Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It was one of the longest cold cases in Ontario, certainly in the Greater Toronto Area. Finally, after more than 30 years, a group of people who seemed to have vanished from the face of the earth have been seen alive and well. It is a result that all of us can feel good about and restores faith in the enduring nature of the human spirit.

These people went missing more than 30 years ago. They didn't just vanish in a flash, the victims of a sudden crime. They faded away gradually, due to the neglect of the established order. It was an unlamented passing, barely noticed, barely cared about. An entire generation and more slipped from the collective consciousness.

After a few years, society began to notice their absence. Some voiced concern and vowed to search for them tirelessly. Most, however, shrugged shoulders and muttered words of resignation: things like "it's too bad, but time has passed. Better to move on to other important things."  Gradually, the disappearance of this "lost generation" became a curiousity, something for writers to muse over, or older people to keep in the recesses of their memory.

But, with circumstance and luck, the "lost generation" seems to have stumbled back into our collective consciousness. True, with the passage of several decades, the lost ones do not look anything like what we remember them. But they are here among us, older, wiser perhaps, and completely aware that, with human nature being what it is, they may drift off again into the darkness.

If you want to see these missing people who are now found, if you want to hear their stories of drifting away against the tide of humanity, if you want to learn how it is that the majority can turn their backs on a small group, all you have to do is go down into the core of Toronto and see them.

All this week, they will be present to share their story. You can see them downtown, on the streets, wandering from place to place, looking slightly out of step with the mainstream, trying to forget the past neglect, trying to celebrate that which made them so different from the rest.

And, when you see them, stop for a moment and put yourself in their shoes. They are not all that different from you. All that separates them from the mainstream is a profound love for something special, unique, part of the fabric of our land: something that so many others find odd, even disturbing because it is not as big or flashy as the thing most prefer.

Talk to them and, if possible, join in the celebration of their return from the dustbin of irrelevance.

Join the long-lost and almost forgotten generation of CFL fans who have risen back to prominence for this week's Grey Cup.