When I first began working at Don Area Co-operative Homes in 1980, Pam was the most experienced co ordinator in the neighbourhood. I regarded her with awe, having arrived in the job with nothing but determination and CHFT’s manual How to Run a Housing Co-op. When the board consistently took more interest in co-op politics than co-op business, Pam came to the rescue with advice and practical help with bookkeeping.
After I left DACHI, I usually encountered Pam only in the newspapers, but clearly she hadn’t changed. She was incapable of backing down on any matter of principle. Pam and her family lived at Spruce Court Co-op for many years.
When the Harris government forced “the megacity” on Toronto, three progressive ridings suddenly became two. Powerful people—many of them her friends—decided that she should graciously withdraw in order to ensure the election of a favourite son. Little did they know Pam, but Pam knew her constituents. Whenever I start to doubt that right will eventually prevail, I think about that election, which Pam won.
One of the fierce women that co-op housing seems to breed, Pam was also an original. My life is richer for having known her and seen her service to the city and the movement.