The Do-Over: Stories of how people in Toronto profoundly changed their lives – Toronto

Deciding to make a profound change in your life is not the same for everyone.

For many it’s rare to be able to pinpoint the moment in which your life changes forever, but for others it’s a defining moment that doesn’t always wait for the start of a new year.  

Whether it’s a choice you made or something that was decided for you, CBC Radio’s Metro Morning strove to capture the nuances of starting anew in its week long series, The Do-Over.

You can listen to the experiences of five people in Toronto here, or catch up below:

Canada’s Annamay Pierse was a swim star known for her signature race — the 200 metre breaststroke, for which she set the world record in 2009. (Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press)

​Annamay Pierse, a Canadian swimmer and former world-record holder, kickstarted the Do-Over series after being forced to retire from competition. She was bitten by a mosquito while competing at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India and contracted dengue fever. 

The disease weakened her enough that she realized she couldn’t participate in the 2012 London Olympics. Pierse is now an elementary school teacher, a mother of two, and a member of Highbrau, a Toronto-based comedy troupe.

Richard Atkinson spent 32 years behind bars before he traded in a life of crime for art. (Eric Fefferman)

Richard Atkinson, a former career criminal in Toronto, left a life of crime and turned to teaching boxing and pottery to young people at Alexandra Park.

Robert Buren, who lost the use of his legs in a 2008 accident, placed second in the Ironman World Competition in Kona, Hawaii in 2016. (Robert Buren/Ironman World Championship)

Robert Buren’s life changed forever on Oct. 5, 2008 while mountain biking with a friend in Burlington, Ont. — he suffered a spinal injury that left him a paraplegic.

Eight years later, he became the first paraplegic Canadian to compete in the Ironman World Championship.

Michael Bryant, former attorney general of Ontario, disappeared from public life in 2011 after Crown prosecutors withdrew all criminal charges against him. (Submitted by Michael Bryant)

Former attorney general of Ontario Michael Bryant’s life changed forever in August 2009 following a deadly encounter with a Toronto cyclist. 

The once rising star in provincial politics is now a legal aid lawyer at a Brampton bail court and is the new executive director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. 

Janine Cole, right,…

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