The sounds of a marching band stir memories in many of us – from standing on the sidelines at a St. Patrick’s Day parade to touring a historic fortress on a family vacation – but for one Chartwell resident, the sounds and rhythm have a much deeper meaning. For ninety-one-year-old Lloyd Sullivan of Chartwell Wynfield Long Term Care in Oshawa, Ontario, marching bands are a powerful link to his past as a member of Toronto’s Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.
A few months shy of his 18th birthday, Lloyd tried to enlist as a soldier in World War II but was only accepted into the Reserves because he was underage. He trained as a marksman at Camp Borden, near Barrie, Ontario, and at Moss Park Armoury in Toronto. As a member of the Queen’s Own Rifles, Lloyd marched with military bands in parades, forming a lifelong affinity for the music and memories of that period in his life. Later on, he continued to find great pleasure in watching Military Tattoos and military bands perform.
Life took Lloyd on another course when he accepted an apprenticeship as a plumber – steam fitter, later moving to Amsterdam for few years before returning to Buckhorn, Ontario, where he continued his trade. Upon meeting his wife, Ruth, Lloyd became the loving, caring father to her three children. Although he officially retired from his profession in 1984, Lloyd never stopped doing plumbing jobs for family and friends.
With pure love in her heart and knowing what joy military music brought to Lloyd throughout his life, his daughter, Cindy, nominated him for a Wish of a Lifetime Canada – to witness a live drum band performance one more time, with his family by his side. Enlisting the support of Chartwell Wynfield’s Administrator, Sharol Henry, with the help of Program and Support Services Manager, Ashley Ferraccioli, and other dedicated staff, a plan was put in place to make Lloyd’s wish come true. For health reasons, Lloyd was unable to travel, so alternate arrangements were made – the Royal Regiment Band of Canada would come to him! Coordinating the schedules of a 16-piece military band was no small feat but thanks to all concerned, everything came together on a memorable December afternoon. Lloyd and his family had the opportunity to meet the band and were acknowledged by them during their performance. For a few joyful hours on a winter day, a room full of smiling faces and a lot of gratitude accompanied the colourful, rhythmic music of the Royal Regiment Band of Canada.