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Youngil Park

Born in South Korea, arrived in Canada in 1992

Mr. Park in his bachelor days on an outing
outside of Seoul, early 1980s.

Mr. Park with his sons at Niagara Falls shortly after arriving in Canada.

Although they were white-collar workers back home, the Parks
believed their sons would have more opportunities abroad.

While his wife, a clothing and toy designer, easily secured a job in her field,
Mr. Park, who had been a corporate office worker, wasn't so lucky.

Already in his 40s, he struggled
to learn English and find work.

After several years of frustration, Mr. Park seized the opportunity to
apprentice with a Korean shoe cobbler who was approaching retirement.

Behind the counter of his own business, Mr. Park has
carved out a place for himself in his adopted country.

Learn more about
Mr. Park


As he gets older, Mr. Park often toys with the idea of working less.
For now, he's still in the shop six days a week.

In addition to shoe repair, Mr. Park also mends purses
and belts, replaces zippers and buckles, and cuts keys.

What was once challenging work that resulted in
many injuries has become second nature to Mr. Park.

Mr. Park repairs and cleans all manner of footwear.

Known for his quality workmanship and reasonable prices,
Mr. Park carries on the Tino's tradition as Bloorcourt's last shoe cobbler.

Most of the machinery in the shop was installed by its namesake,
Tino, an Italian immigrant who started the business in the 1950s.

Not much has changed at Tino's in the decades since it opened.

Canada became a popular destination for Korean immigrants starting in the late
1960s, after new regulations made it easier for non-caucasians to immigrate.
Opening or buying small businesses like Tino's was commonplace.

Mr. Park in Seoul, shortly before moving to Canada.