Meet the Suppiahs
Shruti, Raj and their children, Ishaan and Amara.
I had the honour of being the first to welcome Raj and Shruti when they moved into the neighbourhood eleven years ago. As usual, I was walking Molly when this adorable brown and white fluff-ball ran over to say hello. Rico had made his welcome. Shruti quickly followed, trying to pick up Rico before he darted into the street, all while eight months pregnant.
“We had decided our two-bedroom condo would not be large enough to raise a family,” says Shruti. “So, we went looking for a new home.”
“My mother had just received her real estate licence in 2010,” said Raj. “I guess you can say we were her first customers. She showed us two different townhouses – one near Yorkdale and this one. It was a no brainer, it had to be this neighbourhood.”
“We love this neighbourhood,” said Shruti. “We have looked at getting a bigger home, but every time we think of moving, we can’t match this amazing community. This is where we want to raise our kids. It’s such a safe community – it feels like a 60s sitcom where the kids run free and you only have to call them home for dinner.”
“It’s a great location for the kids and its really convenient for me to get to my clinics downtown,” added Raj.
This is a community of entrepreneurs. If you’ve been reading this blog, you’ll find entrepreneurism is a common theme. Raj is a licensed physiotherapist who established his own business in 2011. Foundation Physiotherapy and Wellness (https://foundationphysio.com) now comprises three active downtown clinics (King St E, Edward St, and Front St W.) that provide complete health and wellness services. Even during the pandemic, the clinics are open for in-person appointments, as well as various services available virtually including virtual yoga, mental health programs, as well as naturopath and nutrition counselling.
Shruti was an event planner with an active high-tech company pre-covid. As events were cancelled over the past year, she has had to pivot and is now a remote marketing manager for CarbonCure (https://www.carboncure.com), a Canadian company based in Halifax. Carboncure Technologies is a Bill Gates Foundation Award winner for reducing carbon footprint in the concrete industry.
Shruti’s journey to Canada started with stays in Oman and Bahrain before her family settled in Canada in 1998. It was when her parents started to think about her post-secondary education that they made the decision to come to Canada.
Raj and his family moved to Canada from Singapore in 1989, first settling in Don Mills and then moving to Markham where his parents and sisters still reside. “I quickly adapted to the Canadian lifestyle,” said Raj. “I found my feet at Markham Public School in grade 5. I then went to Western for my undergrad and the McMaster for my Masters in Physiotherapy.”
“We were married in 2006,” continued Raj. “At first we focused on establishing our careers but knew we wanted a family. It’s family that holds this neighbourhood together. Our son Ishaan was born just after we moved in. He loves to play basketball or ride his bike with his friends around the neighbourhood. They just run up to the front door and stick their heads inside asking for Ishaan to come out and play. There are no pre-arranged play dates, we don’t need them.”
“Ishaan is in the gifted student program at Three Valley’s School,” says Shruti. “He’s ten and in grade five. He loves basketball, biking and tennis. We think he’s a bit of a piano savant and he loves to play chess. He’d also play Minecraft all day if we let him. Now that he’s doing home schooling online all day, we try to limit his additional screen time.”
“Amara, at seven, is all about unicorns and rainbows. She would love to spend all day singing and dancing. She is enrolled in all forms of dance – ballet, jazz, hip hop … And when she is not floating through the air, she’s in second grade at Norman Ingram School,” said Raj.
“Covid has been difficult. We’ve had to make adjustments,” said Shruti. “But it has also been a gift. We’re enjoying the extra time we have with the children exploring out beautiful neighbourhood. Things will change again when we get through the Pandemic, but some things will remain the same. I am now a remote worker. We will question if we need to be running around all the time. This new pace has a lot of advantages.”