By Sue Tiffin
When Wade Hartin died unexpectedly at work as a snow-grooming machine operator at Dagmar Ski Resort near Uxbridge last week friends family and the wider community reached out to share stories of his impact on their own lives: how caring and genuine he was a hard worker a man who was often laughing and always giving tremendous bear hugs and someone who very much loved his family and friends.
It was clear as family friend Ashley Webster told the Times “how many lives have been touched by his passing because he was just so loved by so many people.”
“The common things that come up are just how generous he was how kind he was” said Webster. “He was the type of person who could make a friend instantly out of whoever he talked to. He would be selling something on Kijiji and all of a sudden chatting with that person and they’re his friend now. He was just that type of magnetic personality. His friends also joked that he was a legend because he was just known for having such a big charismatic personality.”
“Wade was everyone’s best friend” said his brother Shayne in a statement to the Times. “When people would first meet Wade they were always amazed by his great smile and caring personality …This sudden death has left everyone trying to find answers and we will all miss his big hugs witty sense of humour and larger than life personality.”
Those friends and family both individuals and representatives of the skiing and snowboarding community that Wade had been part of have so far raised more than $40000 at press time in the week since his death on Jan. 14.
The funds raised are expected to help support Wade’s family his wife Emily and their unborn baby due in April.
Emily told the Times that Wade was the “[s]weetest most friendly person. Someone you gravitate towards and need to be friends with. [He] got along with everyone.”
Wade grew up in Kinmount and at about age eight began spending winters at Sir Sam’s ski hill where he fell in love with snowboarding.
“A love that stuck with him ‘til the end” Emily told the Times. Wade went to Haliburton Highlands Secondary School for some time and worked at Pinestone Resort.
When Wade and Emily Johnston met at Dagmar Ski Resort where they both worked it was to both of them love at first sight. They loved adventures outdoors weekends of mini-golf or exploring new towns and places Emily said. They began dating in November 2010 and became engaged five years later celebrating two marriage ceremonies: one in March 2016 and one in September 2017. Wedding photos show them holding snowboards and posing happily in the snow. Their first baby which Emily called “our little miracle baby” is due April 22 2020.
“He’s been a passionate snowboarder for years and years that was something him and Emily used to do all the time” said Webster. “One thing the family wants is for his love of snowboarding to be passed on and for his friends that are snowboarding to have that be a positive memory of him.”
Wade was an operations-park employee who had worked seasonally for 13 summers for the City of Markham beginning in 2006. Due to his hard work and dedication according to City of Markham spokesperson Jennifer Yap he soon joined the Cultural Practices Team.
“Wade brought his best every day and in doing so brought out the best in everyone around him” said Yap. “Wade was a people person who you naturally gravitated to seeking his advice sense of humour and friendship.”
Describing him as an avid outdoorsman Yap said “In his words Wade was exactly where he wanted to be and said ‘I love working outside on the ski hill in the winter as much as I love working outside on the fields in the summer.’”
The City of Markham flew a flag at half-staff at all city facilities after hearing of Wade’s death a gesture they make for current employees and which they made for Wade because of his longtime summer employment with the city and the expectation he would return this summer. The flags remained lowered until sunset the day of his funeral.
In a statement to the Times and posted on the Dagmar Ski Resort’s social media pages representatives of the ski resort said they are broken-hearted.
“It it with indescribable sadness and pain that we mourn the tragic loss of our beloved friend and colleague Wade Hartin” read the statement in part. “Dagmar is a tight-knit family that loves and cares for one another and losing one of our own has been and continues to be devastating. We grieve for his beautiful wife and our dear friend Emily and their unborn baby child Baby Hartin. Dagmar will never be the same without you Wade we love you and you will forever be in our hearts.”
Gloria Yip spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development said the department was notified of the fatality on Jan. 14.
“At this time the circumstances surrounding the investigation cannot be confirmed” she said. “Our investigation is ongoing.”
Yip said two requirements – when an inspector requires something from an employer – had been issued to the employer Ski Dagmar Resort. She did not clarify what the requirement was but said examples of such can include a requirement for documentation information or to not disturb the scene.
A funeral service for Wade who lived in Lindsay at the time of his death took place on Jan. 21. A GoFundMe page to help support Emily and Wade’s baby has been organized at https://www.gofundme.com/f/helping-emilybaby-after-the-loss-of-wade.