by Adrian Knowler
The adjustment was difficult when Wakfer’s family picked up and moved to Hanover, Ontario, a town of just over 7,000 residents, in his last year of high school.
“My mom works from home, with Frank,” said Ayrton Wakfer. “He’s an English Bull Terrier. You know those triangle-headed f***s? Like Don Cherry?”
Home, for Wakfer and his family (Frank included), is now a renovated Protestant church, the last building standing in the hamlet of Hampden, Ontario. One day in March 2015, over breakfast in their Riverdale, Toronto home, the the family saw an ad in the newspaper for a 200-year-old church up north.
“‘Hey, we’re going to move there,’ my parents said. So we bought it,” recalled Wakfer. “It was so cheap. We only paid a quarter of what we got for selling the house in Toronto.”
Accustomed to attending house parties with his friends in Toronto, Wakfer found social functions to be different in his new town.
“When I moved to the country I didn’t socialize. I didn’t know anyone”, Wakfer said. He paused and laughed. “I wasn’t trying to go to country jams.”
He’s a city guy, and it’s obvious. With his tortoiseshell glasses, lilac nail polish and a bouncy haircut, Wakfer has the “hipster” look down. He fits right into his new neighborhood, Montreal’s artsy Saint-Henri. In fact, the local vibes in the city were a major consideration for Wakfer when considering Concordia University.
“I just wanted to live in Montreal, primarily,” said Wakfer on how he came to apply to Concordia. “It’s cheap. There’s fun stuff [going on].”
Wakfer’s path to Concordia, where he’s double-majoring in Journalism and Western Society and Culture, was not painless, however. A February 2016 snowboarding accident at a mountain near Hanover left his right shoulder separated from his collarbone, and Wakfer missed the rest of the winter sports season recuperating.
“I was immobilized for two weeks, I had no motion or strength on that side,” said Wakfer.
As soon as he regained mobility, he made the best of his new situation. During two months’ rehabilitation, Wakfer found himself enjoying the regular physical activity. When he was back to full strength, Wakfer, already an avid cyclist, joined a bike club. He trained and raced all summer, losing 60 pounds in the process. He also delved into his studies, improving his writing and getting accepted into Concordia.
If Wakfer has shown anything over the last year, it’s his ability to adapt and make the best of things. This transition to university life should prove to be more of a cruise.