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Eileen Shimmon Memorial Award

The Eileen Shimmon Memorial Award has been established in honour of Miss Kelsey's late grandmother, who passed away on May 8, 2024 at the age of 80. ​


A message from Miss Kelsey:


​My grandma was unlike anyone else I have ever met. To know her was to love her. You couldn't help it. She was the kind of person who changed the energy in a room; a person whose presence made you better simply by being near her. She had a unique ability to make everyone who she encountered feel special and seen. Whether you were her close friend or a veritable stranger, she welcomed you in like family, cracking jokes and sharing stories in her infectious Scottish accent. She loved fiercely and with abandon, always reminding us that life was too short to hold back. This is one of many lessons I learned from my grandma.


​Although she was far too humble to recognize it, my grandma touched and changed the lives of hundreds of children. From working as a preschool teacher when she first came to Canada at the young age of 18, to operating a home daycare for the majority of her adult life, she dedicated herself to helping raise the next generation to be kind, independent, and loving individuals - just like she was. Well into her retirement, she would still keep in touch with many of the families and the children she cared for. She would burst with delight every December when she would open a Christmas card containing the most recent photo - sometimes a school photo, but often a graduation photo or a wedding portrait. That photo would get put up in the kitchen alongside the ones of her own grandchildren. Once you were one of Eileen's kids, you were always one of Eileen's kids. ​


One of her greatest joys was her garden. Well into her late seventies, I could arrive at grandma's house to find her in the yard wearing her pink and purple windbreaker from 1991 and crawling around on hands and knees, weeding and trimming her flowers into immaculate condition. She would look up from what she was doing when she heard the unmistakable clang of the back gate and smile with her whole being - the kind of smile that you couldn't help but reciprocate. We would always offer to help, but she'd scoff and smile as she struggled to stand up and give us a hug. Fiercely independent and happy to be working for something that she loved - that's how I will always remember my grandma. ​


But without question, her greatest joy in life was her family. She was the piece that held us all together and our home in human form. When things got tough, all of us called grandma. She would listen for as long as we needed. Then she would do what she did best:  remind us of our worth, dust us off, and send us back out in the world to keep pursuing our dreams. Because that was the thing about my grandma - she wasn't going to let anything or anybody keep her from doing what her heart told her to do. And she certainly wasn't going to let it happen to us, either.


​So, to honour the incomparable woman that my grandma was, I would like to formally announce the creation of the Eileen Shimmon Memorial Award. This award will be given annually to a dancer from Connections Dance Collective that embodies all the things my grandma was: feisty, fiercely independent, selfless and loving. The recipient's name will be added to a plaque at the studio. They will also receive a trophy and one season of free tuition in their chosen dance style. I know that my grandma would be so proud to know that she is continuing to make a difference in the lives of children. That will always be her greatest legacy. ​


Donations to the fund are graciously accepted by sending an e-transfer to .


​"Go your own way. Be your own woman. Venture where others have feared, or failed to even see. You are a creation unlike any other. So, step away from the beaten path, discover who you truly are, and brighten the world with your light."​​​​​​

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