Thursday, January 15, 2015

John Elmslie's Retirement Party

I just retired from the Toronto Public library after working for 35 years. Last week my dear colleagues, Irene Götz and Valentina Ciric,  catered and organized this sensational send-off.
The first thing I saw when I walked into the room was a cake, crowned by a portrait of myself in fondant icing
by genius librarian-pâtissière Kathleen Wyman.
Wyman's inspiration was this Christopher Sykes portrait of the Duke of Devonshire napping in the library at Chatsworth House.
William Kimber, Kathleen Wyman, myself.
Irene drew this picture of me and my honey on a large sheet of paper for people to write farewell messages on.
Irene and Valentina catered this delicious, fresh and colourful spread of goodies.
Irene's girlfriend made the cupcakes.
Bill Vrantsidis, the head of the Arts Department at the library, read a short tribute.
Library staff and a representative of our union presented me with cards and gift cards for Amazon, Chapters/Indigo and Henry's Camera Store.
Then it was my turn to speak.
I looked out at my colleagues of all these years
And realized how much I was going to miss them.
Then Arts librarian, Will Charbonneau, sang "Little darling, it's been a long cold lonely winter. Little darling, it seems like years since it's been here."
"Here comes the sun. Here comes the sun. And I say, It's all right." We all sang along.
After that, there was nothing to do but cut that delicious cake. Thanks to every one who came or contributed. And thanks to the photographers Iana Georgieva-Kaluba, Irene Götz and Eric Schwab.


  1. The event looked just perfect! Thanks for sharing the photos!
    You deserve the accolades (and cake)!
    Lisa R-R

  2. Thank you, Lisa. It was wonderful. Wish you could have been there. (Hard for you to do that when I forgot to tell you about it -- oops! -- lol).

  3. What a wonderful party! So well deserved. Congratulations John on this exciting new phase in life! I look forward to seeing where your creativity takes you now that you have more time. So delighted for you.

  4. Thanks, Q. The future feels full of possibilities.

  5. The party they planned for you is really wonderful. So thank you so much for sharing this post here and your moments of joy with us. I really loved that idea of cake anyway. I will definitely try to replicate this in our office party next month.

  6. Hope your party is full of joy and cake! Thanks for commenting, Wenni. John