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The ‘Agnus Lina Cook Bursary’

Agnes was born in Liverpool England in 1899 where her family was in the cartage business. This was a port city shipping throughout Europe and also known for its railway systems. Liverpool became home to the world’s first inter-urban rail link to another city, Manchester, through the ‘Liverpool Manchester Railway’. The ‘Liverpool Overhead Railway’ was the first to use electricity above the train for power. It was here where her father plied his trade. He was a gamble and at the railway yards he acted as a ‘bookie’. This resulted in the family either being exceeding rich at times or running from the bailiff during poor times.

She attended a business school in England and found herself working in a munitions factory during WWII. It was after the First World War she struck out on her own and left for Canada following closely on the heels of her aunt who provided her with a place to stay. These were tough times during her young years, but she managed and during her spare time learned how to play bridge.

She met her husband on a blind date. He was visiting from Louisville, Kentucky and after a short courtship they married and had two children. The first born was a daughter and then one and a half years later a son. Her husband worked for the ‘British Drug House’, since absorbed by a larger pharmaceutical company, and he was reasonably successful. In Weston, now part of Toronto, he purchased a home at 143 King Street, once the home of the appliance manufacturing ‘Moffett’ family whose business was on Jane Street near Weston Road. He was much better at managing money than Agnes.

Agnes took after her father. Over the course of time she became more and more of a gambler. She did not manage money very well and she likely knew it. She went to Buffalo with a friend one day and would not have a drink at the bar because she was afraid that might be all she could spend on someone’s Christmas gift. On another occasion, she refused to pay an extra dollar for the ‘Simmons Scamper’ shoes, popular among youngsters of the day, and her son had to earn the extra dollar for the $3.95 shoes. She often made the point to her son that ‘A penny saved is a Penny Earned’, one of the most common phrases among those living through the depression.

She had become a very good bridge player and enjoyed a ‘point game’ with a few nickels going to the winner. As time passed she became an exception player winning or placing very high in tournaments and this lead to her being acknowledged as a ‘Life Master’ by the ACBL. Bridge became her passion and compulsion. She would play right through the night calling to apologize to the children for her tardiness.

In later years, her compassion for her family and their well being was very obvious with her invitation to family members to be cared for by her at her home. Her Aunt had helped her many years before and she returned courtesy by offering to care for them in her home in the last years of their lives. Her father-in-law also needed assistance and she gave him a place to stay during his last years too.

Agnes is remembered for her very diverse character. She passed away in 1996 at the age of 97.

She was much loved by her son who has provided this award in her honour and memory, hoping that you take ‘calculated risks’ in the pursuit of a better life too. Follow your passions as did Agnes Lina Cook and obtain a good education to help you achieve success.