Who is John Ross Harvey?

It all began a long time ago in a galaxy far far away, but really just in a hospital in Hamilton. A Hospital I would frequent regularly. Born in 1966, tonsilitis in 1968, sliced my heel on a windshield wiper in 1970, thanks big brother for that, mine, not the TV show. A phantom appendix in 1979 which turned out to be inflamed lymph nodes which essentially made me far too ticklish for my own good.

My first home in Hamilton was near a railroad track, and I’m pretty sure I was dumb enough to play near it at age two, but thankfully have lived to tell the tale. I barely remember being there, though have passed by it at many times during car rides through Hamilton. The home I remember best was and still is my mom’s residence in Ancaster. I stayed there until a college co-op work term sent me to Orillia. In looking for a place to stay, a college classmate showed us where he stayed, that I could rent the other room. Much to my dad’s discomfort, our car, a 1981 Buick Skylark X-car decided that the rail tracks in town were just too much for the suspension. We had to tow it and leave it at a dealer there and take a GO bus home. A later trip in my car, a Ford LTD 2-door, we drove home only to have oil pump blow on Hwy 400 south by Innisfil Beach Rd. A service station and another bus ride home. My high school in Ancaster was tasked with repairing it, once I found a Mercury Cougar wagon with the same engine to replace it with. In hindsight, I just should have used the wagon. A year later, after a new engine, paintjob, pinstripes, and tires, that engine blew again, this time on Hwy 27 near Rutherford, which is eerily near where I now live. I was pretty much without car ever since, relying on buses.

Working after Orillia, who hired me to cover off my former classmate while he finished college, as he was hired before doing so, I had to find work elsewhere, and sadly that meant Toronto. A city I had no desire to be anywhere near. I worked for a small architect firm, they shall remain nameless because I do not wish to be sued by them, if they still exist. The junior partner hired computer techs to use Autocad, instead of architecture technologists like me. I barely lasted a few months there, but had a basement apartment, and a bowling league I’d joined. I found an agency that got me a job at Famous Players, as a draftsman, as they expanded across the country. I met my next supervisor and landlord there, gave proper notice to my landlord at the time, and she insisted I had one day to move out.  Somehow we managed to do exactly that, and then she refused to give my last month’s rent back. She hired a lawyer, I took her to small claims and I won. I worked at Famous for about four years, had some strange experiences and made a few friends that have all lost touch. I was let go, had trouble finding work. took a government sponsored course in Facility Management, which later translated to my next two jobs, a few months at Cad Resource Centre, and almost two years at DeHavilland. I loved that job, but contracts end, and rarely get renewed.  Nearly a year later I got another job that lasted 17 years. I am still in contact and friends with many from there, but the environment got very bad, and we no longer worked out.  Over a year later I worked in a warehouse, (hated that)  and then for a landscaper, outdoor work, cutting lawns, for commercial properties, and a few high paying residences. They liked me, but the pay scale was very low. They kept me on for snowplow work, but that winter was dismal. I was hired by a millwork company during the time I plowed. he allowed me to do both. Things seemed to be going well, I got my benefits, and then he didn’t have enough work to keep me on. So we are back at it, looking for jobs I can do, that frankly no longer seem to exist.

Since my prospects to be a draftsman are slim to none, I have applied to do other things. The Canadian Space Agency wants astronauts, it’s not like you have that experience beforehand. TSN wants sports anchors, and I did a screen test for Sportsnet at Toronto Indy last year that was pretty good. I would love both of those jobs. I would prefer these jobs to the ones I am qualified for that are much harder to find. I’ve even bingewatched Sports Night’s two seasons to get the feel for being an anchor.

Things I have done in my life, are indeed varied and sometimes extreme. White Water Rafting on the Ottawa River, great fun, especially while nearly hypothermic in a rainstorm. Racing school in Quebec at Jim Russell school, F1600’s, F2000’s, then a grad run-off.  Best money I ever spent to enjoy a sport. Sadly not having money to race, means you won’t. Having done grad run-offs at age 25, I had two years to make it Winfield Schol in France where Alain Prost had graduated.  Their maximum age was 27. At age 26 Famous Players let me go, and Winfield dropped their maximum age to 25. I would never get there. I did join a race club that organized Toronto Indys, but they were highly political and unenjoyable when I left. A few charity go-kart events they organized I particpated and did very well in. Teammates included Russ Bond (seen on Motoring TV, former Formula Atlantic driver, and co-operator of a go-karting experience in Innisfil),Edwin (rock singer formerly of I Mother Earth). and Mike Goodyear (brother to ABC analyst and former Indy driver Scott, that runs go-karting experience with Russ). I have bought a karting suit and 2010 Snell helmet and neckbrace to do go-kart leagues but the lack of funds and a job have hurt my opportunities to do so. I still aim to do it.

Less challenging from a physical standpoint is having been a member of a ratepayer organization whose goal is to keep our neighbourhood beautiful and welcoming. Condos behind townhouses are unacceptable. We have fought many city hall meetings and even OMB meetings, winning and losing, but coming out with a win in the end. I also wrote an opinion article on pedestrian safety that the Vaughan Citizen ran. Those experiences together meant running for political office was a possible idea. Like Nenshi, my campaign was mostly twitter based, pre-organized meet and greets and two debates offered me more opportunity to showcase my ideas. Being one of thirteen candidates was tough, finishing tenth ahead of at least two that spent money when I didn’t, was greatly satisfying. As a regional candidate, I had more votes than many council seats that were elected. The difference is one ward to five.  Though encouraged to run again, I didn’t. I already proved my point. I can get votes without spending, and without being the common ethnic background of much of council. If Ilived in Richmond Hll instead of Woodbridge, I’d probably be a government councillor already.

Charity events are something I did often. More recently was walking CN Tower steps twice for United Way. 58 minutes 43 seconds first time, 36 minutes 36 seconds second time. That beat all four of my son’s times, but just by a little. I used to ride the Ride For Heart, which mostly involved going up the DVP and back down, my times went down there too. I once did a Danceathon, of which only two of us showed up. I did Movember once, and never wish to again. That was a replacement charity for the Palathon, a charity event for Sick Kids if I remember correctly, but winner took home a car.  Since Palladdini went bankrupt, I had to focus that raised money into another charity, so Movember was chosen. The go-kart event was a regular thing for me to raise money for Huntington’s Disease.

For leisure I now curl in Richmond Hill, great people, fun leagues, and the kids also curled as little rocks, then juniors. My son even worked as an ice-tech. I’d like to do more for the club, by joining more leagues or organizing one, but the money and job never seem to align properly. One of my friends there took me to NASCAR.

I have seen several Toronto Indy races, in good seats and bad ones, and as a volunteer. Just this past June I saw a NASCAR race for my birthday weekend. In 1989 a friend and I saw Prost and Senna in Montreal, neither of whom won. Thierry Boutsen did, in the rain. In 1996 my wife and I saw Jacques Villeneuve win in Silverstone. In 2012 I went to Austin Texas to see the first ever Grand Prix at Circuit Of The Americas where Lewis Hamilton won. I have a great desire to see other F1 tracks and races at them, but money is heavily required.

Things I would like to do in my lifetime. Write a successful book, or movie screenplay and win an award for them. You have to dream big. Play and win a show like Amazing Race Canada, a show my sister in law wants to do, but my timing has been lousy. Maybe next season, so far, looking more possible. Driving the Targa Newfoundland. Getting a sponsor for it would be nice. Hyundai? I do drive an Elantra. Having a racing career would be cool, but I am now 50. That boat sailed. Those other two things I applied for, being a Sports Anchor, or an Astronaut, would be beyond cool.

I have been married for close to 21 years now, my son just turned 19 and will enter his 2nd year of University to develop video games. My daughter will choose college or university next year likely to pursue animation.  Her drawing talent is incredible. Ever since her penguin at age two.

That as a radio guy named Larry Fedoruk used to say is “In a Nutshell” who I am and what I would like to be.

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By John Ross Harvey

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