I was preparing an e-newsletter for you on an array of local and city hall issues but there is a one specific reason I’m writing to you this evening. I will send my regular update to you on Monday.
I am very saddened to share with you that Lois Lilienstein, of the beloved children’s music trio Sharon, Lois & Bram, passed away last night due to a rare form of cancer. She was at peace, surrounded by family and friends.
As part of the Toronto-based group, Lois had delighted children (and their parents) since 1978, introducing many of us to a love of music. Many of us know her best from the Elephant Show which originally aired on the CBC during the 1980s and has lived on for generations of children in reruns. It is a testament to the timeless appeal of Sharon, Lois, & Bram’s music that many of our kids, and those of us who grew up being entertained by them, can recite the “Skinnamarink” verbatim three decades later.
Lois has been recognized for her talents winning both Junos and Gemini awards during her long career. In 2002 the trio received the Order of Canada, making the Chicago-born Lois one of the few non-Canadians to receive this honour. Last year, I had the privilege of honouring their legacy as longstanding members of our Midtown community, and to children everywhere, by naming the playground at June Rowlands (Davisville) Park after Sharon, Lois and Bram along with Toronto’s only park sign shaped as an elephant. I am heartened that the Lois was able to perform at the concert for the playground naming ceremony and that her family was in attendance to watch her. That concert was a special day for my family as I know it was for many others in our neighbourhood and from other parts of our city and indeed, from across North America.
As we work as a community to move forward with more exciting improvements to this playground, I intend to find an appropriate way, with her family, to further recognize the late, and forever loved, Lois Lilienstein. Along with Bram and Sharon, Lois helped make so many childrens’ lives magical and musical. I was certainly one of those kids.
With love and condolences to her family, friends, Sharon, Bram and all who have been touched by her music,