84-year-old student takes GO Transit to class

Victor Parker travelled by train and bus between Toronto and Peterborough to earn his degree.

Jul 16, 2018

For his entire life, Victor Parker has been a man on a mission. He has vowed to never stop learning. Transit has proved to be a big part of that journey and, for the past 14 years, GO Transit has helped him accomplish one of his ultimate goals.

The 84 year-old had been making his way from his home in Toronto to Peterborough and back by way of subway, train and bus at least once a week. His travels and, of course, his hard work paid off when he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Indigenous Studies from Trent University in June.

Victor Parker 1

Victor Parker at Danforth GO Station with his Indigenous Studies degree from Trent University.

“Sometimes I worked on essays on the train,” Parker said of his long commute each way. “Sometimes I read textbooks from my course.”

That thirst for knowledge actually began when he first graduated from university with a degree in social work before joining the Royal Canadian Air Force in the 1970s. Soon after, he drove a bus for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) for more than a decade and even worked as a security guard at Maple Leaf Gardens.

While pursuing his part-time studies at Trent, Parker also chose to study abroad in Thailand. There he picked up lessons in Buddhism, massage therapy and even went bungee jumping.

He hasn’t owned a car in years and said he couldn’t afford to rent one every time he needed to travel to school. He certainly won’t necessarily miss the lengthy trek to and from classes every week at this point. However, he did appreciate the time on board GO trains and buses.

“I was totally focusing on the task at hand, which was get there, be there on time and come back,” Parker said. “Everything was great with the way the system went.”