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  • Writer's picturePat Browne

Meet Joe Catalano

It is often said that people with a sense of purpose are driven, focused, committed, and lit up from the inside. Joe’s passion for life is visible to everyone he meets. It doesn’t matter what it is, Joe always does it at 110%. Known for his hospitality and genuine welcome, Joe has helped make our neighbourhood the warm and welcoming place it is.

“I was surprised to find this neighbourhood,” said Joe. “To be honest, as a boy from East York, I resisted the idea of Don Mills. Growing up, Don Mills had either a reputation as a place for old people or a taint from the violent reputation of the St Dennis (Flemington Park) neighbourhood. It was my wife Pat that wanted to live in the area. She worked in Richmond Hill at the time and easy access to the highways, made her life easier.”

“When we saw our house, I liked the idea that it was an end unit and detached on one side. To me it made it more like a semi rather than a townhouse. Pat was the one enamoured with terrace house living. I wanted a condo with no maintenance. We compromised with a house that we would finish in a way that made it virtually maintenance free.”

“When we first viewed the house, the neighbourhood was still under development. The house was well decorated by the previous owners. It made it easy to visualize how our stuff would fit in here.”

“When we moved in, it was a whirlwind. We took possession on November 20th and had our housewarming/engagement party on December 5th. Pat never does anything by halves, we had fully moved in, all art on the walls, everything put away in a week. It did take a while to get used to the stair – 42 of them from top to bottom.”

“That first summer set the scene for our lifestyle here. We loved the outdoor space and the gazebo in the backyard. Life was a continuous BBQ. We explored the valley and watched Moccasin Trail Park being developed. Sundays were especially wonderful. They were quiet, we’d sit in the backyard listening to the sound of birds while enjoying our morning coffee.”

“Although we had met our immediate neighbours that first year or so, it wasn’t until we got Molly that we really started to get to know the neighbourhood. Having a dog opened-up a whole new experience. It’s been exciting to watch the neighbourhood develop and change into the place it is today. We’ve watched the Shops of Don Mills develop and enjoy the European flair of having coffee on the patio and children playing in the centre.”

A lifelong athlete, Joe’s current focus is working out with the team at F45 Don Mills, as well as strength training with a former Mr Universe/Mr Canada, Erik Alstrup.

“With Covid, we built a gym in our basement where I train with Erik two times a week on a concentrated weight/resistance program. At 67, I’ve discovered a level of fitness that I had never known before.”

“Pat trains with the F45 team at the Shops of Don Mills five days a week. I augment my training with Erik with two to three times a week at F45. The amazing sense of community and welcome that we’ve found with F45 reflects the sense of community we have in our neighbourhood.”

With a constantly questing mind, Joe has followed a career in manufacturing across multiple industries. But what many people don’t know is that Joe has also written a murder mystery novel full of intrigue, international banking drama and the church. He loves mysteries in any form and his skills at forensic accounting, database searching, and genealogy are second to none.

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