In Focus Friday | Craig Maguire
A local media interview
Original Post Date: February 2, 2018 | In Focus - Kelly Marcolin
Meet Craig Maguire! He and his wife have been in Victoria since November 2016.
Where are you from and how long have you lived in Victoria?
We now call Victoria home and after 14 months, we can honestly say we are ecstatic of our decision to move to the Island. Both Cathy and I are originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario but just relocated from Fort McMurray, Alberta.
Who is your favourite person to spend time with and why?
My favourite person to spend time with is, without-a-doubt, my wonderful wife, Cathy. She is so full of life, laughter, adventure and is one of those people who can literally 'light up' a room with her personality and genuine kindness. It’s the reason I fell in love with her and, to this very day, our love grows stronger with each new day.
What is your favourite local store in Victoria and why?
I have to be honest. Personally, I’m not much of a shopper. With this said, we have visited a number of local shops in Victoria and surrounding communities. We are most impressed with all the businesses we have visited and their friendly and helpful staff have been extraordinary. They have made us feel welcome and have always assisted us with our purchases eagerly and with thoughtful consideration. We can honestly say that we have enjoyed our shopping experiences and have been delighted with the reception and assistance we have always received from everyone.
Describe yourself in one word.
If you could go anywhere in the world right at this moment where would you go and why?
If I was considering a vacation, I guess I would have to give this a bit more thought, however, at the moment, it would be my interest to travel to Winnipeg to visit my mother who is in a long-term care facility due to her Alzheimer’s disease. It is our hope we can visit her again soon.
What is your favourite activity in Victoria?
Wow, where do I begin!? We have done the plane tour, the boat tours, various theatre plays, and a host of other activities since coming to Victoria. I would have to say the highlight for us, however, has been the Christmas show at Butchart Gardens. They have created such a magical place and something everyone, from young to old alike, can enjoy immensely and treasure this experience.
What is the most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you?
Having dealt with forest fires, when we first came to the Island we stayed with our wonderful friends, Chris and Julie. Well, one night they were gone to church and we were back at the house. All of a sudden we heard what seemed like dozens of sirens in our neighbourhood. After looking outside and seeing what looked like smoke and a firetruck right in front of the house, we thought for sure we were being evacuated. I texted Chris at church to ask him if there was anything in the house I should grab, other than the dog. Long story short, every year the firetrucks drive around neighbourhoods at Christmas to collect donations. Naturally, we were terrified but everyone else had quite a laugh over this experience.
What is the most inspiring thing that has happened to you?
I have to say that since moving to Victoria, I am most impressed and inspired by the people we have met and the friendships we have made. We have lived in many communities all throughout Canada but coming to Victoria has truly been a breath of fresh air for us. People are friendly, approachable and compassionate toward one another. It is such a wonderful environment and the community spirit which exists here is simply phenomenal.
Tell us your favourite childhood memory.
My favourite childhood memory would probably be my experience visiting Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio when I was around 13 years old. I had never before been to an amusement park. Seeing and experiencing the sites, sounds, rides and shows there was truly a mesmerizing experience for me and one that I have never forgotten.
Where do you volunteer or give back to the community?
Although there are a number of activities and organizations both Cathy and I are looking into for continued volunteer experiences, at this current time, my primary method of giving back to the community has been to provide pro-bono mental health therapy to individuals who are unable to afford counselling services for their needs. This has mainly consisted of children, seniors and some veterans. Additionally, we are active members of our local Royal Canadian Legion and local Eagles club.
If you could change one thing in the world what would it be?
I think the biggest thing that remains on my mind constantly that I would like to change, not only locally, but nationally and worldwide, would be to create and maintain active opportunities and accessibility for veterans and seniors everywhere to access appropriate mental health support services when the need is present. I believe, as a society, we have neglected our seniors and Veterans for far too long and something seriously needs to change to afford them the services they are, in many cases, desperately seeking.
Where would you sneak away to in Victoria to spend some time alone?
We have enjoyed a number of places here and count Sax Park, the Lagoon and the waterfront off Douglas Road as some of our favourite places to 'escape' to when we just want to kick back and relax and enjoy the scenery.
Where would you like to see positive change in Victoria and why?
Although there is already a real sense of Community here, I would like to see more efforts extended in encouraging people to volunteer and find ways that they can personally contribute to their Community. There is such a sense of pride and accomplishment in being able to help others and with so many people today needing support and assistance, it’s something that strengthens the bonds that tie our Community together.
What do you think makes Victoria great?
Certainly, Victoria is a most beautiful and breath-taking environment. Simply stated its paradise on earth. With this, for Cathy and I, the people we have met here have made our whole experience of moving to and living on, the Island the exhilarating experience that it has been. We simply cannot say enough and are thankful to be able to live in such a wonderful place as this.
What are 3 things on your bucket list?
Like many, I’d have to say my primary bucket list would start with:1. Eventually retirement 2. Travelling 3. To write a book about my life and the lessons learned, personally and professionally, as a mental health therapist. My goal for writing such a book would be to share with others some important strategies for coping with many of the struggles we all face throughout our life.
Tell us something that not everyone may know about you.
Well, probably not many are aware that Cathy and I suffered the loss of our home and business in the May 2016 wildfires which devastated Fort McMurray and caused the city-wide evacuation due to its uncontrollable force and devastation. It’s been a long haul for us in getting back on our feet but we are so very grateful for barely escaping the fires with our lives and knowing all our friends and neighbours also were able to make it to safety.
How do people connect with you, personally, through social media? (Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc)?
Facebook, LinkedIn and through email at firstname.lastname@example.org. As well as via IMPRESSIONS Family Counselling Services Inc.
What is the name of your business/organization?
My private practice mental health organization is IMPRESSIONS Family Counselling Services Inc.
Why did you get into/start this business?
My primary reason for starting my private practice in 2015 was that I really wanted to be there for people when they need someone the most and to escape some of the bureaucracy for which, unfortunately, sometimes people simply fall between the cracks in the system. Having worked for years in Government services and private organizations, I believed I could do the greatest 'good' on my own and so I decided I would make the change and have never regretted my decision.
What is the goal of your business?
My passion and genuine commitments are to providing quality and accessible mental health counselling services to children, adults, seniors, veterans and first responders. I also offer organizational consulting services to businesses and organizations with corporate and employee health and wellness services, such as critical incident stress debriefings, workplace trauma interventions, educational training and overall management consultation provisions.
What has been your biggest struggle either at work or in life?
As with many others, I have had my share of trials and tribulations over the years. I would have to admit though that the biggest and hardest struggle of all was surviving the aftermath of the Fort McMurray wildfires and losing everything. Starting over may sound like an exciting prospect for some, however, when all you have to your name are the clothes on your back, it is a very humbling and debilitating experience, to say the least. Despite this hardship experienced, both Cathy and I believe in being positive and looking toward the future with optimism and hope. It’s just our way and always has been. Thankfully, it has kept us sane and able to accomplish many goals over the past year and a half. As such, we are most fortunate and extremely grateful for the opportunity to slowly rebuild our lives and our business practice.
If you could start all over again would you do things the same or would things be different?
I have to say I’m not sure there are many things I would truly do differently and, having had the experience of 'starting all over again', I must say that with age comes experience and confidence and so, it’s these qualities and competencies that have allowed Cathy and I to start over and to make it back on our feet again. It would be nice to have avoided the losses we have incurred but ultimately, we have a strength and determination that we probably never realized existed within us because of our experiences. We really don’t look back on our lives with any regrets but rather, continuously look forward and the life we hope to continue to rebuild for ourselves.
What do you always find yourself saying?
Over the years, I believe my most common theme has always been 'don’t sweat the small stuff.' It’s so easy to find things to stress over and countless reasons to feel overwhelmed.
Tell us your best piece of life advice.
My best advice to anyone is probably to never give up on themselves, no matter how low they may feel or defeated they may believe they are. Just as the 'good' times never seem to last forever, neither do the 'bad' times. Life is constantly a series of ups and downs and what may seem impossible today may very well prove to be encouraging and conceivable tomorrow. I believe most of us sometimes set unrealistic expectations for ourselves.
If you could spend one whole day with anyone in the world who is currently alive, who would you select?
There are a number of people I would relish in the thought of spending a day with. Regrettably, many of them have passed away over the past few years. In thinking of those who are still alive and well, I would have to think that the one person who inspires me and captures my interest the most would have to be Oprah Winfrey. For me, she epitomises the inner strength and courage to have overcome the adversities she has endured throughout her life. Despite all her success, she remains true to her values, morals and ability to stay 'real'. I think this is so admirable and it would be amazing to spend a day with her to learn of some of her insights and lessons learned.
Why do you think it is important to shop locally?
It is so crucial that we all support our local community businesses because it ensures that these valuable services and products we need can and will remain readily available to us locally as a direct result of our continued support and patronage!
What has been your proudest accomplishment?