Read the stories of this week's CBC Toronto 'Front-line Heroes'
We’re introducing a new face each day, recognizing people making a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic
CBC Toronto wants to introduce you to all the people making a difference during the COVID-19 pandemic through a series we're calling Front-line Heroes.
We want to hear your stories, too.
If you'd like to tell us about your front-line hero, send us a video explaining why they're a hero to you. Or you can send a short description to email@example.com. Be sure to include a few photos of the person either way.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Francesca Arkley says she's thankful to have her Toronto Paramedic Services partner, Heather Stuive, by her side.
"She is an excellent paramedic, has great judgment and always has my back," Arkley says.
"During these recent weeks we have seen an increase in patients calling with anxiety due to the virus and Heather has been a superstar reassuring patients and bringing down their stress levels," Arkley continues.
"She's also a quick thinker and an excellent diagnostician in the field. She delivers high quality care to our patients and she keeps me sane during these crazy times."
Tina and Kostas Bottis
Residents near the Junction celebrated the owners of their local variety store recently, covering the store in "thank you" posters.
Tina and Kostas Bottis have run St. John's Grocery & Variety for 38 years. Despite both being over 70, they have kept the store open seven days a week throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
"They are continuing to put their own lives at risk during the coronavirus pandemic to serve their community on the front line," says Heidi Hunter, a member of the community.
"They have always inspired this community with their kindness, thoughtfulness, generosity and love."
Not only is Brenda Bowskill a health-care hero — she's also an Olympian.
Bowskill is both an emergency room nurse at Lakeridge Health Oshawa and a sailor. She represented Canada in Rio de Janeiro at the 2016 Olympic Games.
On the front line or the finish line, Bowskill's family is clearly proud.
"Thank you Brenda and all front-line health-care workers and essential services for everything that you are doing to help those in need. Love from Mom, Grandad, Auntie Elspeth, Douglas, Larry, Bridgit, Andrew, Alexander and the Bogdanis family!"
Little India Restaurant
Despite a big hit to their business as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Little India Restaurant is handing out free meals to anyone who needs them.
The restaurant on Queen Street West opened in 1995 and is owned by Thaneswaran Selvarasa and his three brothers.
His wife, Mary Thaneswaran, says: "This is important to us because we stick together as a family, and we're proud to be doing what we can to give back to this community."
When Torontonians aren't at home whipping up their own kitchen creations, it's bakers like Xander Ally who are keeping shelves stocked full of fresh baked goods.
Ally is a baker at COBS Bread in the Beach. His mother, Verity Hill, says she's asked Ally to quit every day since Ontario declared a state of emergency, fearing for his safety.
"Every day he replies, 'people still need bread.' He wakes up at 3 a.m. to start baking at 4 a.m., and never complains about the extra hours which have become standard now that people are stockpiling," she says.
Long-term care and retirement residence staff
The Georgetown location of Amica Senior Lifestyles decided to celebrate their staff at the retirement home — and their COVID-19 outbreak status being lifted — by organizing a car parade attended by police, the fire department and many families of the residents.
Officials with Amica say they plan on continuing these types of activities for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. It's all part of their #smilesforseniors campaign, aimed at combating loneliness and isolation.
"A compassionate nurse who always puts the patients first," is how Swanee Tobin describes her former colleague, Alaina Cox.
Cox is a nurse in the emergency department at St. Michael's Hospital, part of Unity Health Toronto.
"Alaina goes to work with an exceptional attitude and deserves recognition for her strength and resiliency," Tobin says.