Arts & EventsJake’s Gift is for Everyone

Jake’s Gift is for Everyone

Jake’s Gift is for Everyone

All photos by Tim Matheson.

During this season of remembrance, take your kids, your parents, your friends, your school to the Great Canadian Theatre Company to see Jake’s Gift by Julia Mackey. For some people, it may be the most moving Remembrance Day experience you ever have. 

The play has a simple plot and follows the development of an unlikely relationship between a 10-year-old French girl, Isabelle, and Jake, a Second World War veteran.

Julia Mackey as Grande Isabelle • Jake's Gift • Photo by Tim Matheson_7  In it, Jake returns to Juno Beach for the first time since the war for the battle’s 60th anniversary commemorations. In some ways, he is a broken man with baggage who has come to Normandy to make peace with his past. Isabelle lives in Bény-sur-Mer and lives a life of gratitude for the soldiers’ efforts.  With the sort of selfless caring that only a child can truly provide, she breaks through Jake’s tough exterior and touches his heart.

Against her grandmother's orders, who is also names Isabelle, little Isabelle approaches Jake on Juno Beach as he stands there looking out at sea and strikes up a conversation with the veteran, who seems reluctant to talk. Over the next 48 hours, they develop a strong friendship.

Through monologues from both main characters (played brilliantly by Mackey herself) and through their conversations, we learn of the lives both have led and with a few twists, how their lives were connected without them knowing it.Julia Mackey as Grande Isabelle • Jake's Gift • Photo by Tim Matheson_3

There is tenderness to this play that will warm the heart of everyone who sees it and quite frankly, everyone should.  It is an incredible vehicle in the run-up to Remembrance Day to educate children on the relevance of Canadian efforts but it is also a lesson on the gentleness and kindness that people, generations apart, can share. By the end you will be in tears.  

This is definitely a play not to be missed and is family friendly (minus a few expletives on Jake's part). Jake's Gift runs just over an hour and you can catch it until November 15 (with special performances in French on November 10 and 12).  Find out more at

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