New Life in Ottawa 1986    
Our First Road Trip with Kids

We had a great drive from Halifax to Ottawa in 1986. The kids enjoyed their table in the back of the 1986 Mercury Colony Park.  They also had a cargo net that served as a seatbelt blanket so they could stretch out when the seats were down and have a nap. We bought a house in a quite neighborhood in the East end of Ottawa. It was on a family orientated street so the the kids had lots of friends to play with.  We were on the same street as our family friends Donna and Charlie and we spent many afternoons on the weekends visiting them.

On Our Back Deck in Ottawa

Brian's School Photo in Ottawa

Robyn and Tamara in Ottawa

Robyn and Tamara

Robyn and Brian Pose for a Photo in Ottawa

Brian and Robyn 1987

Brians School Photo in Ottawa

Brian's School Photo in Ottawa

Ottawa offered lots of things to do as a family. In February was Winterlude which was a big celebration on the canal. The canal also offered winter skating for the family which was quite the experience. In the Spring they had an event to raise money for charity on the canal. They sold rubber ducks for $2.00 that were released into the river and if your duck made it passed the finish line you won a cash prize. Your grandmother thought it would be a good contest to enter so she bought four ducks, one for each member of the family.  To everyone's surprise Robyn's duck won a $100.00 prize. 

Robyn was so excited that her duck won - that is until her mother told her that it was a family win and that the prize money had to be shared with everyone. Well she just didn't accept that she wasn't entitled to 100% of the winnings even though it was her duck that won. To this day she doesn't accept the concept that we coined; "the Duck Rule" where the family shares the winnings.

A few doors down the street from us was a family who's mother emigrated from Malawi in Africa.  They had a daughter, Tamara, who was about the same age as Robyn.  They really got along well and became very close friends - a friendship that still exists today.  One day Tamara's mother made both of them identical dresses.  The were so proud of these identical dresses and claimed that they looked like twin sisters when wearing these dresses as you can see in the photo at the right.

We had lots to do in Ottawa - some planned and some things not so planned. On the planned side we built a huge garden in the backyard with a winding concrete-slab walkway through it so you could harvest the vegetables without ever having to step in the dirt.  We planted lots of corn and harvested record breaking large tomatoes in the Fall.

On the unplanned side we had a crazy, very paranoid neighbour. One Spring day we noticed water coming in the basement window.  We discovered that the cause was a buildup of ice on our sidewalk from runoff from the neighbour's roof. So Brian and I went out to fix the problem. I was breaking up the ice with an axe and Brian was throwing it off to the side.  We were making good progress until the Police arrived and interrupted us. The neighbour had called the police because some of the ice chunks that Brian was moving off the side walk had landed on the neighbour's property - which was understandable since the houses were only about 5 feet apart. The Police just shook their heads and politely asked if we could please move the offending pieces of ice.

We always knew that Brian had a BIG heart. We found out how unlimited his compassion was for others when we signed him up for a summer program at the Boys and Girls Club. The kids were only charged one dollar a day for their lunch consisting of a hot dog and drink. So Brian was given $5 every month that was put on his account to pay for his lunches Monday  to Friday.  This worked fine for the first week but on Wednesday of the following week he came home to tell us that his lunch account was empty. When we asked why, he said that Sally didn't have any money so he bought her a hotdog. Billy was thirsty so he bought him a drink and when they were eating outside a dog ate Cameron's hotdog.   After all he couldn't let them go hungry.

One Saturday a very special event happened just down the street. Brian had always watched our friends son Tom hit golf balls in the empty field.  One day Tom surprised Brian with his very own golf club that Tom has sized down for him.  It was Brian's very first club which was the beginning of Brian's life-long passion for the game of Golf.