On March 7, 2011 Landon Jace Zelonko got the baby ball rolling.
At 10:34, the eight-pound, 10-ounce, 20-inch boy was the first baby brought into the world at the newly opened Sault Area Hospital.
8,732 babies were born at SAH as of Feb. 24, but Landon will always be the first and that’s an added source of pride for parents Kaya and Laramie, as well as older sister Ella. Kaya remembers coming into the hospital at around 8 a.m. and seeing the gift basket to be given in honour of the hospital’s firstborn.
On top of all the other things a mom about to give birth was feeling, Kaya remembers thinking how much she wanted that basket.
The locally-donated items in the basket included a restaurant meal certificate, pedicure and manicure, baby items, baby spoon and fork set and a registered BMO education savings plan with an initial contribution of $500 and $100 a year for five years.
“It’s already at $1,700,” said Kaya of the savings plan gift. “We save anyway separately, but it’s definitely nice.”
Another interesting aspect of Landon’s birth was that his dad Laramie worked at Tenaris, which provided funding to establish the hospital’s maternity ward.
Kaya said the family is doing well.
They moved to Sudbury three years ago after layoffs at Tenaris.
Laramie got a job at Vale and the Zelonkos have settled into Sudbury’s south end.
Kaya is originally from Toronto, while Laramie is an Echo Bay native. They maintain strong ties to the Sault area.
“We were coming up quite a bit before COVID hit,” said Kaya. Landon is now in Grade 4 at R.L. Beattie Public French Immersion School.
Of course, COVID meant adapting to homeschooling and on-line learning, but Kaya said that went well.
“He’s very smart,” she said. “He absorbs information easily.”
The downside of absorbing information easily is boredom, but when Landon started school in Sudbury, his lessons were all in French. Kaya said that was good because it challenged him.
His most recent report card indicates Landon met the challenge very well.
Landon loves being active. He’s in a bowling league and recently did very well at a father and son tournament.
“He’s really into bowling,” said Kaya. “He started when he was in kindergarten in the Sault. He’s quite good.”
Landon also participates in an activity called ninja warrior training.
Kaya said her son loves being his “own person” and doesn’t really pay much attention to what others think. For example, “he’s had long hair for a long time. People called him a girl, but he doesn’t care,” she said.
“He’s like a very goofy, silly kid. That’s his personality. He’s unique.”
As the first baby born at SAH, Landon’s trailblazing journey began early.
“There will only ever be one first baby born at our magnificent new hospital,” said Johanne Messier-Mann, SAH’s director of maternal/child and medical programs in a 2011 news release announcing Landon’s arrival.