The Matilda Van Cooten Award for Excellence in Parenting: Felicia London

Felicia LondonFelicia London has charted a course of surmounting obstacles and succeeding in her life and becoming a role model for her three daughters, whom she raised as a single parent.

She immigrated to Canada from Trinidad and Tobago in 1969 with a high school education and the goal to create a better life for her family.

However, in 1982, as a result of a divorce, she became a single parent and the sole breadwinner for her young daughters, Martha (Susie), Sharon and Precious.

Despite the challenges London faced, she persevered to inculcate in her children, values of love and discipline that would make them productive citizens.

Although they lived in several Toronto Community Housing locations, London worked two or three jobs at a time, including night shifts, to provide for her family. A resourceful person, she also made silk flowers to sell to fellow residents and distributed newspaper flyers.

London instilled in her daughters the value of education and all three attended university, resulting in Martha De Gannes being a Justice of the Peace; Sharon London, a social worker; and Precious London, a teacher.

In 1976, London obtained an entry-level position in the federal public service at the Department of Supply and Services, now Public Works and Government Services.

She transferred to Health Canada, Ontario Region, in 1995, where she is currently the supervisor of the information management unit.

London sat on the Regional Diversity Committee of Health Canada, becoming an agitator for the voiceless, thus contributing to the positive change now seen at Health Canada, Ontario Region.

“I have to make it better for the younger ones who are coming after me,” she says.

Her daughters describe her as “a woman of sacrifice.”

“Our mother wanted the best for her children and she sacrificed everything to ensure that she maintained a loving and supportive environment, as she launched her children into a lifetime of purpose and meaning,” says Precious, the youngest.

“Our mother is a woman of character and of honour, and to us, no other is better deserving of this award,” said Martha and Sharon.

London is a grandmother of four girls, one of whom is currently pursuing a Master’s degree, and two are attending university.

“I did not do it alone.  I had God always at my side, and my children recognized and respected my struggles, and assisted me in the process,” says London.

Sponsored by: Sharmon and Victor Carrington.