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Saanich Second World War veteran celebrates his 109th birthday

The Saanich man is one of Canada’s oldest World War Two veterans

Albert Middleton toasted to his 109th birthday following the tradition of popping the champagne before cutting the cake.

The Second World War Veteran celebrated his milestone birthday on March 11 at his residence, the Veterans Memorial Lodge in Saanich surrounded by his family, close friends, and fellow residents.

“It’s absolutely amazing to be able just to say that my dad is alive at 109, but my goal is to be better than my dad at 109. Everyone needs a goal is what dad used to say,” said his daughter, Darlene Van Raay.

Every year Van Raay visits her father to celebrate his birthday.

“I usually come to visit him three times a year and it’s beautiful coming to Victoria for a visit. I call it my home away from home,” she added.

Albert Middleton toasts with his daughter Darlene Van Raay to his 109th birthday. (Ella Matte/News Staff)

Middleton was born in 1915 in England along with his three siblings. He moved to Canada as a war orphan when he was only a young teen. In 1943 he joined the Royal Canadian Air Force and served overseas during the Second World War.

“I feel prouder all the time that the veterans are still with us because they’re very quickly not lasting. I’m very lucky that my dad was a veteran,” exclaimed Van Raay.

Post-war, the veteran bought a hobby farm of a little more than 26 hectares. Middleton worked in factories in Ontario as a manufacturer of farm equipment, but while he worked full time he operated his farm enjoying a steady stream of livestock such as pigs and cows. The 109-year-old was an enthusiastic and progressive hobbyist, buying a tractor when most farmers were still using horses and ploughshares.

The centenarian was married and widowed twice. He also had three children including, youngest child Van Raay and her oldest brother who are both still alive.

Before moving to the Veterans Memorial Lodge, Middleton lived on his own in Victoria. He began participating in the day program for veterans in October 2016 and moved to the lodge in November 2016 at the age of 101.

According to Statistics Canada, the centenarian population increased by 16 per cent between 2016 and 2021. Since the report, more than 9,500 people are 100 years of age or older in Canada. They make up 0.03 per cent of the population.

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About the Author: Ella Matte

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