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Meet the ‘Ultimate Leafs Fan’ attending every single game this season

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Emily English, CTV’s Your Morning Producer


Published Thursday, February 7, 2019 7:53AM EST

Mike Wilson is on a mission to go to every single Toronto Maple Leafs game this season – home and away. That’s 82 games, and a whole lot of travel.

It’s his latest way of paying tribute to his favourite hockey team. The first was amassing an impressive collection of memorabilia in his Toronto home.

“I like to think of it as preserving history and I like to think of myself as the gatekeeper to the pieces,” Wilson told CTV’s Your Morning host, Ben Mulroney.

His impressive basement man cave now houses only part of his collection. The rest was sold to the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa for nearly $2 million.

The hope is that one day they will be able to make it into a permanent exhibit. Once dubbed the “Ultimate Leafs Fan” by ESPN, Wilson hopes to stay involved and be able to speak about the history behind the pieces.

“Why I did it was with the understanding that it would be on display,” said Wilson. “It’d be for other people to share. I think that’s the right thing to do.”

One of his most impressive pieces is still in his home – the 1962 Stanley Cup banner. It is the only one of the original banners left. The rest were used as paint tarps during summer cleanups at Maple Leaf Gardens. This one was saved by an upholsterer who worked there, and eventually made it into Wilson’s collection.

“It did get a lot of attention when it came out because it was thought they were all destroyed,” said Wilson.

His focus has now shifted from his collection to what he’s calling “The Ultimate Road Trip.” Dallas, Washington, Winnipeg and more are already ticked off. If the Leafs are there, so is Wilson.

He’s easily identifiable at the games. His shirt always bears his Ultimate Leafs fan logo. He wants to be recognizable because a big reason behind the trip is to talk to other fans.

“It’s been overwhelming because of how embedded this hockey club is in families and people throughout the nation,” said Wilson. “Everywhere I go, there’s Leafs fans everywhere.”

He has an active social media account where he encourages people to get in touch and find out how to connect with him at games. In every arena he goes to, he picks a spot where he can meet up with others to swap stories. At home games, he can always be found at the Draught Deck on the third level at every second intermission.

“The fans are passionate,“ said Wilson. “They start telling me their family stories and about how deep it runs in the family. It’s just been amazing.”

Wilson’s already written a book about his collection, titled “Inside the Room with the Ultimate Leafs Fan”. After his adventures this season, he may plan on another creative venture. There’s even talk of a documentary.

As for now, his focus is getting through the season.

“Get through the 82 games first. Make the playoffs and then we’ll see what happens.”

Mike Wilson can be found on Instagram @theultimateleafsfan and Twitter @ULeafsFan

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LIFESTYLES

Nobody would give this teen with autism a job, so he started a business

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A 17-year-old Australian teen with autism started his own business cleaning garbage bins after he was rejected for other jobs.

“I searched and applied for jobs for two years and did not get one interview,” Clay Lewis told CTV News Channel from his home in Brisbane, Australia.

As of January, his business, Clay’s Bin Cleaning, has made more than AUS$6,000 and has roughly 70 clients.

He charges AUS$10 for the first bin and AUS$5 for each additional bin. He regularly offers free bin cleaning to local charities.

“I’m very proud of him,” his mother Laura Lewis told CTV News Channel. “I knew that he could do it.”

She added that employers were unable to “see past their own judgments” and made “unfair assumptions” about Clay’s competency because of his disability.

Clay said that he is looking forward to attending his high school prom and may put some of his earnings toward funding a trip to Abu Dhabi to watch his first Formula 1 race.

Lewis said that Clay’s story has given hope to a lot of people, particularly parents of children with autism.

“All Clay is doing is living a 17-year-old’s ordinary life: working, going to school, having a girlfriend and hanging out with friends,” she said.

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LIFESTYLES

Meet Jelly Bean, the deaf canine contender for World’s Most Amazing Dog title

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CTVNews.ca Staff, with a report from CTV London’s Sacha Long


Published Friday, February 22, 2019 7:50PM EST

A deaf Ontario dog is in the semi-finals of the World’s Most Amazing Dog competition, an interactive Facebook Watch show where dogs compete for a US$100,000 prize.

Jelly Bean, a three-year-old Australian cattle dog who lives in London, Ont., can catch and pass a ball with his front paws and jump on a stranger’s back. He follows the instructions of his handler, Melissa Mellitt, by sight because cannot hear.

“He is so highly intelligent,” Mellitt told CTV London. “He has no idea that he’s deaf. He doesn’t care. He’s just as happy as any other dog.”

Mellitt adopted Jelly Bean from the Deaf Dog Rescue of America when he was five months old. He has since gone on to travel across Canada as a professional stunt dog and works with Mellitt as an assistant to help rehabilitate fearful dogs.

“We knew that he had this potential,” she said. “This is exactly what I knew he was going to be.”

Mellitt hopes that Jelly Bean’s performance in the competition will help shatter some of the stigma around deaf dogs, who are often believed to be ill tempered and incapable of being trained. Mellitt said breeders euthanize many of them at birth, but she believes that Jelly Bean’s inability to hear is his “cool factor.”

If Jelly Bean wins the competition, Mellitt said that she plans to give half of the winnings to the Deaf Dog Rescue of America.

Viewers of the World’s Most Amazing Dogs competition get to vote on who should move to the finals.

“I think he could go all the way,” Mellitt said.

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Funeral held for sailor in V-J Day Times Square kiss photo

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NEWPORT, R.I. — The sailor photographed kissing a woman in Times Square at the end of World War II was mourned Friday at a funeral in Rhode Island.

George Mendonsa’s funeral was held at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, and he was buried at St. Columba Cemetery in Middletown.

Mendonsa died Sunday after he fell and had a seizure at an assisted living facility, his daughter said. He was 95 and leaves behind his wife of 72 years.

Mendonsa kissed Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on Aug. 14, 1945, known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered.

The two had never met.

Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photo of the kiss became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. First published in Life magazine, it’s called “V-J Day in Times Square,” but is known to most as “The Kiss.”

Another photographer, Victor Jorgensen, who was in the Navy, also captured the moment in a similar photo. The moment has been shared widely and is often seen on posters.

Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple.

Mendonsa enlisted in the Navy in 1942, after high school. He served on a destroyer during the war.

Mendonsa was on leave when the end of the war was announced. When he was honoured at the Rhode Island State House in 2015, Mendonsa said Friedman reminded him of nurses on a hospital ship that he saw care for wounded sailors.

On Monday, a statue depicting the kiss in Sarasota, Florida, was vandalized. The phrase “.MeToo” was spray-painted on the leg of the statue.

Friedman said in a 2005 interview with the Veterans History Project that it wasn’t her choice to be kissed.

“The guy just came over and kissed or grabbed,” she told the Library of Congress.

She added, “It was just somebody really celebrating. But it wasn’t a romantic event.”

Friedman fled Austria during the war as a 15-year-old girl. She died in 2016 at age 92 at a hospital in Richmond, Virginia, from complications of old age.

After the war, Mendonsa became a commercial fisherman, like his father, and worked until he was 82. He died two days before his 96th birthday.

Survivors include his wife, Rita; and his children, Ronald Mendonsa and Sharon Molleur, and their families.

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