A Long Time Between Postings This Time

Posted on Friday 18 October 2013

Yep – once again it’s been a while, not sure whether it was because I was too busy doing other stuff, too lazy, or too something else…. it just happens.

Well I have to say it is that time of year again, Fall is upon us and soon Winter will arrive and with it Christmas… I can tell it’s Fall because yet again the annual search for Gipp Forster is underway. It’s the #1 reason people are coming to my website again…

I had hoped by now, that Dale Baglio would have finished polishing Gipp’s second CD and put it up on CDBaby, but it isn’t there yet. I’m really glad I managed to get a copy through Gipps connection to Senior Living… Dale also told me that he had enough material to publish a third CD from extra material that he and Gipp were working on. He had hopes to have it out over the summer, in plenty of time for Christmas, but alas nothing yet.

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Rick @ 10:00 am
Filed under: My Time
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More on Gipp’s Passing

Posted on Thursday 18 April 2013

I’ve been given permission to publish portions of several emails that I recieved on the 16th – shortly after Gipp Forster had passed away.

I am putting them up here for both those looking for background as well as those who wanted to know more about his passing.

He will be greatly missed…

From Dale Baglio

Very sad news to report.  Gipp Forster passed away yesterday morning at about 11am at home, and in the arms of his wife, Donna. Obviously, his health declined very rapidly from when I last saw him about five weeks ago.  I knew his time was perhaps limited, but none of us realized he’d be taken so soon.

His memorial service is scheduled for April 26th at Gateway Baptist Church here in Victoria.


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Rick @ 1:00 am
Filed under: Gipp Forster
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Off-Season Santa

Posted on Wednesday 17 April 2013

In memory of Gipp and for all of those looking for more info on his life… with permission from the author Barry Bowman

I wrote a little piece about Gipp last year before we got the bad news. It’s from a column I write for a paper in Saskatchewan…


Santa Clause happens to be a very good friend of mine and he lives just a few miles away. Of course, during the off-season, he goes by a different name since it would be awkward to hail him as Santa as he goes about his day mowing his lawn or shopping for groceries. But if you happen to bump into him there’s no denying you’ve met Santa.

Okay, his “other” name is “Gipp” Forster and, if you met him you’d agree he is the living embodiment of Santa, with his white collar-length hair, perfect Santa beard, his twinkling eyes and, well, ample girth. But it’s his voice, a resonant, rich baritone tinged with a hint of huskiness that defines the man. You might have heard his voice on his annual syndicated Christmas program “It Feels Like Christmas” heard across Canada or on radio and TV commercials and narrations over the years. By the way, that’s Reverend Gipp Forster.

But back in the early 60’s Doug “Gipp” Forster was a gang member in Ottawa.  He often carried a gun and always carried a knife tucked into his boot. He ran with a crowd of similar small-time toughs, generally evading the law for one reason or another. Even back then he was called “The Reverend” because, in spite of his criminal culture, he often read and quoted from the Bible. Eventually he turned his life around and went on to become an ordained minister; not your average minister but a “street pastor”. Gipp knew the streets and understood the dilemmas facing the people who populated the downtown areas after dark. He became well known and respected by them and eventually formed a street ministry he dubbed The Mustard Seed.  Soon after, it branched out as a food bank which now feeds thousands and exists today in Victoria as well as Calgary. Gipp is retired now but still preaches regularly at a local Baptist church; his wife, Donna, also works diligently to help the disenfranchised on the street. Two remarkable people with a deep well of commitment. But back to Santa.

Every December around this time of year, Gipp hauls out an astonishing array of Christmas decorations to adorn their home. The neighbors have also joined in and the transportation on their block every year is amazing. Not only that, but the Forster’s garage is equally bedecked with a Santa’s Workshop theme and every evening, during the season, you’ll find Gipp on duty greeting families who bring their kids to sit on Santa’s knee. Recently, since his legs are showing their age, Santa’s helpers have been showing up to string lights and assist in this ritual and, predictably, their block regularly wins awards in the annual display contests. To Gipp Forster, Christmas is not just one season out of the year. Hop in his car mid-summer and you’ll be treated to a regular mix of Christmas music from his CD player! Of course! He’s Santa!

One summer day when Gipp and Donna were visiting us, Elliot, our neighbor’s six year-old son, happened to drop by to see if our daughter wanted to come out and play. Seizing the moment, and winking at Gipp, I asked him to come in and say hi to Santa who was sitting across from me in his golf shirt and jeans. We waited for the moment as he peeked around the door and beheld the old gentleman himself. Instantly he turned and raced back outside hollering for his little buddy to get over here! The two returned and approached Gipp reverently taking turns speaking to him. Finally Elliot asked: “Santa, how old are you?” After a moment’s reflection, Gipp softly replied: “As old as Christmas Elliott, as old as Christmas.” A small moment, I admit, but an unforgettable moment.


May your Christmas this year be equally unforgettable.

Barry Bowman

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Rick @ 4:43 pm
Filed under: Gipp Forster
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Gipp Forster is Gone

Posted on Wednesday 17 April 2013

Sadly, I must tell you all that I received an email last night from Dale Baglio ( Gipp’s Producer ) who informed me, that Gipp Forster passed away yesterday.

I have asked permission to post the information I recieved from several sources and will do so once I get the go ahead.

I can tell you that he had been diagnosed at least a couple of months back with cancer of the esophagus.

I did find one article online, that I am posting here – it comes from The Times Colonist in Victoria BC.

Mustard Seed founder Gipp Forster dies


Forster, an ordained minister, worked the streets serving Victoria’s down and out. He loved Christmas, looked like Santa and the Ponderosa Place home he shared with wife Donna was a highlight for those on Christmas light-up tours.

Gipp Forster, the founder of the Mustard Street Church and food bank, died Monday — his birthday — at age 76.

He had been suffering from cancer of the esophagus.He was regular contributor to Senior Living magazine.

And he exhibited his flair for storytelling on the radio program Ramblings, carried on CFAX as well as other stations in Canada and the U.S.

“When I came to Victoria in the 1970s, he was a street pastor. Then he brought together the idea of a church, which would become the Mustard Street Church and, from it, an offshoot was the food bank,” said Mel Cooper, former owner of CFAX.

Later, Cooper hired Forster to spin tales on the radio, and this was a perfect fit for the natural storyteller.

“They were well thought out,” Cooper said. “He was quite a good writer with a marvellous way of presenting.”

Forster met his wife, Donna, when she was a volunteer at the Mustard Seed food bank.

“He was just amazing,” Donna said Tuesday. “From my perspective, he was the kind of guy I wanted to get to know and when I saw him, I knew I was going to marry him.”

They were married for 23 years.

Donna describes Gipp as “probably the most gentle man I ever knew. He was supportive — he let me fly.”

His greatest achievement was establishing the Mustard Street Church and food bank, she said. Sister churches sprang up in Calgary and Edmonton.

He cared about street people, Cooper said.

“Gipp was aware of the problems. He’d seen them. He cared for people who were in jeopardy or had problems,” Cooper said. “This was his way of life. He didn’t work for money.”

Former CFAX announcer Barry Bowman said that Forster was “almost a brother to me.”

“He was one of the most humble, self-effacing men you’d ever meet and he was constantly surprised at attention he received,” Bowman said.

“He wasn’t aware of the impact he made in this community and that impact was giant.”

Forster served the disenfranchised people of Victoria in alleys and doorways, hoping to make a positive impact on their lives.

“He was helping people that nobody else would approach,” Bowman said.

While his heart ached for those facing so much need, it sang when the festive season arrived.

Everybody who knew Forster knew how much he loved Christmas. Aside from the spectacular decorations at his home, Gipp often played Christmas music in his car all year-round, Bowman said.

“He had almost a child-like wonder of what was going on in life,” Bowman said. “He embraced a lot of fantasy of what was once good and wholesome.”

On his website, Forster seemed philosophical about aging, saying he had “developed a quiet acceptance of circumstances and trials that seem to pop up without warning, and a sense of humour to make the best of a bad situation.”

A memorial service is planned for April 26 at Gateway Baptist Church, starting at 1:30 p.m.


© Copyright 2013


One of Canada’s Greatest Unknown Treasures is gone…

Rick @ 1:21 pm
Filed under: Gipp Forster
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Easy Apple Email Signatures

Posted on Friday 1 March 2013

So, I’ve started off in pursuit of another dream – a company that offers amazing products which are all natural and organic and of course has an amazing business opportunity – it’s called EssanteOrganics… but that’s not what this posting is about – it’s about getting half decent signatures for my apple mail.app!  😆

With any new endeavour, making or changing your signature line to advertise the fact or company is an essential element in your  plan. It’s simple, gets the word out, and it costs nothing…

So that was my plan with my Apple mail ( mail.app ) I’ve done this before for other efforts, this should be no different… but boy was I surprised!

Pretty well all the solutions I cam across had you writing code and hacking into the signature folder on a previously created signature in order to put something together – what a mess! This isn’t the Apple I’ve grown to love over the years. How could something so essential have been missed? Or worse mangled!?  🙁

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Rick @ 6:06 pm
Filed under: Apple andHelp Desk
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