This month I would like to highlight one of our community leaders. Dorothy Ottaway is one of those special unsung heroes in our midst.
Ottaway was a longstanding public school trustee. She has great presence and an engaging, warm smile. Ottaway was raised in the Beach and even met her husband Rick (Don) Ottaway here. Rick was also chair of the Ted Reeve Board of Management for 20 years.
Ottaway’s interest in her children’s education grew into leadership positions on the parent association at Malvern Collegiate. She was instrumental in the original development of the Malvern Boardwalk Ball, which to this day is the main fundraising activity for the Malvern music department.
In the midst of her volunteer efforts at Malvern Collegiate, Ottaway was asked to run for public school trustee and soon found herself propelled into the political arena, serving the community for many years until retiring in 1995. On the board, Ottaway was a strong advocate for the arts, co-operative education and student nutrition. She served on the board of the Toronto Educational Opportunity Fund Foundation and as the school board’s vice chair.
In fact, Ottaway’s involvement with the Toronto Educational Opportunity Fund Foundation’s board continued beyond her tenure as a trustee. The money raised is devoted to providing snack programs in qualifying schools. Ottaway is also active on the Learnxs board, which provides incentive grants for experimental and innovative education programs. One initiative, called the Young Ambassadors’ Program, provides partial funding for international educational tours for students.
After retiring from political life, Ottaway, who trained as a physiotherapist, found a new role for herself at Princess Margaret Hospital, as an active volunteer in the Look Good, Feel Better program, which provides empowering information and caring support to women with cancer.
Recently, Ottaway played a pivotal role in the inception and promotion of the Toronto Beach Chorale, bringing local experienced singers together to form a community choir in the Beach.
For the last year, Ottaway’s focus was on her ailing sweetheart and partner, Rick, who recently succumbed to cancer on March 20. Proud of her children, Terri, Larry and Steve’s accomplishments, Ottaway speaks glowingly of her two grandchildren — the next generation of beach kids — and daughter-in-law, Lee-Ann.
Ottaway is always active and looking for ways to build the community. She is one of those special individuals who has contributed significantly to the enhancement of life here and the city at large.
If there is a special person in your neighbourhood you would like to see highlighted, contact me at [email@example.com]firstname.lastname@example.org[/email].
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