Ask anyone who has met actress, comedian, and broadcaster Candy Palmater: When she walked into a room, her unique and fun personality filled it.
This is how Palmater’s loved ones and companions remember her for her partner, Denise Tompkins, announced who had died on Saturday at the age of 53.
“Her smile could light up a room and no matter what kind of day she might have had, as soon as I could see my Candy, it was instantly better,” said stylist Connor Lange, who became close friends with Palmater after she sat on his chair in the room where he was working.
“Candy was amazing. The way she just saw life, every day … she lived to the fullest while still being able to slow down and enjoy all the little things she loves so much,” Lange told CTV News.
Born in New Brunswick and raised by her Mi’kmaw father and white mother, Palmater attended Dalhousie Law School in Halifax and became the first Indian law student with the best undergraduate degree.
She later left her career as a lawyer and went to work for the Nova Scotia Department of Education, focusing on the need for Mi’kmaw culture and teachings in the province, before eventually becoming a comedian.
Current APTN CEO Monika Ille had been the chief responsible for Eastern Canadian programming on the network in 2009, when she received a VHS tape of Palmater performing on her feet. At the time, Palmater was hosting his own comedy variety show.
“I have to say, I fell in love with Candy the way I saw her. She was so good, sharing her story. She was funny, brilliant. She looked good on camera,” Ille said.
Palmater’s release became “The Candy Show,” which ran for five seasons on APTN.
“He had this drive. He had this passion. He had a larger than life personality and he wanted to make sure that people’s voices were heard, especially indigenous people,” Ille said.
As her stardom grew, she hosted “The Candy Palmater Show” on CBC Radio One and became a regular on CTV’s The Social.
“When I think of Candy, she was … larger than life, eternally joyful, infinite kindness and always led with joy,” Melissa Grelo, co-host of The Social, told CTV News.
“Candy was a natural storyteller and would flawlessly and easily share some of the most challenging things she has ever experienced in life and yet she could always see the other side of things: the lessons learned and how one made it. stronger person. “
A true feminist trailblazer, Palmater changed the perception of what it meant to be gay, to love and accept yourself. Last year, he also worked with Vancouver-based filmmaker Shana Myra on “Well Rounded,” a documentary that addresses the fat phobia.
“Her boldness and her voice, really, I think, gives other people courage. And that was part of her avowed comedy philosophy. She really wanted to use her humor for good,” Myara told CTV News.
According to social media, Palmater had been ill for months diagnosed with EGPA, a rare disease that causes inflammation of blood vessels.
Lange was with her during her last days in the hospital. She said that even then, she had the same bright spirit that Canadians came to love.
“Every day when I walked into the hospital room, she greeted me with her huge smile,” Lange said.
“She was beautiful and strong and brave every day and I think that’s something we can really learn from her.”