"My mom’s best friend had four children and when I was growing up, each of the four kids lived with mom and I at some point. They were all like siblings to me and being an only child it was something cool and different to have additional family around when one of them stayed with us. They were all much older than me and they took care of me, each having a hand in raising me at some point. When the youngest was with us, she would pick me up from school. She used to let me watch Emergency, which was my favourite show, and eat whip cream out of the can. She used to smoke and when I wanted to learn to smoke too, she taught me how to “smoke pencils” instead. I never stuck with the habit."

Elizabeth’s story

"A couple of months after my daughter turned two, my husband and I went to my office holiday party. It was the first time we’d been out in a while and we were excited about having adult time and enjoying the pomp and circumstance of company awards and a fancy dinner. Just as we were about to enjoy our delicious meal, the babysitter called to say my daughter was really sick. My husband and I threw on our coats to head home. As we were leaving, my boss asked if we couldn’t stay because it turned out that I was receiving one of the firm’s global awards for performance – an award I’d desperately wanted since I joined the company. Still, the choice was pretty easy; we headed home. By the time we arrived, my daughter’s stomach had settled, so the three of us cuddled on the couch and ate the pizza we had ordered for the sitter. It wasn’t the gourmet meal or the kind of night we’d envisioned when we’d set out for the evening, but it was lovely for our little family."

Janet's story

"I love that family stories remind us about how important our families are to us. One of my family's often repeated stories is about the time when my Dad offered to take the older three kids away for a camping weekend so that my Mom, who was eight months pregnant with my youngest brother, could rest. We were almost finished packing the car when my Mom said, "Wait. I want to come with you!" Our next door neighbour immediately proclaimed: "You don't need a gynecologist, you need a psychiatrist." We all laughed and after a little last minute rearranging, left as a family on our camping trip. The hidden message in the story: Our family loves to be together!"

L.J's story

My mother decided to make a quilt. She loved hunting through fabric stores for scraps of material to use and would come home with these treasures, bring out the bag of blocks she'd already completed and add these new pieces to the mix. She'd spend hours moving the blocks around on the floor to see what she'd got so far and how the quilt might look when it was finished.

Sadly, she died before she finished the quilt. Dad was doing some cleaning up after she'd gone and decided to donate the pieces to a group of ladies who made a quilt every year to raffle off to raise funds for the local hospital. And Dad and I both decided we'd buy a bunch of tickets and win that quilt. We didn't. But! the woman who did win the quilt heard the story of it's creation and very generously gave it to my Dad. He gave it to me for Christmas that year - the most wonderful gift.

Chris's story

“When my son was born he was immediately taken to the NICU at Sick Kids. I can remember not only my family (parents, brother and in-laws) visiting but also my dear friends all taking the time to visit, support and love us. Since then, I’d redefined “family” to include not only those you do not choose but also all of those special people you choose to be a part of your life.”

Corrie's story

"One Christmas Eve my dad piled the family into the car to go for a drive around the city to look at Christmas lights.  My brother, who was in his early teens and full of typical teen dislike for family time, had been really moody and grumpy all day. He had managed to anger and upset every member of the family, so by the time we got in the car, the mood was tense and no one was speaking, particularly to my brother.  We drove intension and complete silence for quite a while until, from the very back of the van where my brother was sitting, we heard him singing at the top of his lungs, "Nooobody knows the troubles I've seen..."  We all burst into fits of laughter that didn't stop for the rest of the drive. To this day, it is one of our favourite family stories."


Anjana's story

"My dad had a gift for telling stories. When I was a little girl he used to tell me stories before bedtime. He would always fall asleep about two thirds of the way through, so I grew up making up all the endings myself. As I got older, this gift of storytelling was given less frequently. It would always take me by surprise, in the middle of what I thought was a casual conversation, and something I said would trigger him to remember one of his wonderful stories. My usually quiet father with his few words would suddenly become transformed by his words.

I think his stories were true, but they were about a country so far away and a time so long ago that for all I know they could all have been invented. But I didn’t care. It was such a gift to hear his voice and listen to his history come to me in bits and pieces, like a puzzle I had to put together, that I would sit absolutely still, hardly daring to breathe and interrupt him. I miss his stories as much as I miss him. And I hope that I will continue to tell them to my family and friends and anyone else who will listen, because through these stories, he remains with us forever."

Jesse's story

“One summer, my older identical twin sisters took on the “selfless” task of teaching me the ins and outs of personal finance. Being an impressionable young boy, I hadn't thought to question their guiding economic philosophy in which all coins were of equal value. They said it was the number of coins that made you wealthy.  All that summer I gleefully exchanged my golden pound coins of pocket money for five of their grubby two pence pieces. At the time I was certain that this was the route to quick riches. I now know to get a second opinion whenever my sisters give me their advice.”


David's story

When I was a child, we had a big apple tree in our backyard. Every fall, my mother would make us pick the apples so she could use them in a variety of recipes. My family would spend an entire weekend peeling and chopping apples for pies, sauces and crisps. The only problem was that we lived in northern Ontario and the growing season was too short for the apples to fully mature. This, coupled with the fact that my mom did not like to use a lot of sugar in her recipes, meant that we always had an endless supply of the world’s sourest desserts. I imagine it must have been pretty amusing to see all the puckered looks on my family’s faces as we tried to eat our dessert. Looking back at it now, it strikes me that my mom was an early advocate of the “local food” movement.

Lianne's story

"This weekend, I was cleaning house while my 8 and 4 year old daughters watched television. One of the great things about having kids is that you can relive parts of your childhood with them. It’s nice to be able to say “I used to watch Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers too.” I was about to have such a bonding moment when the Mr. Rogers show came on, but my 4 year old piped up and said, “What kind of weirdo has a stoplight in his living room?!”  Oh well…"

Jo-Anne's story

"When I was 16 (then 17, then 18) my mom taught me to drive. I hated it. I found learning from her stressful and I failed my first driving test. I passed my second attempt and met mom in the parking lot. She said, "Great! See you at home!" and headed for the bus. I panicked, expecting her to drive us home. "You have your license now. You can drive yourself," she said. It was the best thing she could have done for me. Empowered, I was much more relaxed behind the wheel. If mom had driven us home, I would have stayed a nervous driver."