Canada’s oldest veteran celebrated ahead of Remembrance Day

A cup of coffee was 15 cents and two cans of peanut butter cost 35 cents the year Reuben Sinclair was born.

“I’m about 111 years young,” Sinclair said proudly with a smile.

He is the oldest man in Canada, born in 1911. He’s also the country’s oldest veteran.

On Thursday he was honored during an early Remembrance Day ceremony at Talmud Torah Elementary School in Vancouver – an event he was proud to return to with his family after attending the year before.

Decades ago he served in the Second World War as a wireless operator, training pilots overseas to take off and land in the dark.

“I saved a lot of lives being able to report to the Europeans,” he said.

Children at the school say it’s hard to imagine what life was like 100 years ago.

“I think the world has changed almost completely for 111 years ago,” said student Chana Franken.

“I think of the world as black and white because that’s what I’ve seen 111 years ago,” said fellow student Aria Bender.

Sinclair’s family has expanded over the decades. He has three children, six grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

“We’re all very proud of him, he’s just a lovely man. You see it, he’s just very good natured, always happy,” said his daughter, Nadine Lipetz.

“For me as a senior to have a living parent, it is unbelievable.”

Her father still proudly lives at home and is quick to point out he doesn’t take any medication. He also jokes about his remaining head of hair, something he credits to his relaxed attitude.

Humour aside, students at the school recognized Thursday’s message was a serious one.

“It’s one of the most important days of the year because there was so many brave people who fought for our freedoms and equalities,” said Bender, explaining the importance Remembrance Day.

And if you ask Sinclair for his secret to living well past a century, he shares one piece of advice: “I never worry, always happy. If you worry, you lose your hair. If you got a problem, fix it. Remember that.”

It’s advice his family says he reminds them of each time they get together.

“It’s true, he doesn’t worry. I’ve learned that too. If you have a problem, go with it. Whether you worry not it’s not going to make a difference,” said he daughter. 

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