Louise and Derek 

Louise and Derek met 8 years ago in Northern Ontario after both finding themselves single in midlife.  They have now migrated down to Toronto to be with Louise’s daughter as she finishes high school in the city.

Louise was born in England and moved to Australia as a very young child.  After high school, she went off to travel the world for a few years and ended up coming home with a Canadian husband.

She started her career as a women’s shelter counsellor, went on to become a teacher and a professor before moving to Ontario, Canada in 2004 with her husband and two small children.There they owned a resort and a few years later, added a wonderful bookstore to the mix. 

After an extremely difficult set of circumstances which included the death of a close family member, the collapse of her marriage, the closure of her beloved bookstore and a cancer diagnosis, she decided it was time to take stock.  She found mindfulness and became very interested in Buddhist teachings and research on joy and well-being.  

This led her to a place of immense personal happiness and she decided to go back to where her career started, this time using counselling to help other people find joy in their lives.

She now works as a psychotherapist in private practice in downtown Toronto.  Although she loves the work, she finds the big city life exhausting and every day dreams of living by the ocean again, this time surrounded by the wonderfully nurturing community that is WWH.

Derek was born in Hamilton, Ontario but grew up a few miles down the Niagara peninsula in Grimsby; on the shores of Lake Ontario and in the shadow of the Niagara escarpment. Most weekends and summers were spent going back and forth between the two geographic landmarks. He spent summer days swimming in the lake (which, in those days, no one should have been doing) or hiking the trails up and down the escarpment. On trips back and forth, it was oh so easy to detour off the road to a farmer’s orchard to gather very fresh fruit for the day’s outing. Those early experiences imprinted a lifelong preference for life outdoors which became harder and harder to do as southern Ontario became less and less rural.

In the late 60s, Derek discovered what he thought at the time was Northern Ontario. He lived for many years just north of Barrie on the shores of Georgian Bay until that too became too busy to suit his preferred lifestyle. After a late start at post secondary education, he headed further north. Still not ‘north’ by some accounts but far enough to be able to experience the solitude of nature every day.

Living just north of Muskoka, Derek raised a family and started his social work career in children’s mental health. Twenty six years later, he retired but it didn’t stick! By that time, he had met Louise and their path took him to Toronto where he went back to work as a senior manager in another children’s mental health agency. He never, in his wildest dreams, imagined living in downtown Toronto with a view of the CN Tower and Lake Ontario from his balcony. Life takes some strange twists and turns but the call to get back to living close to nature is always there and it leads straight to Sooke BC!