A Man Who Marched To The Beat Of His Own Drum!
Born and raised in Toronto, The Beach, son of Harry and Isabel (Poucher) Vincent.
He will be remembered by his younger brother Michael (Youn) and his nephew Thomas.
Previous wife Roberta Vincent and their daughter Barbara Williot (Pierre), his grandsons Paul and Rémi and two step granddaughters.
Wife Jeanette (Farwell) Vincent, her three children and two grandchildren.
Extended family, many friends and acquaintances.
Gregory Vincent’s Legacy
When World War II came, Gregory’s father joined the RCAF and left when Gregory was six years old in 1941 and returned four years later in 1945. He had all the adventures the Toronto Beach could offer and the city was his playground.
Gregory was destined to be on the move. At an early age he went to Camp Pinecrest in Torrance, ON. He loved to paddle, swim and be outdoors. He always had a part time job at a young age delivering newspapers, selling Christmas trees, helping the iceman and the local Loblaws grocery store where they nicknamed him "Snap, Crackle, Pop."
At age 15 he and a friend traveled by hitchhiking to New York City and slept under the George Washington Bridge in their jungle hammocks and at age 16 hitchhiking to Los Angeles, California, to visit Muscle Beach and the Grand Canyon.
When Gregory was 17 years old he joined the RCAF as an aircraft technician. The next year he drove his mother to the hospital and his brother was born, but he never lived a day with his brother. He left for London, Ontario, where he started his career in the regular Air Force as a RCAF Navigator, aircraft interception and from then to 423 Squadron in Montreal. When the opportunity came to attend school in Florida that started him traveling to RCAF Parent, Quebec, Edgar Ontario, where he met and married his first wife. They were then sent to Quebec where Gregory completed his short service commission. After leaving the RCAF he joined the Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) Reserve - Gunner. He worked for one year as a civilian, then applied to Transport Canada for an Air Traffic Control position and stood 2nd in his class and was sent to Ottawa, then Toronto Tower, Toronto Center and Toronto approach control. During this time he completed a degree in Psychology at York University. At the age of 35 he became Chief Air Traffic Controller at Buttonville Airport and Oshawa Tower. He was involved in the selection and hiring of Air Traffic Controllers and subsequently, close to his retirement, he became Chief Air Traffic Controller at Waterloo-Wellington Airport. At the age of 55 he retired. He continued part-time for a few more years in the selection and hiring of Air Traffic Controllers.
By that time Gregory had been leading hikes for the Toronto Bruce Trail Club and the Grand Valley Trails. He went out on his first hike with the Toronto Bruce Trail Club at the age of 40 and he said to himself “This is what I am going to do for the rest of my life." Shortly after he became a certified Hike Leader for the Toronto Bruce Trail and led hikes for over forty years and retired from hike leading in 2020. For over forty years he introduced many people of all ages to hiking and instilled the LOVE of nature, the outdoors in those who chose to accompany him.
Earlier days of hiking were backpacking adventures with friends to the Adirondack Mountains in Upstate New York, Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia, White Mountains in New Hampshire and the STS Susquehannock Trail System, Pennsylvania, Potter County, Great Smoky Mountains along the border of Tennessee- North Carolinas, La Cloche Mountains in Northern Ontario are just a few.
Gregory frequented the Susquehannock Lodge in Potter County, Pennsylvania for over forty years. He began backpacking and hiking with family and friends. For over two decades he led hikes five times a year. This was his home away from home.
As a Hike Leader Gregory led three End to Ends of the Bruce Trail in 1996, 1998 and the year 2000, an End to End of the Grand Valley Trail in 1997 and an End to End of the Avon Trail in 2001. He also planned the millennium GVTA End to End and organized hike leaders to lead the series of hikes. Gregory was a Hike Leader of day hikes and weekends away for over forty years. He will be remembered as an ambassador for hiking.
His Magic Carpet was air flight which started when he joined the RCAF. Travel took him to Barbados, Cuba, Italy/Sicily, France, Germany, Greece, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. His cycling trips to Cuba he always had a bike and boots to leave with a family and gave a young guide his binoculars. They were so appreciative.
He frequently went to the United Kingdom and Ireland and hiked with Holiday Fellowship (HF) on their many trails in his earlier years. In the past two decades he decided to partner with a Travel Agency and with his “Man in Ireland'' they created walking holidays for small groups of people to Hadrian’s Wall between England and Scotland, Pembrokeshire coastal path in Wales, walked across England and Scotland, Cotswolds, Northern Ireland walk to the Giant’s Causeway and various walks in the Republic of Ireland.
Once again he branched out his walking holidays to Azores, Belize, Bermuda, Cuba, on the El Camino in Spain, the French Way, the Portuguese Way and Malta.
He often said, “If you want Friends, be Friendly”. Wherever he went he made friends and would frequently visit “you” throughout his life. (You know who you are). He met a man on the El Camino in Spain from Rio De Janeiro in Brazil and visited him yearly for seven years until 2020 where he celebrated his 85th Birthday, with a Grand Finale at Iguazu Falls, the largest waterfall in the world.
As a teacher he had a great ability to make people feel confident with themselves. He presented himself with such enthusiasm, allowing others to feel confident with the material he was presenting. Gregory inspired many people of all ages to pursue a life of walking in the outdoors.
The Department Head of Health and Physical Education at St. Paul CSS in Mississauga decided to implement Hiking into the curriculum at their school and from 1998 to 2013 Gregory led over 1000 students on the Bruce Trail and immediately inspired them. His love of life and hiking left a mark on them that would connect them to the Bruce Trail, forever. A former student became a PHE teacher with Father John Redmand CSS and reconnected with Gregory and for ten more years has led student hikes and the cycle continues.
By presenting New Hiker’s Evenings at the Waterloo Brewery and libraries.
Hike Leader Training for the Toronto Bruce Trail Club and helped develop the curriculum.
Health and Wellness Course, Hiking Ontario Trails for the Waterloo Region School Board and developed the curriculum. Over 500 adults took this course within the Region of Waterloo.
Map and Compass Courses and developed the curriculum.
Sun Life Financial Wellness Hikes.
CBC interview of walking End to End of Bruce Trail.
KW Magazine (CKWR FM) 98.5 had regular seasonal short segments talking about hiking. For almost two decades to the present Gregory led the hikes for Langdon Hall Country Hotel and Spa.
Gregory was the author of The Right Stuff - Hiking Safety and Tips published in club newsletter across Ontario. He also contributed many articles and visual presentations on various outdoor topics for hiking clubs and libraries.
He was a Lifelong Learner throughout his adult life, learning about flora and fauna, geology, Spanish, English and creative writing. He was a regular participant of the Canadian Military History Colloquium at Wilfrid Laurier and other Military History events. An avid reader, Gregory was inspired by the writings of Henry David Thoreau.
Proud member of the Royal Canadian Military Institute (RCMI), Royal Canadian Air Force Association (RCAFA) “per ardua ad astra”, Toronto Artillery Association - 7th Toronto Regiment, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA), Bruce Trail Conservancy (BTC) - Toronto Bruce Trail Club, Grand Valley Trails Association (GVTA).
In his role of being a father to his daughter which he took seriously, he pointed out the best approach to life. His desire for his daughter to be independent ranged from sleep-away camps every summer (starting at the age 6!) to teach her how to change the oil in their cars. Gregory had a commanding personality; he got things done and he was a leader.
Trips each summer to PEI and March breaks to Sanibel Island, Florida were regular family holidays. Wonderful family memories and experiences throughout her childhood years in which Gregory helped to instill the outdoors, hiking and running. Exercise and good nutrition was always a priority to him. He felt that his previous wife was a caring mother to their daughter. Like her father who ran in the National Capital Marathon in Ottawa, she ran in the Manitoba Marathon. Gregory enjoyed trips in his family Volkswagen camper and trips across Canada and parts of the USA, always visiting a friend or relatives. Gregory was especially proud of his daughter’s accomplishment of becoming an RN and for her two sons, his grandsons who have followed in her footsteps.
Greg walked his path with steadfastness, always true to his passions, beliefs and convictions in both his words and actions, regardless of how others may have perceived him. It was important to him to be true to his nature of directness, clarity and purpose, just the way he saw fit, even while being aware how others might see things differently. He lived a life of purpose with dignity and passion.
Happy Hour was one of Gregory's favourite social times and he often would say “thank you for marrying an older man". As always in life, Gregory knew what he wanted and made our rewarding relationship happen. In the light of these new eyes, he could share his life with me and what was important to him with someone new. He loved, he was loved by me and loved by so many. Of late when roles changed for him, he happily made the transition to accept me as his full time care partner who kept him on the move to places he enjoyed. We traveled short and long distances. We continued to walk together. We enjoyed theatre, museums, live music and more, always seeing family, friends and continuing to make new friendships.
Gregory’s end of life journey with Alzheimer’s the past two years took him walking in many local and out of town cemeteries. It was easier walking, meditative and he very much enjoyed reading the scripts on the monuments. In particular Gregory was always drawn to the Canadian War monuments of men and women who lost their lives in War and sacrificed their lives for our freedom. He had the deepest and highest regard for military loss as two best friends died in the RCAF and also for all friends and family especially those who passed away at an early age.
After having said all this, it is remarkable that this only reflects a snapshot of his life.
GREGORY PAUL VINCENT - He lived a full life with No Regrets
This is his song by Frank Sinatra - I Did It My Way https://youtu.be/qQzdAsjWGPg
A Huge Heart, A Huge Smile, Huge Enthusiasm and Cheeky Lively Humor
Cremation has taken place. A private Interment will take place at a later date.
Donations may be made to the Bruce Trail Conservancy brucetrail.org Grand Valley Trails Association gvta.on.ca/DONATE.htm Alzheimer’s Society https://alzheimer.ca/ww/en or your personal preference.
Family, Friends and Acquaintances in keeping with Gregory’s favourite social time, we will reminisce, laugh and spend time in good cheer.
You are invited to a Hike and "Happy Hour” Monday, August 8, 2022 from 4 to 7 p.m.
Walk: 4 - 5 p.m. Happy Hour: 5 - 7 p.m. Hors d'oeuvres and refreshments (wine will be served for a toast). Cash bar available.
At 6 p.m. we will raise our glass to Gregory Paul Vincent.
For those who cannot attend, wherever you may be, join us in raising your glass at 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to Gregory and cherish the memories you have.
Location: University of Guelph Arboretum, College Ave. East, Guelph On N1G 2W1
firstname.lastname@example.org 43°32’39.06”N, 80°12’57.78”W
Messages and condolences may be left at www.tricitycremations.com. Please visit Gregory's obituary notice on Facebook.