You probably didn’t know this, but our neighbour Jorge Garcia died last month. If you didn’t know Jorge, you probably know someone who did.
That’s because Jorge would say hi to so many people that passed by and they all knew his name. You could be talking to Jorge anywhere on Queen Street East – near Beech Avenue where he lived or on Lee Avenue where he shopped at Foodland – and you would soon realize that he was a local celebrity. He was a lovable fellow. If you knew him, you will miss him a lot. If you didn’t know him, let me tell you a little about Jorge and his contribution to our community.
Jorge was a proud Cuban. He loved his Cuban cigars. He loved his Latin culture. But most importantly, he loved Canada and felt lucky to have lived here. Jorge was a patriot at heart. I think of the giant Canadian flag he placed outside of our building, which reminded us to be outwardly patriotic. Jorge also liked our neighbours to the south. He was a huge New York Yankees fan and he often got flack for that. He didn’t care what others thought when he wore his Yankee’s jersey, because that was his favourite team before he came to Canada. Jorge was not a conformist. He was bold and lived an authentic life.
You know how people say, that person would give you the shirt off of their back? Well, that was Jorge. During the summer, my husband complimented him on his LeBron James jersey. Later that week, Jorge bought him the same jersey. We were both touched by his generosity. Jorge was truly one of the nicest people we knew. He was generous with his time and money. If you were sitting next to him at a bar and you were having a conversation with him, he most likely would buy you a drink or two.
What I didn’t tell you about Jorge was that he felt lonely. He had no family in Canada. A couple of times he had said that we, his neighbours, were his family. We had known Jorge for a little over two years and we always loved talking to him. Jorge shared his collectivist culture with us.
He inspired us to not be so individualistic, and to do more than just greet our neighbours. He taught us to take the time to talk to our neighbours and get to know them better.
We will miss you Jorge in unit #2. Rest in peace.
Your old neighbours in unit #3
Jorge was in his late 40s when he died, and the cause of his death is still unknown to us.
He is survived by his mother and daughter in Cuba. It is our mission to reach them and pass along our condolences.
If you would like to pay your respects to Jorge, there is a curved red bench he loved to sit on, located on Beech Avenue and Queen Street East in front of The Wholesome Market. Feel free to leave flowers and notes there.