brad ross ttc toronto barber

The former voice of the TTC is now a barber after life-changing heart attack

There's nothing quite like a brush with death to spark a renewed appreciation for life, which is something former City of Toronto communications head and longtime TTC spokesperson Brad Ross could tell you after experiencing a life-changing heart attack in February.

Ross, who retired from his position as Chief Communications Officer for the city late last year, shared the story of his "widow-maker" myocardial infarction on social media, thanking hospital workers and EMS staff for saving his life.

"Eating well, exercise, no smoking — been doing all that since January. At 59, I’ll take it as fair warning to not eff around and find out," he wrote in an Instagram post on February 28, one day after the health scare.

"Lots of life left in me yet. Just getting started."

With a newfound sense of clarity and gratefulness, Ross has now announced some other major news of a much more positive nature: he's coming out of retirement to try out a career that he had always been interested in but never pursued.

"Late last year I announced that, after almost 40 years of doing comms in the public service, I was retiring," Ross wrote in a Twitter thread yesterday.

"I decided it was the time for me to close that chapter and pursue something completely different… something where I could breathe easier, have fun, and stay healthy... then in February, I had a heart attack."

The former official, who was well-liked by the public during his decade serving as the face of the TTC, assured followers that he is recovering well and taking the actions he needs to avoid another incident.

He also revealed that just before the emergency, he had some exciting — and to many, probably surprising — new life plans in the works.

"I was about to embark on a new career — stress-free, fun, creative and Zen-like — when my heart pumped the brakes. It set me back six weeks. Could have been forever," he wrote.

"Burying the lede a bit here, but I am stoked to say that I am now an apprentice barber at History Barbershop, a very cool local business with three shops in Barrie and Midland, Ontario. They gave me a shot and I am forever grateful."

Ross acknowledged that people might be a little confused about the move, which seems out of left-field given his professional background, but said he's always had a passion for barbering and men's grooming.

"I’m starting at the bottom and learning something new. It feels good," he wrote, proudly attaching some pictures of him at work in his new role.

"I hear a lot of WTFs right now. I get it.... [is it] new and different? Yup! Healthy and stress-free? That too. Importantly."

We join many former colleagues, friends and fans in wishing Ross the best of luck on his new journey, which is an inspiration for others to go after what brings them joy.

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