The Canadian Love Map

The Clutterbug: Alicia and Tyson


Today's story belongs to Alicia and Tyson, originally from Newfoundland and Manitoba, respectively.
Adventure, freedom, and excitement. Many of us have daydreamed about shedding our familiar patterns and embracing the unknown, but very few of us bring these fantasies to life. That's not the case for Alicia and Tyson.

Alicia, a busy entrepreneur and self-described hoarder, couldn't possibly have expected that, when a mutual friend introduced her to Tyson online, her whole life would change. Tyson was her opposite in many ways: a quiet, thoughtful minimalist with a restless appetite for adventure.

Together, this unlikely pair would push each other to embrace opportunity, so when the chance to move out of Alicia's Truro, NS home and into a vintage Airstream trailer year-round, they committed 100 percent.
So, how do two opposites attract in such a powerful way? How do you downsize from a 2400 square foot house to a 180 square foot trailer? Listen to find out!


Hearts of Kin: Shellie and Danielle


Today's story belongs to Shellie Ann Tobin and Danielle MacDonald, originally from New Waterford, Cape Breton Island.

The East Coast of Canada is steeped in a rich musical tradition that binds families, communities, and generations together. This is the world that Shellie and Danielle were born into. The two sisters grew up singing together and with the people closest to them, but when Danielle married into a military family and moved away, it was the music that kept these siblings connected.

Having always yearned to perform music professionally, Shellie and Danielle's dream was put on pause until one fateful day when Shellie received an unexpected call from her younger sister, who said, "I'm moving back home, let's do this."

Now, the singing sisters form two halves of their band, Hearts of Kin, and the dream they shared together growing up has become a beautiful reality.


Flying the Coop: Awele Oye-Onwuka


Today's story belongs to Awele Oye-Onwuka from Lagos, Nigeria (and from Antigonish, Nova Scotia).

Like many young people in Canada today, Awele is an international student hailing from the lively, busy city of Lagos, Nigeria. Awele loved growing up in Nigeria, having extremely close relationships to family and neighbours alike. That said, even as a young girl Awele planned on travelling abroad for her studies.

Her original plan was to study in France, and if not France, then somewhere else in Europe. It was at her parents' urging that she began to research alternate destinations for study, which eventually led Awele to discover a small university in the quiet town of Antigonish, Nova Scotia.

Taking a huge leap of faith, Awele chose St. Francis Xavier University, and a few short years later, has now found herself loving the school and town that she has come to call her own. Now, she shares her excitement and love for St. FX to prospective students, inspiring them with her story of courage, curiosity, and compassion.


A Second Chance: Anita and Kevin


Have you ever wondered what became of your high school sweetheart? For former flames Anita and Kevin, this common curiosity became a window of opportunity two decades after the young couple parted ways. However, a series of coincidental synchronicities kept the two connected.   

Having broken up at the end of high school, Anita and Kevin would both go on to meet new lovers during their college years, eventually getting married and starting families. Neither could shake the deep connection they shared when they were together as kids, and when both marriages ended in separation, the smouldering embers of their former love began to burn brightly again.


No Corners Cut: Julia Rivard Dexter


Like many children, Julia struggled with reading. This would become a source of strife and insecurity for the young girl, until she found her fit in competitive canoe kayaking. In the world of sports Julia excelled. Her dedication and commitment would lead her to the top of her game, and eventually, the Olympics in 2000.

After the games, it was time for a new challenge, so Julia threw herself into entrepreneurship. At the time, her son Max started to have his own struggles with reading. Not wanting Max to feel the same insecurity she had felt in school, Julia would go to found and launch Squiggle Park, a learning platform that gamifies literacy education. The goal at first was simple: find a better way for her own son to learn how to read. The impact, however, became much larger than that.


Creating an Empathy Exchange: Deborah Bakti


Deb's story belongs like many love stories do: girl meets boy at a bar and the two fall for each other. The "boy" in question was Ty, Deb's late husband. Deb and Ty had built the perfect life together with happy, healthy kids, and a gainful career working as a seniors' home executive. This idyllic life would be shaken to it's core when Ty, out of the blue, started to experience the debilitating symptoms of an extremely rare disease. The next few years of their lives were dedicated to the search for answers. As Deb ferociously pursued a diagnosis for her ailing husband, an inevitable conclusion lingered on the couple's horizon: that Ty's needs would eventually bring him to a long-term care home.

Following Ty's passing, Deb would quit her corporate job and start her own consultancy and training business, dedicated to preserving the memory of Ty by helping to foster the kind of human, relational conversations between staff and family that lead to better care for the residents.


Making Connections as a Storyteller: Jackie Torrens


How do you communicate with the world? This weeks guest seeks connection through the stories she shares as a filmmaker, actor and journalist. Jackie Torrens is one of Canada’s brightest talents. Winning awards for performances on stage and screen, she has directed multiple critically acclaimed feature documentaries and broken glass ceilings as a writer. There is a good chance you’ve been moved to laughter or tears by her work on screens small and big, over the last 25 years.

Her creative love letters to the world are informed by a childhood filled with tragedy and an adolescence that forced her to firmly stand on her own two feet. But as you’ll hear, Jackie has an inner strength that has propelled her through any obstacle society and fate threw at her. Today, her life is full of love, joy and new opportunities to tell us stories, in ways only she can.