AOUAD email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-11-06 published
Sheree M. LANTIN and Wai Michael TEMPLE -- Match
By Judith TENENBAUM, Saturday,▼ November▼ 5, 2005, Page M4
On their second date, as a birthday treat, Michael TEMPLE ushered Sheree LANTIN through Loblaws with an invitation to select her favourite delicacies so he could demonstrate his culinary acumen.
Ms. LANTIN, a self-described foodie who has tried "almost every restaurant in Toronto," recalls feeling skeptical as she flung down the gauntlet, selecting exotics such as fiddleheads and seafood. "He thinks he can cook?" she remembers thinking. "Let's see."
With celerity, he whipped together a feast. "He didn't even flinch -- [he] cooked five-star calibre," she says. "I was astonished."
A reticent Mr. TEMPLE soon confessed to having once worked at the celebrated French restaurant Auberge Gavroche.
The couple had met days earlier, during the May long weekend of 2003, when a mutual friend extolled each to the other, and suggested they meet at a birthday celebration in a downtown lounge.
One of four girls checking their jackets caught Mr. TEMPLE's eye.
"I thought I would be the luckiest guy if that indeed was Sheree," he says, and was rewarded 45 agonizing minutes later when the two were introduced and his luck held. After a brief chat, Ms. LANTIN drifted away, but made a lasting impression. "I realized she was what I was looking for, and the other girls said, 'She thinks you're a doll.' "
"He had a really good sense of humour -- that's what got me in the beginning," Ms. LANTIN says. "We spent hours talking and just phased out the other people."
Mr. TEMPLE wasn't ready to have his dream date vanish into the night and escorted her home. "I didn't know what to say or do, so I offered him this huge bowl of chocolate ice cream," she recalls with a laugh. The invitation enabled him to linger, and reflect with every measured spoonful on the price we pay for love: Mr. TEMPLE is lactose-intolerant.
The following weekend, Mr. TEMPLE was in Tofino, British Columbia, as a member of a friend's bridal party, and succumbed to the pangs of separation. "He called me a million times a day and then put the phone to the ocean. Really cheesy stuff," Ms. LANTIN says.
His Friends cautioned, "You're going to scare her off. She's going to think you're psychotic." But, enthralled by the adulation and miffed when it dwindled, "I told his Friends to stop giving him advice," she laughs.
Their lives meshed quickly. Mr. TEMPLE, now 38, with a B.A. from Concordia University, is general manager of Temple and Temple Tours Inc., a travel agency founded by his twin brothers in 1988 and geared to curriculum-based student travel. Until recently, Ms. LANTIN, an honours science graduate from the University of Toronto, worked across the street from him as an account manager for BIMM Communications. (She now has a new career as a senior account supervisor with FCB Direct.) The duo was soon blissfully spending seven days a week together.
Unfortunately, the couple entered a difficult phase in February, 2004, when Mr. TEMPLE's father, Walter Michael TEMPLE, was afflicted with terminal cancer. At the same time, Ms. LANTIN became ill with a complex lower intestinal dysfunction that left her feverish, in pain and barely able to stand. Exasperated after a series of misdiagnoses, she researched her problem on the Internet, and with the help of a friend, gained access to an appropriate specialist. Just before her two operations corrected the problem, Mr. TEMPLE's father died.
"That spring was one of the most trying periods of my life," says Mr. TEMPLE, who lifted his father's languishing spirits when he declared his intention to marry Ms. LANTIN.
As she recovered, his care and compassion underscored their bond. "I knew he was absolutely the one during that most meaningful and bittersweet time. His loyalty and kindness were there from the beginning," she says.
Mr. TEMPLE's just-in-time plans for a Christmas engagement unravelled when he ended up snowbound in Atlanta on December 23 -- the day he planned to pick up the ring -- while returning from Costa Rica with a tour group. He won a reprieve, however, when his brother stepped into the breach, enabling Mr. TEMPLE to insert the ring box as scheduled into one of a pair of snow boots placed in a Louis Vuitton bag. "We don't exactly remember what was said," Mr. TEMPLE says. "We were sobbing with tears of joy."
On August 13 on the deck overlooking the fairway of the Rosedale Golf and Country Club, Dr. Antoine AOUAD led the ceremony before 130 formally attired guests. "We thought of [the reception] as a big dinner party," the bride says, and the revelry continued at their King Street neighbour's after-party until daybreak.
As for the domestic peal of, "What's for dinner, honey?" Mrs. TEMPLE, 33, admits, "Mike likes to cook dinner. He finds comfort in it, and has fun at Dominion or St. Lawrence Market."
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AOUAD firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-11-26 published
Jessica Karie RUYGROK and Daniel Donald John DIFLORIO -- Match:
By Judith TENENBAUM, Saturday,▲▼ November▲ 26, 2005, Page M5
Although Jessica RUYGROK and Daniel DIFLORIO had once played together as two-year-olds at a Christmas party, they seemed destined for close encounters and detached lives.
In their early teens, while they were at different high schools, she trained on the running track that circled the field where he played baseball. "I always noticed the catcher and he always noticed who was running in the red top," she says. But those encounters never went beyond furtive glances.
Two years later, they again came tantalizingly close at a Halloween party, but their costumes kept them from recognizing each other. Finally, a mutual friend introduced them in October, 1999, when Ms. RUYGROK was in her last year of high school and Mr. DIFLORIO had started to study engineering at George Brown College.
"There was a mystery to him, and I wanted to get to know him better," she says.
"We developed a strong Friendship, played pool, and I could talk to her like one of the guys," Mr. DIFLORIO says.
Intrigued, yet slightly taken aback by her sharp tongue and quick wit, he pretended indifference.
On Valentine's Day, 2000, he offered a tepid card: "Be my Valentine, be my friend." But a couple of days later she stopped by his house to watch a movie. Suddenly, they kissed.
The reluctant romantics' feelings would manifest a few weeks later. On a trip to Mexico with her graduating class, Ms. RUYGROK remembers, "I just felt empty, wishing he was here." Mr. DIFLORIO, meanwhile, admits that he "moped around and did absolutely nothing."
On her return, they saw each other daily. Then she left for a massage therapy program at Sir Sandford Fleming College in Peterborough and stayed there over two summers.
The long-distance relationship endured, however. "I believe it was a test for us," Ms. RUYGROK says. "The separation gave us a chance to be more independent, and kept things in a nice balance."
The athletic couple fence, play badminton and hockey, and when she returned to Toronto, they volunteered for the same team -- he on the ice as a coach, she on the bench as a trainer.
Ms. RUYGROK, who works at the Optimum Health Clinic in Mississauga, had always wanted to have her own home before marriage. In January, she was out of town at a hockey tournament when Mr. DIFLORIO, now a mechanical designer, called to say their offer on a handyman special had been accepted. He felt it was time the co-owners extended their partnership. "Driving from work, it just popped into my head," he says. "I had the next day off, and went out and bought a ring."
On February 11, as the couple skate-skied at Hardwood Hills, the more experienced Ms. RUYGROK set a brisk pace. She paused for Mr. DIFLORIO. "He took his gloves off. I was impatient, saying, 'You don't have to take [them] off to have a drink.' Then he started saying nice things to me, but I wasn't paying much attention," she says with a laugh. Then she froze as Mr. DIFLORIO brandished a diamond.
On Friday, August 26, at the Glenerin Inn, the bride entered to the subtle strains of a Spanish guitar. Her gown of ivory French silk, accented with antique lace, was a gift from her aunt, Ottawa designer Janine ADAMYK. On a canopied deck with a forested ravine as backdrop, 90 guests watched as Dr. Antoine AOUAD wed the couple. "[It was] very Jessica, very rustic," maid of honour Conor SNELSON says. "They are young -- both 24 -- [and] have careers and a home, whereas most people our age aren't there yet. They really knew what they wanted and went after it."
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AOUAD email@example.com_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-12-10 published
Maria Augusta FAGAN and Michael Claude ROGERS -- Match:
By Judith TENENBAUM, Saturday,▲ December 10, 2005, Page M6
The sun always shines on Regatta Day in Saint John's, a municipal holiday unique in North America because weather conditions determine the date. In August, 1994, Maria FAGAN and Michael ROGERS were among the passengers in a car returning from the regatta, where Ms. FAGAN had competed. "We decided to go for a swim in a pond just outside of Saint John's, but ended up getting into a very bad car accident and never made it," he says.
The car wound up on its roof, the occupants sent to hospital, and their distraught parents meeting -- unaware of the portent -- for the first time.
That fall, Mr. ROGERS recalls, their Friendship intensified "when Maria asked me if I would be her date for graduation." She was a year older and a grade ahead, but, she admits, "I had a big crush on Mike."
The two were out for a drive couple of months later, and as she turned left at a particular intersection, Mr. ROGERS says, "I decided it was time that I became more than just Maria's prom date, and asked, 'Do you wanna try going out with me?' "
"I got butterflies in my stomach," she says. "It was very exciting."
Meanwhile, Ms. FAGAN entered a psychology program at Memorial University of Newfoundland. Still in high school, Mr. ROGERS joined her for evening study sessions at the university library, making him a campus veteran by the time he enrolled the next year to study physics.
Later, when she began a master's degree at the University of Guelph, their two-year separation was inconsequential. "You have to let the other person have freedom to grow and become whatever it is they want," Mr. ROGERS says. "In a lot of ways, we were very lucky. We didn't have to try to make it work; the shoe fit."
In September, 2002, their academic and personal aspirations flourished when both were accepted for postgraduate studies at the University of Toronto -- he as a master's student en route to a physics doctoral program and she as a PhD candidate in clinical child psychology. Two years later, Mr. ROGERS bought a ring. "I was reminded a few times over the years that I wasn't much of a romantic," he laughs. To counter that, he stashed the ring for three months until their visit home to Saint John's.
On Christmas Eve, as they drove to his parents' for dinner, they arrived at the legendary intersection of a decade ago. One hand on the wheel, he executed the same left turn, pulled out a ring box, and echoing his teenaged self, made a more enduring request: "So, do you wanna marry me?"
An intimate wedding of 30 was anticipated, but the couple were delighted with the enthusiastic response of 100 Friends and family from across North America.
On September 3, at the University of Toronto's Emmanuel College Chapel, Dr. Antoine AOUAD wed the couple. Afterwards, the assembly walked across campus to a reception in the Hart House music room. The bride describes their gift to their guests with true island pride: "Mike's mother made little jars of partridgeberry jam with the Newfoundland tartan on top."
The new Mrs. ROGERS, 28, currently holds a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Doctoral Fellowship, and sees her career as a researcher and clinical child psychologist as being portable.
Mr. ROGERS, 27, has been featured in physics journals for his pioneering research in the realm of buoyant plumes and vortex rings. He explains that, while it's of great academic interest, there are no practical applications to date. "I never got into this for the money or a job," he says with a laugh. "She'll be the moneymaker."
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AOUAD firstname.lastname@example.org_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2006-05-20 published
Danielle Martin BERRY and John Douglas HARRISON -- Match:
By Judith TENENBAUM, Page M4
The Fox Goes Free pub in Pickering inadvertently lived up to its billing as a great place to meet when John HARRISON, a student working for the summer as a bartender, observed Danielle BERRY, a fellow student-cum-waitress, and did a double take. "I recognized her from the University of Toronto, but we had never had a chance to meet. I was immediately and totally enamoured with her," he recalls.
At the time, both were students in the faculty of music. Ms. BERRY, in the education program, concentrated on piano and won the Lloyd Bradshaw Prize in choral conducting, while Mr. HARRISON, in performance, specialized in clarinet, earning scholarships in the Opera Orchestra. "It's a very small faculty and strange we didn't cross paths," she says.
Back in the classroom, the symphonic Friendship that was initiated at work soon had the ivories and woodwind in perfect harmony. "We hit it off right away, became romantically involved because we were such a good match and have been inseparable since 1996," Ms. BERRY, 31, says.
On graduation, the couple's careers would digress. The prospect of a plethora of lengthy auditions preceding any performance contract disillusioned Mr. HARRISON and when a friend suggested he cast his lot with ING Bank, a financial institution launching in Canada, he changed direction and never looked back. Naysayers may refute music as a basis for world finance, but Mr. HARRISON counters, "In music, creative and logical thinking are important, and music has prepared me very well for what I am doing now."
Meanwhile, true to her discipline, Ms. BERRY continued on to the Glenn Gould School, earning various scholarships before beginning to teach piano and musicianship in association with the Yamaha Music School, while finding time to volunteer for the lunch ministry at the St. Felix Centre. She acknowledges family influence, but attributes her performance success to Mr. HARRISON, 33. "He felt I had it in me, and encouraged me in a way that I hadn't encountered before. I don't think I would have taken that step if I hadn't known John," she says.
Happily, the pair relish joint musical and artistic interests while savouring Toronto's diverse dining scene, but frequently find respite from the frenetic urban landscape by embracing the outdoors at his fourth-generation family property near Minden.
When he was dispatched to the United Kingdom in October, 2002, to assist in ING's start-up, Ms. BERRY joined him after honouring her teaching commitments up to June, 2003.
"I knew that I would have a life with John when we were together," she affirms, since "we had the confidence to be apart."
Their two years in London were magical as they drank in the world-class cultural scene and jaunted to the continent. A highlight was their venture to the original 17th-century Fox Goes Free pub, "which has special meaning for us," she says.
Just before their July, 2005, return to Toronto, she had begun to ruminate on what seemed like a delinquent proposal, but on a March mini-excursion to Greece the answer to her anxiety was tucked away in Mr. HARRISON's camera tote. As the sun set on Santorini, the volcano slept, and the ocean glistened like their future and the ring on her finger.
On May 6 at the Ontario Heritage Centre, a classical guitarist performed as the couple recited vows before officiant Antoine AOUAD. A meet, mix and dance cocktail reception followed.
"It seemed natural we would always be together," reflects Mrs. BERRY HARRISON, who advises others in long-term relationships: "Be oblivious to outside pressure, know what your timing is, and what you are comfortable doing."
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