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  • Writer's picturePat Browne

Celebrations are in order - we’ll get to welcome our newest neighbour mid-August – a little girl.

Let's celebrate the first picture of our new neighbour

It seemed that Fred and Ruth Lee moved into our community just before we locked down for covid. You’ll recognize Fred, he’s usually walking around with the amazing Duke, the gentlest giant of a dog. You’d think they had been paired for ever, but Duke was actually Ruth’s dog.

Fred was fast to tell us the story. “As a student, Ruth had her heart set on a German Sheppard. That was the dog of her dreams,” said Fred. “Her family weren’t really supportive of the idea, so it was up to Ruth to do the odd jobs required to save the money for the breeder. A pure-bred dog means a lot of money, but she did it. She saved the money needed to buy the dog and then saved again to ensure that he had all the vet treatments that a new puppy requires.”

“Then, not only does she get her dog,” says Fred. “She spends hours training Duke to be the gentle giant he is today.”

“Let’s be honest,” Ruth interjects. “He really was the quietest, calmest dog from the very beginning.”

This is how our interview started. Fred and Ruth really are a team – obviously in love and obviously supportive of each other. They originally met online dating. Ruth is from Barrie and Fred was born in Branford (yup, he knew Walter Gretzky; used to cut through Walter’s back yard to access the Grand River with his canoe) and grew up in Cambridge.

“I’m pretty boring,” says Fred. “I work, I walk Duke and I workout. It’s Ruth who is interesting.”

Ruth is a supervisor at the Geneva Centre for Autism where she works to empower children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to fully participate in their communities. Starting out with a degree in Biomedical Sciences and Psychology, Ruth went on to study Applied Behaviour Sciences with a Masters in Disability Studies from Brock University.

Fred is also extremely bright. He graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a speciality in accounting. After receiving his CPA designation with Ernst and Young LLP, he worked at Deloitte in their advisory accounting practice and is now working in real estate development at Dream Unlimited as a corporate accounting manager.

They were married in 2017, Ruth is a bit of a world traveller decided she wanted to take her new husband and confirmed Canadian outdoors man, on an adventure to Asia. “I really wanted to visit Korea,” said Ruth. “It’s where our parents came from and I thought it was important to understand our roots.”

Ruth had already done a bit of traveling and exploring of the world before, but Fred, not so much. It was a classic case of culture shock. “I wanted us to have the full experience,” says Ruth. “I planned a family stay holiday so that we could really experience the culture.” The couple rented a car and drove from Busan to Seoul while stopping at cultural and historical landmarks along the way.

When Fred and Ruth started to look for a home, they had a very specific region to look in. “My whole family was going to make the move to North York from Etobicoke,” said Fred. “My parents, my brother and his wife and Ruth and me. We knew what area of the city we wanted; North York, south of the 401 for its diverse culture, top schools and quiet neighbourhood.”

“All of us being close is going to be important as this will be the first grandchild on both sides of our family. We are super excited to welcome our little one to the world and our neighborhood!”

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