Princess Diana’s visit to Toronto may have happened 26 years ago, but Gloria Chaim remembers the trip as if it were yesterday.
Chaim is the deputy clinical director in the Child, Youth and Family Program at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and she met the Princess of Wales when she toured the Addiction Research Foundation in 1991.
“I was a bit nervous because of all the pomp and circumstance of greeting a princess,” Chaim said.
“But she just put people at ease as she walked through the building.”
Chaim said Diana was lovely and had made a point of spending one-on-one time with clients at the centre.
“She was very clear that she wanted to have time to speak to the clients,” she said.
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While on the tour, Diana also visited Casey House, a centre helping people with HIV/AIDS.
Diana visited Canada on three royal tours but her trip in 1991 would be her last.
In 1997, the princess was killed in a fatal car accident in France at the age of 36.
Chaim said she will never forget Diana’s visit in ’91.
“She was a really special person,” she said. “Not just because she was royalty, but because she used her position to try and open a conversation that had been really closed in the world.”