Saturday, April 18, 2015


From homestead to home rule, Mary Kirley has had a front row seat to upheaval and triumph around the world.

Growing up on a small farm near the town of Lindsay Ontario, her high school years were spent dreaming of escape. 

Mary moved to Toronto in 1984 to study public policy at York University. When her partner, a journalist, was offered a posting in South Africa, she couldn't say, “No”.  She had just started her first ‘real’ job as a policy analyst for the Ontario government, but the call of Africa was too compelling. 

For the next four years Mary witnessed the crumbling of the apartheid regime, riots in the townships, the breathtaking beauty of Cape Town and the release of Nelson Mandela.

A new posting for her partner, a new part of the world, and another seismic event in history was next. Berlin, a city in flux after the collapse of Berlin Wall, and then to London, where she lived close to the home of John Keats. 

In 2007 another move took her to Beijing and into a world completely different from her own. She studied Mandarin and learned to navigate the city of 22 million on her own. "I loved being ‘on the road,’ never knowing what would happen next, a stranger in a strange place”.

Mary is currently working on a new adventure!

MARY FUN FACT: While at university she had a summer job for two years as head cook at a camp where she plated hundreds meals. She has been cooking ever since.


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