By GERRY POSNER While walking the streets of Toronto in my neighbourhood (What else is there for me to do these days)?, I was suddenly taken aback by someone calling out my name.
This is not a common event here for me and that someone should recognize me, given my mask and toque, was impressive, I thought. Delighted I was – and even more so when the woman introduced herself to me as Nicole Shuckett, daughter of well known Winnipeggers, Paul and Margaret Shuckett (Winograd). I knew Nicole as far back as when I had hair – and that was light years ago. Nicole has, in fact, been a resident of Toronto for over 20 years. Yet it is fair to suggest that she still has her heart in Winnipeg and the family cottage at Lake of the Woods. Nicole’s path to Toronto had several steps along the way. First of all, Nicole is a graduate of Jospeh Wolinsky Collegiate, also the University of Manitoba. You could say that she had a strong start. In fact, she met her husband, Avi Pollock, a Toronto native, on March of the Living in 1988, so that as they marched, they were right in step even then. Ten years later they were engaged – in Israel – no doubt to mark their first meeting. Twenty-one years later Nicole and Avi now have two sons, both of whom are students at Tanenbaum CHAT ( the Community Academy of Toronto). Following the University of Manitoba, Nicole graduated with a Master of Science in Nutrition and a Certificate in Gerontology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland in 1996. Upon graduation, she began her working life at Baycrest Hospital, where she was employed for over a decade. It was at Baycrest where Nicole developed an interest in working with older adults and their families (a field much in demand these days). And while at Baycrest, she had the opportunity to work with clients who experienced a wide range of illnesses. She specialized in assisting those clients who suffered from neurological diseases in dealing with their nutritional challenges. If that were not enough, Nicole then went over to Sunnybrook Hospital at the ALS/ Motor Neurone Disease Clinic for another 13 years. In short, Nicole has had significant exposure to and experience in assisting older and disabled patients with their dietary needs. Moreover, she gained a real expertise and affection for working with people affected by this disabling afflictions. Since leaving the hospital world, Nicole has shifted her emphasis to a private practice in North York and has concentrated her efforts in working with clients who suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, ALS and other neurological illnesses, including individuals who have had brain injuries as a result of motor vehicle accidents. That takes, I would suggest, a very devoted, compassionate and passionate person. As well, Nicole is also an active teacher and presenter on nutritional issues in both the corporate and public sectors. With all of that said, the pandemic has interrupted her usual life style but not enough to deter her last summer from going with her family by car straight to the family cottage at Lake of the Woods. Her kids love it there as much as she does. That was the last time she saw her parents and so there is a whole lot of FaceTime happening in the Shuckett-Polllock home. Of course, anyone familiar with the Winograd family would know there was a heavy focus on sports and that Margaret and her three brothers were, and still are, into challenging themselves in whatever sport in which he or she might be involved at the time. Hence, it was no surprise to me to learn that, in addition to all of Nicole’s activities, she is the manager of her son’s hockey team…shades of her late grandfather Neville Winograd’s tenure as the president of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The apple does not fall far, does it? And of course, let it not be forgotten that Nicole has deep roots in Winnipeg given that her great-great grandparents, Hiram and Fanny Weidman, were among the first Jewish settlers in Winnipeg. That is called a sense of belonging, and Nicole knows and appreciates her family history.