A Lifetime Commitment to Healthy Living

Though he’s in his later years and uses a wheelchair to get around his home in The Village of Taunton Mills, David Smith still has the shoulders of a body builder and the mindset of a person who always valued a healthy, active lifestyle. He’s a regular in the Village’s fitness centre, determined to physically keep pushing as he did in his younger days, despite the fact that he suffered a stroke in 2021 that compromised his mobility.

David stands with two team members along Main Street in the Village of Taunton Mills.It’s a regimen that began as a teenager when David would work out practically every day at his local YMCA in west-end Toronto; later, as a teacher, David’s routine was to visit the gym after his classes with elementary students finished each day. Traffic was lighter during his commute if he worked out for a few hours after school, he says, and his mind would be clear from the day.

He would eventually retire from the education profession after becoming a principal, but he never retired from his active gym lifestyle and at 70, his image was captured for The Toronto Star while curling weights during training for an international bodybuilding competition.

He jokes that he became famous at the age of 70; now in his late 80s after the Village team came across the photo, he’s become famous once again.  

“That picture in the Star motivated a lot of people,” he says. “A 70-year-old guy working out had his picture on the cover!”

He says maintaining his physical health helped him stay active around his property outside of Caledon, Ontario well into his 80s.

David lifts small weights in the fitness room while seated in his wheelchair. “We would use chainsaws to cut wood and a sledgehammer and a wedge to split the wood,” he recalls. “All that activity in the gym allowed me to do that kind of work, right up until my 80s. I mean it's a real lifestyle and it's a life commitment and you inspire a lot of people.”

Since his stroke, working out is a little more difficult, he admits, but he remains committed and is grateful to have kinesiologist Farah Sadiq and the Program for Active Living team to support him regularly throughout the week. When they don’t have scheduled sessions, David often makes his way to the fitness centre on his own or does his exercise routine in his room.

“I'm on the road of becoming more and more independent,” he says. “There’s been lots of fortunate steps along the way that I'm thankful for.”