Photography by Debra Friedman

Clara was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1951. Her father came to Brazil from Lodz, Poland in 1924 when he was nine months old. Her mother’s family came to
Brazil from Syria.

Her parents had four children, and Clara was the second oldest. Her family was in the knitting business in Rio, and life was pretty good.

Relatives in Canada spoke highly of the country, and after Clara’s grandfather visited in 1952, he decided to move his family to Canada. When Clara was two years old, her family travelled by boat to Ellis Island, along with her father’s siblings.

Clara’s mother’s family stayed in Brazil, and Clara still has many cousins there. Although the move to Canada was easy, the family found the winters very difficult.

Clara completed teacher’s college but never taught, as she met and married Richard Cooper, a civil engineer, in 1974, and had a baby soon after graduating.

Richard became a developer, and his company is called Alterra Developments. Clara and Richard have four children: Daniel, Amy, Jonathan and David. They also have two grandchildren and are expecting a third. Clara has enjoyed a wonderful life in Canada and is very happy her family chose to come here.