When I first moved to Toronto from Montreal in the fall of 1984, I was completely new to the city and did not know anyone here. Since I’ve always loved people and shopping, I decided to volunteer in the retail section of the AGO in the spring of 1985. I enjoyed meeting the people who visit the AGO (tourists and Torontonians alike) and I loved selling and promoting the products of our AGO gift shop. I first volunteered every weekend. But then with a full-time job during the week elsewhere, I switched to volunteering every second Saturday morning from 10 am to 2 pm.
The shop went through many iterations over the years. We started with a very small booth and then grew a number of times until we reached the beautiful shop we had just prior to the current expansion. While I started volunteering to keep from getting lonely in a big city, I continued because I really liked the shop, its volunteers, staff, and customers. Before being displaced, I completed almost 20 years of service with the AGO. And in 2004, the AGO nominated me for – and I was awarded – an Ontario Volunteer Service Award. I miss the AGO (and preparing credit card invoices rather than signing them!) and hope to be able to volunteer again at AGO Retail when the reconstruction is completed.
Kind regards, Gail