Norma McColl, sitting with Pippy Candy, shows off her homemade signs that she greets strangers with. (Nick Murray/News staff)

James Bay senior’s homemade signs bring smiles

91-year-old Norma McColl waves her positive signs to members of the community

A 91-year-old James Bay senior has become something of a local celebrity, due to her ability to get strangers smiling. Every morning, Norma McColl, a resident at The Glenshiel senior living facility, sits at her favourite spot by the window and holds up one of her home-made signs. The speech-bubble shaped signs hold a selection of friendly and positive words, from ‘Howya doing?’ to ‘You’re Awesome!’ The reaction has been stressed commuters stopping to wave and smile – often the whole street.

“She has a sign and a big smile and it starts the day off right. My wife and I look forward to seeing her,” said Bill MacDonald, a local resident.

Ivan Fletcher, who walks past Norma everyday agrees, “She has a very alive smile and her signs always have clever sayings.”

READ ALSO: Home care declines as B.C. senior population grows, advocate says

McColl first started using her signs two years ago and has made such an impact on brightening stressed commuters’ days that many return to bring her flowers or cards. Sitting with her trusty teddybear, Pippy Candy, she likes to use the signs to communicate.

“Some people think I’m just sitting here, but having a sign shows them a few things!” she said.

“She’s become something of an icon,” said Lynn Larsen, the executive director of The Glenshiel. “The other residents love her and when she’s away they’ll step in and hold her signs for her.”

The Victoria senior lists her hobbies as knitting, roller skating and bike riding. “When I was younger, my brother said I was too small to ride a bicycle and do things. But I borrowed a boy’s bicycle and soon was dodging the haystacks. The local club then bought me a bike, so I sure proved him wrong.”

Although Norma finds it difficult to indulge in her hobbies these days, she gets great satisfaction from cheering up the strangers who pass her window.

“I try to keep them smiling. Holy Crow! Some people need a smile.”

Just Posted

RCMP ask for public’s help to determine cause of weekend fire

RCMP are investigating the cause of the South Island Concrete fire

Whitecaps favourite switches to the Island

Marcel de Jong worked to end Whitecaps contract, joining Pacific FC on the ground floor

VicPD seeks person of interest after short-term rental ransacked

Combined losses for damage and theft are over $5,000

B.C. BUDGET: Surplus $374 million after bailouts of BC Hydro, ICBC

Growth projected stronger in 2020, Finance Minister Carole James says

One arrested, weapons and drugs seized in Sooke bust

During the Feb. 6 raid, police found firearms, ammunition, drugs, and brass knuckles

VIDEO: 8 things you need to know about the 2019 B.C. budget

Surplus of $247 million with spending on children, affordability and infrastructure

‘Bullet missed me by an inch’: Man recounts friend’s killing at Kamloops hotel

Penticton man witnessed Summerland resident Rex Gill’s murder in Kamloops

B.C. BUDGET: Income assistance raise still leaves many below poverty line

$50 per month increase included in funding for poverty and homelessness reduction

B.C. BUDGET: Indigenous communities promised billions from gambling

Extended family caregiver pay up 75 per cent to keep kids with relatives

B.C. BUDGET: New benefit increases family tax credits up to 96 per cent

BC Child Opportunity Benefit part of province’s efforts to reduce child poverty

B.C. BUDGET: Carbon tax boosts low-income credits, electric vehicle subsidies

Homeowners can get up to $14,000 for heating, insulation upgrades

B.C. man survives heart attack thanks to Facebook

A Princeton man suffered a heart attack while at an isolated property with no cell service

B.C. man sues Maxime Bernier’s People’s Party over trademark

Satinder Dhillon filed application for trademark same day Maxime Bernier announced the new party

Greater Victoria Wanted List for the week of Feb. 19

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read