Love has lingered for the Bouchers, 70 years after saying their vows.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Howard (H), 92 and Verna (V) Boucher, 89, a Collingwood couple who celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary last month.
Q: Where did you grow up?
H: We grew up in Quebec, down in Gaspé. I was 18 when I left Gaspé for Toronto and Verna was around the same age (when she moved).
V: My father was a fisherman. I was 17 or 18 when I left Gaspé.
Q: Did you know each other when you lived in Gaspé?
H: I saw Verna when I was 15, and she would have been 10. I didn’t notice her any more until she came to Toronto.
Q: How did you reconnect when you lived in Toronto?
H: My brother was married to her sister.
It was a coincidence.
My brother’s car broke down, so I loaned him mine. I was riding in the back seat with Verna just getting a ride down to Danforth.
I got in the car, and she gave me a kiss. It was something else.
V: I said, I want you. (laughs)
Q: Did you start dating right away?
H: Yes. When we got married, Verna was 18 and I was 22.
Q: How did you propose?
H: We just decided to get married.
V: We went to the priest and he married us. I was a Catholic and he was a Protestant, but it didn’t matter.
Q: What brought you up to this area?
H: My mother and brother were up here, but that’s not what brought us up here. We had a family doctor in Toronto. One day, he phoned me and said I should get Verna out of the city. He said she needed to leave the city.
Our son and daughter were in university, so I decided to move us up.
V: We have two children: Grant and Karen. We love them a lot.
H: We have four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
When I came up, I decided I wanted to make aluminum storm windows. I started out in my brother’s shop making them, and then moved to my own place on Highway 26, Packard Aluminum.
Q: Did you run the business together?
H: She was the boss, secretary and manager. (laughs) We worked together.
Q: Did you move around throughout your time once up here?
H: We had a cottage in Wasaga Beach when we lived in Toronto and we would come up in the winter to snowmobile. We sold the cottage.
We bought a lot and built a house in Wasaga Beach and stayed there for about four or five years. We moved from there and I bought a building to have the shop and build our residence on the back.
My wife saw houses on Georgian Manor Drive in Collingwood, and told me she wanted to move there. So, we built a house there.
We moved into our house in Mair Mills in 2007.
V: We’re staying here until we can’t stay here anymore.
Q: You just celebrated your 70th wedding anniversary on July 18. Do you have any advice you’d like to give to new couples who are just starting out?
V: I just went along with how everything was going. I always trusted Howard to do the right thing.
H: Everything was equal. You can’t hold a grudge.
Q: When you look back, would you have done anything differently, or the exact same way?
H: I’d like to travel more. We’ve done a lot of travelling. We’ve gone to Australia and all over Europe, Ireland and Scotland. We’ve seen every government building in Canada.
I’d like to do more, like go to China.
V: It was nice to see different parts of the world.
We used to have a place in Florida for the winter.
Q: What does the future look like for you?
H: Well, I’m 92. I’m just looking forward to next year. (laughs)
V: We’ll just keep going until we can’t.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood to know about you?
V: I feel the same way about Howard.
H: I give her a kiss every night.
For our feature People of Collingwood, we speak with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature runs on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email [email protected].