90-year-old Maire Hollo poses for a photo with Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame member Peter Lockhart at the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in this undated handout photo. A great-grandmother spent her 90th birthday going over 200 kilometres an hour on a racetrack, and she’s not slowing down on the fun anytime soon. (Susan Hollo Wontorra)

Great-grandmother hits the racetrack for 90th birthday celebration

To celebrate turning 89, she said she went skydiving

With her 90th birthday on the horizon, Marie Hollo had a need for speed.

The great-grandmother said she had long been a fan of Formula One racing and wanted to mark turning another year older with an advance celebration that involved being driven around a racetrack at more than 200 kilometres an hour.

On Monday, she checked that activity off her bucket list after being taken around the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., by veteran race car driver Peter Lockhart, who was inducted to the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame in 2016.

“It was so wonderful. I loved every second of it,” Hollo told The Canadian Press. “My actual birthday is in November, but we celebrate it all year.”

Hollo, who lives in Toronto, said Lockhart took her around the track three times.

“It’s always excited me,” Hollo said of professional racing. ”It was so much fun. I would do it any time again.”

It’s not the first time Hollo has marked a birthday with an adrenaline-pumping activity.

To celebrate turning 89, she said she went skydiving. For her 84th birthday, she strapped on a harness and walked around the edge of Toronto’s CN Tower — an activity that took place 356 metres off the ground.

And when she turns 91, Hollo said she plans on going dog-sledding in Quebec.

“This is just stuff I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.

Born in Finland before moving to Toronto in 1953, Hollo said she’s always been stubborn and has never liked being told what to do. She said she was married for 30 years and that her now-deceased husband never wanted her to get a job or a drivers license — but she did both behind his back.

“He was always so jealous,” she said. “He thought I was going to go out and find another man, but I didn’t.”

Hollo said she always wanted to go on adventures and be a daredevil, but she wanted to wait until her three kids were older. Now she has five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

One of Hollo’s children said she fully sports her mother’s interests.

“I think it’s absolutely awesome,” Hollo’s daughter, Susan Hollo Wontorra, said of her mother’s adventures.

Hollo’s doctor warned her against skydiving because “she could die,” Hollo Wontorra recalled, saying her mother responded, “Well, I’m going to die soon anyways so I better do this now.”

The only kind of activity Hollo said she isn’t considering is scuba diving, or anything to do with the ocean, explaining she almost drowned when she was a baby and has a fear of water.

Hollo said her grandchildren and great-grandchildren are always asking her what she’s going to do next.

“I always tell them that I’m not normal,” said Hollo, laughing. “Life is too short. You might not be capable to do anything later on.”

Alanna Rizza, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

More affordable housing for Indigenous residents coming to Langford

40 units will be added to Station Avenue development

Reader Response: Victoria’s wages not meeting general needs

Victoria was recently ranked as one of the worst cities in B.C. to work in due to low average income

Capital Regional District moves pipeline to save up to 50 trees

Move comes after short but intense lobbying efforts from Grange Road residents

Still no extreme weather shelter in Sooke

Coun. Ebony Login appointed as council liaison to address the issue

VIDEO: Ballet Victoria’s take on the The Nutcracker tours Vancouver Island and the Mainland

Performances in Revelstoke, Coquitlam, Chilliwack and Victoria

POLL: Are you dreaming of a white Christmas?

The rain Vancouver Island is famous for is coming down in buckets,… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 11, 2018

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

VIDEO: Kitten rescued from under school bus in Duncan

School staff have affectionately called kitten “Axle”

$12K awarded to atheist family who oppose Christmas, Hanukkah in B.C. classroom

Gary Mangel,May Yasue said holidays, Remembrance Day and Valentine’s Day not appropriate in preschool

Coach accused of sexual assault says apology letter was misinterpreted

Dave Brubaker has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault and one count of invitation to sexual touching

Give the gift of nature this holiday season

Please don’t be mad, but I bought you a moose

Aboriginal poet faces backlash for calling out NHL-themed totem poles

Rebecca Thomas says she received backlash for asking a drugstore chain to remove NHL merchandise

No plans yet for free WiFi on BC Transit buses

BC Transit says they are monitoring the roll-out of free WiFi on Translink vehicles

Most Read