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WUKASCH m@ca.on.york_county.toronto.globe_and_mail 2005-07-16 published
Brigitte GOULET and Gabriel CHAN -- Match:
By Judith TENENBAUM, Saturday, July 16, 2005, Page M6
Surgical resident Gabriel CHAN still ponders whether it was the purported mystical and aphrodisiac qualities of chocolate or his magnetic charm that made Dr. Brigitte GOULET succumb. The couple had met while working in adjacent laboratories at McGill University in 2002.
Her initial impression of him was of a boisterous doctor suffering from "cellphone-itis."
"The first time I saw him if you had told me that I was going to marry him, I would have laughed at you," she says, having then just ended a relationship and of the opinion that all men were fickle Casanovas.
During their routine repartees, chemistry began to bubble up outside the lab, and that October before setting off to rock-climb in Les Calanques, near the southern French city of Cassis, Dr. CHAN asked if he could bring her anything.
Dr. GOULET had literally lived around the world in Seattle, Washington France; Chile; Gabon; and the Ivory Coast, and offhandedly mentioned Mi-cho-ko, a French chocolate candy she was mad about, but hardly expected to see.
Yet, true to his word he recalls his mission with a laugh, "I carted these bonbons up the side of a cliff, carried them around five days and brought them back." His sincerity and generosity reaped the reward of casual dinner dates and piqued Dr. GOULET's interest.
Early in their dating at a friend's dinner party, Dr. GOULET fell ill. Dr. CHAN quickly ushered her home and diagnosed the flu. He drew on his medical expertise and recommended chicken soup or hot honey lemon tea. Then, after brewing the tea, he lingered until 3: 30 a.m.
The possibility of infection yielded to infatuation when he kissed her with abandon, declaring, "I won't get sick," which he didn't. Smitten, he adds, "She has an innocence, is full of life, friendly and an optimist with a hop in her step. I fell in love after about the 10th time I saw her."
In December, she jetted off to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to spend Christmas with her parents, promising to write. At the time, her father, Roland GOULET, was Canadian ambassador there.
When the anticipated mail failed to arrive, Dr. CHAN reveals, "I was expectant, waiting, disappointed, but understood that a postcard from Africa could take quite a while."
However, when she hand-delivered it on her return, explaining there was no mail service in Congo, his flame was fanned.
Early in the summer of 2004, his plan to propose at Niagara-on-the-Lake vaporized when he forgot the ring at his parents' home in Toronto. His next effort on an August weekend antiquing in Quebec's Eastern Townships almost veered into Neverland. "I had had a very bad week, and when we arrived, he hadn't reserved anything and I wasn't the most happy camper," Dr. GOULET says.
A desperate call was made to Francine GOULET, and things brightened when she suggested a ski resort in Sutton with ample rooms. Ironically, fate had the misguided adventurers take a wrong turn and land in Orford, where the frustrated and exhausted pair snared a room, thanks to a last-minute cancellation.
The next morning, Dr. CHAN arranged a massage and brunch for his sweetheart, hoping to heal her fractured mood. When she returned rejuvenated, and much like her upbeat self, "I asked if she was still grumpy, she said, 'No' and I proposed, she accepted and cried," he chuckles of their special moment that played like a non-event.
Dr. CHAN, 31, with a M. Sc. in biochemistry from McGill, and an M.D. from the University of Western Ontario, is now in residency at McGill. He is replicating the surgical odyssey of his father, who now practises at Thornhill's Shouldice Hernia Centre.
He and Dr. GOULET, who has a Ph. D. in biochemistry and is now a research associate in McGill's Molecular Oncology Group, enjoy the social and culinary experience of Montreal's bistros, but their other interests are more disparate. She dislikes hockey, and he loves playing.
"We're more complementary than similar. I would rock-climb; she would read. She goes out with girlfriends; I spend time with Friends from medicine," notes Dr. CHAN.
"I'm like a wildcat he domesticated by slowly gaining my confidence. I'm more extravagant and panic at little things. He's very calm, makes me laugh and I come back to earth," says Dr. GOULET, 32.
On May 22, the holiday weekend enabled guests to travel from Montreal to Toronto, where at Spring Garden Baptist Church in North York the couple were wed by Pastor Rick WUKASCH. Photos on the picturesque grounds of the Shouldice Centre were followed by a reception at Deluxe Chinese Cuisine, where 230 guests observed a traditional tea ceremony preceding dinner.
"When you are not looking, [love] comes like a hair on the soup. Bloop, and there was this one, [Gabriel] and he was different," Ms. GOULET says.

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