I hear your frustration and like Alberta58 says, keep fighting.
Alberta58 is right about having a trade. Trades are a huge asset because it makes a well rounded individual that is normally problem solver.
My own son was accepted in two colleges in Pre-Service Firefighting. I told him not to do it. Not because I don't want him to be a firefighter. But rather because a person that graduates from pre-service after coming right out of high school is not marketable. A better advice is to get a trade, THEN do pre-service. That way, while you try to be hired for 3, 5, 8 years like everybody else, you have a job, you accumulate experience and you have a steady income. On top of that, once you are a firefighter, you still have a trade that you can use as a second job should you choose to.
I can only speculate that you are a little older, (the old eyes comment). That only makes you a better candidate with life experience. Don't give up quite yet.
Were you at the OFAI mentoring day this week end? It blows me away how less than 100 of the over 2000 people that are OFAI qualified would invest in their career by showing up that day, shaking hands and connecting with people who are actually actively hiring.
Most people train until they do it right.
Professionals train until they can't do it wrong.