Jasmin from South Korea was born deaf and legally blind. In the confusion of nationalities and adoptions, Kathryn began telling classmates she was from India. Learn about adoption, how to adopt a child, and get services and support to help you and the child you are adopting throughout the adoption process. She fell in love with every kid who turned up on her doorstep, and she couldn’t bear the thought of putting them back on a plane to an orphanage. Eaton’s had opened its Georgian Room in 1924, and Simpson’s was desirous of luring diners and shoppers away from its competitor. We deal with public adoption, private adoption, international adoption and relative adoption. The story of the family who couldn’t stop adopting, By Some kids learned sign language to speak with her; others used finger spelling or wrote notes. Sandra built her life and work around the belief that a loving Canadian home, with loving parents, could be transformative. The Simpson kids I spoke with, however, seemed to have no interest in exploring those complexities. The one-hour program was heard across Canada on the CBC. This book will be released on June 1, 2016. When that didn’t work, she connected with an Australian nurse in Vietnam named Rosemary Taylor, a kindred spirit who had spent years battering the Vietnamese bureaucracy with pleas to allow orphans to be sent abroad. Kids couldn’t bring guests of the opposite sex past the first floor. She drinks her hot cocoa. Sandra threw her off the diving board. This was a pity, as the history of the Arcadian Court included many events that were important in the lives of Torontonians. What happened on Russell Hill Road is not just the story of an extraordinary woman, but of a radical experiment in child rearing. The colour scheme of the Arcadian Court was muted shades of silver and violet, with a hint of blue. Did he have parents? For more information about the topics explored on this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/02/tayloronhistory-comcheck-it-out/. Toronto murder mystery: “The Reluctant Virgin”, Edwar Keenan's article on Toronto Islands, Edward Keenan's article on the Toronto Islands, King-Spadina Heritage Conservation District, Lillian Massey Domestic Sciences Building, Salvation Army at Albert and James Street, Toronto's Board of Trade Building (demolished). In the decades since Sandra brought international adoption to Canada through sheer force of will, our thinking around the practice has changed radically. it was co-founded with William Trent as Simpson & Trent Groceries, Boots, Shoes and Dry Goods.A fire destroyed the store in 1870, and a new dry goods store was opened two years later in Toronto. When war began in Bangladesh, Sandra travelled to Dhaka to help arrange adoptions for orphaned children. Some of them had flourished, others had struggled, but it was impossible to imagine life any other way. Large arched windows on the west side created panoramic views of Bay Street, the newly-constructed Canada Life Building, and the western skyline. All rights reserved. In 1967, the first auction ever held outside Great Britain by Sotheby’s was held in it. Toronto Public Library, 0002614. That’s when the Gundy family stepped in. The Arcadian Court was created to compete for the lunch crowd with the Royal York Hotel, as well with Simpson’s retail main rival—Eaton’s. After multiple operations, he not only learned to walk but became a strong swimmer. Throughout it all, Sandra remained at the centre of everything. When Charles learned of the Simpsons’ predicament, he made an extraordinary offer: come to Toronto, move into the empty house, stay as long as you want. A self-isolating family in Ontario has just recreated the entire opening sequence of the popular show The Simpsons. Included in the new building was a two-storey restaurant, on the eighth and ninth floors. Season: 16Episode: 12-----Follow us! Over the course of 20 years in the big house on Russell Hill Road, they played on soccer teams and got into fistfights, snuck around with boyfriends and delivered newspapers. God has lead our hearts to adoption over the past year. “We just seemed to get that rap, no matter where we were.”. An additional Surrender Fee might also be required for costs incurred by Rescue. The remaining kids, most in their early 20s, moved back to Toronto. But she was also conscious of how her kids would be perceived and anxious to protect them. International adoption was and remains controversial. Directed by Mike B. Anderson, Matthew Nastuk. He too joined the Simpsons. They saved their big extravagances for holidays. Neighbours sometimes bring over groceries, but she keeps her distance. Were there 28 kids? “He was a great father, always there for everybody,” says Kathryn, the youngest biological Simpson kid. Between the adopted and the biological kids, there was no hint of preferential treatment—every child was equal in the Simpson house. The attentive service and quiet atmosphere was appealing to diners who were older, but also attracted businessmen seeking a quiet spot to discuss transactions or become more acquainted with clients. They embodied a particular strain of mid-century Canadian liberalism—a belief that the complications and inconveniences of race could simply be discarded and replaced with a new collective identity. We support and encourage people along their adoption journey, connecting them to the families and resources they need. In 2020, the notion of a White woman adopting dozens of racialized children from around the world would draw criticism for different reasons than it did in 1970: much has been written about the politics of transracial international adoption, about the psychological effects of growing up a different race than your adoptive parents. As the Khmer Rouge advanced in Cambodia, FFC took over part of the crumbling government’s child welfare program. And so, that autumn, they moved in. Through lots of research and investigation, we felt that Lifeline Children’s Services was a great fit for our famliy. Instead the family made more room, stretched Lloyd’s salary a little further, and signed forms to make those children Simpsons. After a few months, she finally went to the doctor, who took one look at her and told her right there in the room that it was throat cancer. Shortly after they were married, the couple adopted four kids who had been through Canadian foster homes—Michael, David, Samantha and John. “And she said, ‘Well, if nobody wants him, we’re going to have him.’ ” Sash arrived at Pearson in the winter of 1979, in the middle of a blizzard. All year, one room of the house remained off-limits to everyone except Sandra, who would meet donors or friends there when a formal setting was required. Sandra would be left with the preschoolers, who toddled around as she spent the day cajoling Canadian donors, changing diapers and cooking enormous cauldrons of soup for the kids to eat when they came home for lunch. They experienced joy as well as tragedy—troubles with the law, illness and disability. In the next months, over reluctant texts and emails, Sandra shared snippets of her life. Sandra, too, believed that the best option for most orphaned children was to be raised in their home countries, but sometimes that simply wasn’t possible, especially for kids who were older or mixed-race, or had disabilities. They brought him to the FFC orphanage in Podanur. Each child was assigned to either the dinner crew or the breakfast crew. “I was just over the moon that the lady who owned the orphanage wanted me,” he says. She saw him out of the corner of her eye and stepped out of the way at the last moment. Three women, two Indian and one White, were sitting there and began talking to him. © 2021. Here’s a little something to brighten up your day. On a trip to the orphanage in India, she chatted with a visiting Princess Anne, as comfortable next to royalty as she was playing with the kids. They arrived in Forest Hill in 1978 like an asteroid, crashing into a wealthy white neighbourhood that had never seen so many Brown faces before, let alone enough Brown faces to field both sides of a baseball game, and all under one roof. Another mouth to feed would hardly bankrupt them; Sandra could always make a larger pot of pasta, cram another kid into the house, get more wear out of the hand-me-down clothes. But when the kids returned to their lives in Toronto, Sandra and Lloyd stayed behind. For Sandra and Lloyd, the costs of caring for so many children added up. The Simpson’s venue was also one of the city’s favourite places for dining and dancing on New Year’s Eve. Her response was also emotional. Sash Simpson’s earliest memories are of wandering the streets of Chennai, India, at age four, utterly alone. Sotheby’s first art auction held outside Great Britain, on October 27, 1969, in the Arcadian Court. More adopted children arrived quickly after Mai. (Kate was eventually placed on the autism spectrum.) She took all the children out of school in May, never mind their teachers’ objections, and only reluctantly brought them back on Labour Day. It is interesting to note that when the Arcadian reopened, the original chandeliers were missing. “It wasn’t a question of want,” she wrote back. And so the family kept growing. When Jasmin’s care became too much for them to manage, they sent her to Sandra’s neighbours in the hopes that they’d pass her to the Simpsons for adoption. However, the Arcadian Court was different as it more luxurious than the Georgian Room. “There was no one to look for.”. Around the age of eight, Simpson had a … The women running FFC were also criticized as White saviours—bleeding-heart liberals who practised what the academic Tarah Brookfield calls an ideology of “maternal internationalism.” According to Brookfield, these women believed that the best thing for poor waifs suffering overseas was to be welcomed into the homes of well-meaning Canadians. The mezzanine level (9th-floor section) was surrounded by ornate wrought iron railing, and originally was reserved exclusively for men. Tim, the child from Cambodia who doctors thought would never walk, got a job as a lifeguard at a wading pool and lives in an assisted-living home. This administrative assistant makes $63,000 a year. Instead of being “the place where Toronto does lunch,” it is now a private event space, highly sought for wedding receptions, gala dinners, and corporate functions. It reopened in 2012 under the management of Oliver and Bonacini. But Canada’s immigration laws made adopting a child from overseas nearly impossible. Roberto was the one who picked it up. And you’re gonna wanna check it out. Sandra visited the orphanage a few times a year, and whenever she came he would beeline to her side and clutch her skirt, saying, “Mummy, mummy, Canada, Canada.” By the time he was seven or eight, in 1978, Sash’s chances for adoption were waning. The Simpsons Open Adoption. Every afternoon like clockwork, he’d walk home from his TTC stop on St. Clair, a kid or two often meeting him along the way to enjoy a few quiet minutes with their dad. The Gundys lived in a massive home on Russell Hill Road and owned several other properties on the same block. Melanie and Kesooni opened a diner. At one point, neighbours called the local city councillor to complain that the Simpsons were running some kind of illegal group home. All clothes were shared. Adoption Fees. The Arcadian Court in the Bay Store at Queen and Yonge still exists, but it is no longer open on a daily basis to the general public. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 125 archival photographs and relates interesting anecdotes about these grand old theatres and their fascinating history. They’d been told he had learning disabilities, the result of chromosomal damage, but they were unprepared for how much help he needed. When he arrived in their home in Pointe-Claire—a tiny kid in a poncho and sombrero—he didn’t speak a word of English. The last item to be moved was Kathryn’s mattress, destined for a downtown apartment. The operation became a glaring symbol of some of the thorny issues around international adoptions. As the Vietnam War spilled into Cambodia, Sandra and Lloyd adopted Damienne, an 18-month-old girl who had survived tuberculosis. The siblings filled countless garbage bags, hauling out clothes from every era, a lifetime of report cards and school projects, hairbrushes and fridge magnets, the accumulated detritus of so many lives. The woman in charge was Sandra Simpson, a tall blonde Anglophone from Montreal’s West Island. Catch up on favourites including Modern Family, Murphy Brown and more. At 83, Sandra is still the head of FFC and still wakes up well before sunrise to correspond with the orphanages in India and Bangladesh, using her iPad to send countless messages to the staff there, who call her “Mummy” and relay what the children ate last night, what cash donations have come in and how they’re being spent. The music partially obscured the clinking of china and and the tinkle of silverware, as well as the quiet conversations within the cavernous room. It’s an adorable take on the famous TV show, that is … Simpson, now 48, says one day he came home from school and was told he was going to Canada and being adopted by Sandra. The family’s sheer size seemed to them a bulwark against the worst tragedy; they believed they were big enough and strong enough to handle anything. Tim was a preternaturally cheerful kid from Cambodia whose mother had been exposed to Agent Orange. “I don’t know anything about my background in Vietnam,” Mai says. They chafed against Sandra’s strict rules. Through FFC, an Ontario family had adopted Kate, a five-year-old girl from Bangladesh thought to have an intellectual disability. “Did you always want a big family?” I asked. To Sandra, that was unconscionable. “We were all orphans,” she says. In the 1970s and ’80s, the house was filled with dozens of children, from tiny preschoolers to gangly teenagers. “Fine!” she answered, characteristically curt. Emmanuel, or “Manu,” from India had been adopted as a toddler by a Canadian family. Without him, none of it would have been possible.”. David was Black and Samantha was mixed-race, and the adoptions raised eyebrows among Sandra’s neighbours in Pointe-Claire. It remained designated in this manner until around the year 1960. She asked Sandra if she could give Kate back, and so the Simpsons adopted her. Their local school, Brown, had only ever had a handful of students who weren’t White, and now suddenly there were whole classrooms filled with Simpson kids from every continent on earth. It required as many as 500 worker to support the operation of the 8000-foot dining space on the main floor and the 6000 feet of the mezzanine. She wrote to every official she could think of, asking them how she could adopt a Vietnamese child. Reproduction in whole or in part strictly prohibited. Sash worked his way through Toronto kitchens, eventually becoming the executive chef at North 44 for 24 years. Toronto Archives, F1569, Fl 0005, Item 0001. The methods Sandra used to adopt Mai—refusing to take no for an answer, badgering functionaries in high places, invoking her authority as a mother—came to be her modus operandi. After decades of being at the centre of a maelstrom of kids, she is now living completely alone. That first year, just a few days out of the orphanage, he had never experienced Christmas before. Sandra had always wanted to adopt, and with Lloyd she found a willing partner. Robert Simpson's original store (Simpson & Bogart after 1861), was opened in 1858 in Newmarket, Ontario at what is now 226-228 Main Street South (original building since demolished). In some cases, Sandra lost control over the kids. The house at 45 Russell Hill Road, just south of St. Clair Avenue, is tucked behind a short stone wall and a copse of birches. The election of the Parti Québécois had created an anxious atmosphere for Anglophones like the Simpsons. “You would write a list, give it to my mom, and she would honour three-quarters of it,” Sash says. The Simpsons Phil Hartman provided voices for several regular characters including Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure. These incidents were devastating for the children involved, and Sandra, who had often arranged the adoptions, felt compelled to step in. “I don’t know how my mother did it,” says Melanie. After-school playdates outside the neighbourhood weren’t permitted—the logistics were just impossible—but friends were welcome to come back to the Simpson house, and they often did. “Sandra and Lloyd have been my parents since day one, so why should I go back and look?” The fact that so many of them came from orphanages, Kesooni says, made the idea of searching for lost parents or buried histories beside the point. The kids there told him that the person who ran the place was a White woman they called “Mummy,” and the luckiest children would end up in Canada. From the outside, it looked like any other Forest Hill mansion. In the evenings, he’d drink a Labatt 50 and watch a Leafs game or Lloyd Robertson on the news. In the mornings, the breakfast kids would get into the kitchen and begin cooking—pancakes on the enormous griddle served with “maple syrup” (made by boiling down water and brown sugar), or the family’s signature scrambled egg on toast. Charles Gundy and his wife, Antoinette, were Toronto aristocracy, friends of finance ministers and a governor general. The daughter of the king of Bulgaria lived in the neighbourhood. “The rule was: if you fit it, you got to wear it,” says Melanie. Adoption is a radical, intensely personal response to distant suffering. There are 4 ways to adopt a child in Ontario. They are usually up for adoption because: It aimed to attract more well-to-do patrons, often referred to as the carriage trade. Toronto Life is a registered trademark of Toronto Life Publishing Company Limited. While Sandra could be an intimidating presence, Lloyd was relaxed, his attempts at discipline inevitably provoking laughter from the children. “We were like, ‘Wait, we already have enough kids,’ ” Kesooni remembers. With years of experience helping clients design and protect their own legacy, ask us how we can help you with the following: Charitable Giving & Strategic Philanthropy There were only eight or so left, and the house seemed too large. “There were so many kids.”. As the Simpsons try to console her, Lisa plots with them to get the baby back. When I visited him this winter, it was in the plush dining room of his eponymous new restaurant in Rosedale, where you could order Labatt—a tribute to his dad. Between 1994 and 2009, Mel’s Montreal Delicatessen stood on the corner of Howland and Bloor in the Annex, and many of their siblings, including Manu, Kate and Jasmin, helped out at the restaurant. It was a warm afternoon, and we spaced out across the yard, careful to maintain our distance. He would never learn to read or write, but had a prodigious memory. The Adoption Council of Ontario. That marriage ended, and in 1967, Sandra remarried, this time to Lloyd Simpson, who came from the same tight-knit West Island community. It's a wonderful time to be in Toronto. He restored them, sold them to a Manhattan company, and they were placed in the firm’s lobby. Now 83, Sandra lives in a rambling home in Pointe-Claire, an Anglophone suburb of Montreal. Once, in the kitchen, he took a knife from the butcher block and ran at Sandra. Phillippe refused to sleep in a crib, so Melanie gave up her bed and slept in a little fort she made in the closet. She was fearless and meddlesome, scornful of authorities who dragged their feet when children’s lives were on the line. But the truth was that the Simpsons were broke. “Grande agua.” Then he stepped off the edge in his clothes, sinking to the bottom before his siblings could dive in to fish him out. A few years later, the family moved back to their hometown of Pointe-Claire, raising five children in unremarkable comfort. The very idea that having 30 adopted siblings was worthy of serious introspection was, to many of them, nonsensical. The Adoption Council of Ontario is a not-for-profit providing outreach, support and education to all adoptees, adoptive parents, potential adoptive parents, birth families, and adoption professional s in Ontario. The Arcadian Court in 2012, shortly before it closed to the public. Sandra didn’t care for Toronto, but she was nothing if not pragmatic. Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s former movie theatres will be released in June, 2016. If someone tried to sneak home after dark, they’d find the doors locked—the only way in would be to wake Sandra. For many years, I visited it the week prior to Christmas to partake of its special yuletide buffet. As the years passed and older teens moved out, still more new kids kept arriving. How does she spend it during the pandemic? It was said that when it opened, it was the largest restaurant in the world that was located within a retail store. Lloyd died of lung cancer in 2017, and her trips back to Toronto had become even less frequent. Other siblings left home in less traumatic ways. Jasmin got bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. To believe in the power of adoption is to believe that the most profound way to help someone isn’t through large-scale structural change or foreign policy, but by opening up something as intimate as the family unit—by committing to love a kid you’ve never met. Hey you! They weren’t looking for their identity. Thirty-two? The chandeliers were of Sabino glass, manufactured in France by the the famous glassmaker, Rene Lalique. “But I didn’t really care what people thought.” In the midst of this flurry of adoptions, Sandra gave birth to a daughter, Melanie. Sandra convinced a social worker friend to come over and mollify her. When the Toronto Star published an item about Sandra’s work, readers were appalled. If this submission was flaired inaccurately, click here. After the Arcadian Court opened, it was immediately successful, and this continued even during the Great Depression. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses. “The neighbourhood hated us,” says Kesooni. That summer, the family drove down to Pointe-Claire like they did every year. Liberace once performed on a grand piano in the Arcadian Court, to an enthralled audience. There they’d find a decorated tree and a wall of gifts, at least three presents for every kid. However, because many of the clientele were older, attendance slowly declined, which contributed to the restaurant no longer being a public dining place. Charles was the chairman of Wood Gundy, the investment bank co-founded by his father, James H. Gundy, in 1905. It is likely that it was a private banquet being held in the venue. Sandra pushed the limits of adoption so far that her motivations still seem alien, even to her own children. Canada is the second largest country in the world and located north of the United States of America. Most of all, Sandra was worried about what would happen to the kids. For the child, it could mean life or death. Now, 40 years later, the Simpson kids have grown into chefs, business owners, athletes, hospitality workers and parents with kids of their own. “It’s a stupid question,” said Kate, bluntly. The Simpsons were likely Canada’s largest family, though kids came and went with such frequency that no one could pin down their exact numbers. The Arcadian Court was renovated four times since it opened in 1929. A few years later, when Antoinette Gundy died, her family decided to sell it. But the big news is that Harry Shearer will not be a part of the cast. Mai, the family historian, leapt in to correct one of Kate’s stories. On Christmas Eve in 1969, eight-month-old Mai arrived in Montreal, one of the first Vietnamese orphans allowed into Canada. Pre-1968 photo of the Arcadian Court, before the original chandeliers were sold. It was impossible for anyone to say with any certainty. If Sandra had passed down one trait to her children, it was a distinctly unsentimental view of their family life. The city's animal service made the husky puppy adoption Toronto announcement on social media yesterday. “She was so funny, and too smart,” says Sandra. Adopt a Toronto Zoo animal today and help protect wildlife and wild spaces. In the days when the Arcadian Court was open to the public, upon entering the reception area, people were greeted by the sound of a grand piano playing the favourite songs of yesteryear. They knew exactly who they were. He adored Sandra, enjoyed the huge chaotic life she had built for them, and loved the kids who crowded every corner of their house. If the kid was still there a few days later, it meant he probably had a new child. Another publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. She made the family’s bread, often baking nine loaves a night, and sewed many of their clothes. He didn’t remember. They were Simpsons. In 1929, the first radio broadcast of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra was held under its high ceiling. The locals were alarmed by the Simpsons’ arrival. She’d been adopted by a family in Montreal who knew about the Simpsons’ reputation for taking in kids. The word everyone uses to describe her is “sharp.” She’s a sharp thinker with a sharp sense of humour who doesn’t hesitate to let you know how she feels. When the lockdown began, she was in court, suing the provincial and federal government’s student loan programs for discrimination against people with disabilities. PO Box 30010 RPO Boxgrove, Markham, Ontario, L6B 0R5 | 416-482-0021 | TOLL free 1-877-236-7820 With so many kids coming through the house, Lloyd would bide his time before introducing himself to a new face at the dinner table. Along with two other Montreal mothers, she formed an organization, Families For Children, or FFC, to help prospective parents navigate foreign bureaucracies. By 3 a.m., everyone was delirious and exhausted. Most devastatingly, adoptions often broke down. The Arcadian Court in The Bay in 2011, photo taken from the mezzanine level by the author. New language laws meant that many Simpson children, some of whom had learning disabilities or were just learning English, would be forced to attend French schools across the city. A childless couple, seeking the one baby who would complete them, could get overwhelmed by a kid who required extra care. His first memory of the family is of wandering into their backyard and marvelling at the pool. 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