2023 Markham Honouree
Nancy Di Tomaso and her husband have lived in Unionville for over thirty-five years, still captivated by the warm and welcoming sense of community. They revel in their walks along Main Street where they’re sure to run into friends at one of the local restaurants or shops. A short stroll sometimes takes hours depending on how many people they meet along the way. Nancy had their three daughters at Markham Stouffville Hospital at a time when you could still see farmers’ fields from many hospital room windows.
Volunteering began early on for Nancy, supporting numerous endeavours, including participating in field trips and reading with students at the elementary schools her daughters attended. When they started skating at the local Crosby arena, Nancy joined the board of directors for the Unionville Skating Club, a not-for-profit organization. In 2017, she co-chaired the Ice show for the club to organize the weekend’s skating event and help raise needed funds.
Nancy has been an active member of the Markham Fair, Old MacDonald’s Barn since 2015 and an integral part of the Fabulous 15 who raise funds for the Ronald MacDonald House Charities (RMHC) family room at Markham Stouffville Hospital, a truly vital and essential part of the community, having 14,000 visits since opening ten years ago. Nancy’s main focus now is on supporting the Fabulous 15 and RMHC. While her three daughters have helped Nancy in many of her endeavours, volunteering to prepare and serve a meal to the parents and children at the McCaul Street Ronald McDonald House was a touching and special moment for all of them.
Although never the motivator for Nancy, there have been many unexpected rewards of her charitable work, including receiving this Portraits of Giving award. While recognition is so appreciated and heartfelt, Nancy says it mirrors the gratitude and acknowledgement you feel when you see the faces of the people you've helped.
Nancy reflects on one special memory—being the Parade Chair for the Unionville Festival. For fifty-plus years this festival has been run by a committee of volunteers and funds are raised through local businesses and grants to cover expenses. Although somewhat diminished over the years, in 2019 Nancy felt great pride in leading the charge to restore much of the event’s original glory. The theme, Celebrating Pillars of the Community, highlighted sixteen wonderful community members. Eight WWII veterans were honoured in the parade. Lloyd Robertson, retired CTV broadcaster, provided commentary. The Governor General’s horse guards were in the procession along with marching bands, fire trucks, and local businesses. Local dignitaries also attended. Nancy was thrilled she’d a hand in showcasing the incredible people who make her community what it is. Many would say she’s one of those people.