David and Mona.
David and Mona Matthews are retired teachers who live in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Born in Aberystwyth, David spent his childhood years in Borth, Ceredigion. After teacher-training in Trinity College, Carmarthen and two years of teaching in England, he immigrated to Manitoba, Canada in 1967. In Bowsman, he taught high school for two years during which he met his wife, Mona. In 1969 they married and, seeking further adventure, they moved to a Tlicho community between Great Slave Lake and Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories. Instead of spending the intended two years there, they remained in the Territories for 37 years working in the education field and with the people of the Tlicho First Nations.
Mona, a French-Canadian from the farming community of St. Eustache, was raised one of thirteen children and received her teacher training at the University of Manitoba. She met David when he was looking for a person to teach him French. Instead of learning the language, David fell in love with a beautiful woman who agreed to be his eternal French interpreter and translator. David and Mona have three children, Ioan, Suzanne and Stephanie who they have taken to Wales on dozens of occasions. They now have seven grandchildren. Mona continues to be involved in New Grads in Calgary, enjoying hiking, XC-skiing, English and French book clubs and Mahjongg frenzies!
David feels that one cannot be born and raised in Wales and then move to another country without experiencing hiraeth, a longing for those things Welsh. “It is unfortunate but a truth that while living in your own backyard, things, important things, are often taken for granted and not explored and understood”. David and Mona walked the Wales Coastal Path in 2014 for cancer research and raised a combined total of $21,000 that was distributed between the Velindre and Macmillan charities in Wales, the Childhood Cancer Foundation in Canada, and the American Association for Cancer Research in the USA.
Today, David, as co-chair of the North American Festival of Wales, Calgary, 2016, along with fellow members of the Calgary Welsh Society, is working hard to make this festival one of the best ever!