Home > Community > In Our Community > KV - Why I'm Here > Danays Herce Rivero, Manager, Stoney's Bread Company

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Every now and then you meet someone whose personal story fills you with gratitude for the wonderful country that is Canada and for the people who surround us. Danays Herce Rivero's story is one of these.

Those who live in the Kerr Village neighbourhood can't help but observe the changes that are underway, transforming the area into a more and more diverse collection of businesses and services. While some enterprises come and go, others thrive and consistently rate accolades from their loyal customers.

What brings these varied shops and people to Kerr Village? WRRA Board Member Sandy Moshenko decided to find out through a series of interviews with entrepreneurs and service providers in the neighbourhood.

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 DSC 0064 framedDanays – or Danny for short – is the vivacious, cheerful person who greets visitors to Stoney's most mornings. She is always in a sunny mood, always remembers your favourite beverage and seems ideally suited to her work. Danny privately makes light of her excellent English and tells an amazing story of how she came to be working at Stoney's and living on Queen Mary Drive with her two children, Marco, aged 18 and Jennifer, aged 9.

Danny is from Las Tunas, Cuba, where she worked as a secondary school teacher for eleven years after obtaining a master's degree in education. The school at which she taught specializes in supporting and training athletes and was one which Danny herself attended and trained as a gymnast. In addition to providing a secondary education for its students, the school prepares them for competitive sports.

While working in the education and athletic fields, Danny met the Canadian man who is father to her children and made her way to Canada and Oakville. She describes coming to Canada like being "born again". At a practical level, Danny did not know how to drive a car. In Cuba cars were generally unavailable. She was understandably excited when she got her driver's licence and later bought her first vehicle!

 

 


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In making the move, Danny had assumed that she would be able to put her extensive experience as a teacher, including her knowledge of child psychology, to good use. She discovered this wasn't as easy as she thought. Her English was determined to be insufficient and her training failed to measure up to Ontario specifications.

Faced with these obstacles, Danny enrolled at Sheridan College to study office management but decided that it wasn't for her. She then had a position at a retirement home as a personal support worker, but when an elderly client with whom she worked died, Danny was devastated and realised that the job was too emotionally difficult.

And eventually, when she absolutely had to find a job, she begged the owners of Stoney's to put her to work doing anything! With no restaurant experience, the owners, Steve Chabot and Blake Stoneburgh, took Danny onto the staff working in the kitchen as a means of helping her to improve her English. And it worked!

 

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As a teacher in Cuba she earned $20 monthly, as did all professional workers, including her parents - her mother is a psychologist, her father an engineer. Her first paycheque from Stoney's, for over $300, seemed so enormous that she had her picture taken with it.
While Danny misses her home and family in Cuba, she makes sure that her children experience the best of both the Latin and Canadian cultures. In September, Marco is off to Western University; Jennifer spent most of the summer visiting her grandparents in Cuba and now speaks fluent English and Spanish. She is in French immersion classes and so soon will know three languages.

Danny expects to become a Canadian citizen soon and says that the very best part of being in Kerr Village is working with smiling people. Stoney's wants their restaurant to be the first place that comes to mind when people are looking for good food and a welcoming atmosphere. As Danny beams a huge grin across the table it is easy to understand why she is so at home in Kerr Village.

 

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 Stoney's Bread Company is located at 325 Kerr Street at the corner of Florence Drive.