Holocaust survivor, businesswoman, downtown London, Ont., icon Fanny Goose dies

Fania “Fanny” Goose, a Holocaust survivor and downtown London icon, died Monday evening at the age of 100.

“She said, ‘once you’re over 95, you no longer count years, you just count money for retirement,’” her son Steve Garrison told Global News, “so when people are asking me ‘how old was your mother, really?’ It’s not that I’m trying to be evasive, I’m just trying to say she was very sensitive about that. She made it to 100. We had a lovely birthday celebration last December.”

Garrison, well-known in his own right as a former talk show host in the city, shared snippets of his mother’s remarkable life on Tuesday’s edition of London Live with Mike Stubbs on Global News Radio 980 CFPL.

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Fanny Goose had a wonderful childhood in Poland before the Nazis arrived and her family lost their home, Garrison explained. She was sent from “camp to camp” before ending up at a displacement camp in Germany after the end of the Second World War. From there, she could go to the U.S., Canada, or Israel.

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“[As a child] she read about Canada in the schools and always knew it was just a wonderful country,” her son explained. “There was only one problem: for you to come into these countries back then following the Second World War, it was probably more helpful for you to be married.”

Garrison says his mother and father met and were married within 24 hours.

“He was single, she was single, they knew they wanted to leave Europe and go to a better place and they both picked Canada.”

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Once settled in London, Ont., Garrison’s parents operated a clothing business door-to-door and then out of a store in the east end near the fairgrounds, before finally opening up shop downtown.

“The mecca of retail business, you had to be in downtown,” said Garrison.

“In 1963 they bought a building where Uber Cool is located now at 122 Dundas, and they opened their clothing store. That was the highlight of their lives to be in downtown London.”

Goose was also a well-known Liberal party supporter who was passionate about helping other newcomers to Canada.

READ MORE: ‘Never forget’: Preserving stories of the Holocaust as fewer survivors remain

“She reached out to many immigrants in her store, where she offered credit back then because years ago when you came to this country it was not user-friendly for immigrants,” Garrison explained.

“She did get a medal, a Queen’s jubilee medal for loving this country and embracing the country,” Garrison said.

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“She told me one of her proudest moments… is when she officially became a Canadian citizen.”

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No information has been released in regards to plans to commemorate her life, but traditional gatherings are impacted by physical distancing regulations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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