Mina at her best: 'There’s an old man in Aldershot who just loves your shoes now!'

By Pepper Parr

August 1st, 2023



In the Lives Lived section of the Globe and Mail of today’s date. We have copied the article and set it out below. Enjoy.
Mina would never in her life think that she would be remembered this way.


Born Oct. 4, 1967, in Brighton, England; died April 4, 2023, in Hamilton, of hemorrhagic stroke; aged 55.

Charity begins at home – and Mina Wahidi was most at home when it came to charity. Wilhelmina Devoy was the age of 3 when she arrived in Canada with her Irish parents, who came seeking better economic opportunities. Her siblings, Desmond Jr., Dympna Jr., and Kieran, were born later in Canada.

Kindness came easily to Mina. Like any teenager, she enjoyed going to dances and acting in plays at her high school in Brampton, Ont. But she also loved to visit seniors’ residences, never wanting anyone to be lonely.

At 18, during a trip to Haiti where she worked as a volunteer, her worldview changed forever when she saw an infant die in front of her.
Her family noticed a change in her upon her return. She became more focused on how she wanted to give back and was more socially conscious.

In 1992, she became an auxiliary police officer with Peel Regional Police. She enjoyed working patrol during parades, making school visits and helping with domestic violence calls.

Mina met Farid Wahidi while working as a security guard at a Brampton mall. He was an Afghan refugee working at a rug shop. Not only was Farid handsome, but she was drawn to his Omar Sharif-like charm, as well as his maturity and caring nature. In 1998, they married. Their first child, Sarah, was born a year later, and two more children, Mariam and Bilal, came to round out the family she loved.

Mina taught her children to help those in need but she was also “the silliest person you would ever meet. She would make the best jokes at the worst times,” Sarah recalled. She was always there for Bilal’s soccer games – even if, after five minutes, she might fall asleep on the sidelines because she was so tired. Her children remember how hard she worked to help solve their problems, even if it meant staying up until 1 a.m. to find a solution.

Apart from her children, Mina’s lasting legacy is the Compassion Society of Halton Region, which began in 2000 as a single rack of donated clothing in the basement of her home. When the clothing collection outgrew her basement, it moved to a stand-alone facility in Burlington. To this day, the charity offers not only clothing to those in need but also food, toiletries and jobsearch help.

“She was what we needed in this world,” said Sarah, speaking to a Compassion Society gathering after Mina’s death.

But Mina could get a little caught up in her charity work. Once, her brother left a pair of shoes in her hallway. When he went looking for them the next morning, Mina’s eyes bulged in surprise. She had donated them. “Oh, Desmond,” she said. “There’s an old man in Aldershot who just loves your shoes now!”
In 2009 Mina was voted Burlington Citizen of the Year, and in 2012 was awarded the Queen’s Jubilee Medal for her volunteer work.

In 2021 she helped found Halton Refugee Help Centre. That winter, she collected coats for Afghan refugees to help them endure their first Canadian winter and blew past her goal of 1,000 coats.

Despite her sunny outlook, Mina did have her own mental-health issues. She struggled with the loss of her mother, her marriage and the effects of a concussion. She considered suicide – but her chihuahua Royce caught her attention at just the right moment and she took him for a walk instead. Mina decided soon after to open up about her struggles.

Earlier this year, she collapsed in the lobby of her Oakville apartment building. In the hospital that evening, Sarah told her mother she could rest now.

For a woman who provided comfort in a time of need to so many, it was time for her to go home.

The article was written by her brother

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2 comments to Mina at her best: ‘There’s an old man in Aldershot who just loves your shoes now!’

  • Heather Code-Burrell

    I remember Mina as an 18 year old with a very tender heart to the needs of the vulnerable. The world is a at a loss for her caring soul.

  • Philip Waggett

    Mina–rest in peace knowing that you made a real difference to many people’s lives. Truly a life well lived.