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Meet Bob and Daphne

September 2, 2021 Great People

Approaching a blank canvas can be as exciting as it is challenging, to decide how to begin. Bob and Daphne will tell you the best way to get started is by jumping right in—and that’s exactly what they did when they connected over their love of art and sharing their talents with others.

In addition to a lengthy career in electronics, since 1989 Bob has been a fixture in the local art community, teaching hundreds of people ranging in age from young adults to students in their nineties.  “Seeing them grow, never having painted in their life and then going on to have their own displays, I just loved it” he says. “It was very fulfilling.”

Bob’s artistic talents are vast and can stop someone in their tracks—like an iconic CN train featured in his collection. In addition to stunning oil and watercolor paintings, he can often be found spending hours whittling intricate wooden carvings of birds.

Known for featuring boats and water scenes in his art, Bob draws inspiration from his childhood. “My father was a fisherman, so in the summertime I would be with him fishing and while he was fixing up his boat,” says Bob. “Anything with water or boats is my favourite.”

When Bob decided to downsize, he wasn’t sure how he’d settle into life at Parkland. Like any true artist, he approached a new canvas with an open mind. What he didn’t know was that Daphne, a Wellness Coach and professional artist, was already thinking about ways to help Bob feel at home.

“I have been an artist for most of my life and had seen Bob’s art displayed in galleries before,” says Daphne, a certified personal trainer and a fine arts graduate from the University of Ottawa. “When I heard he was coming I got very excited to have a gentleman with talent like his in our community.”

As she does with every new resident, Daphne sat down with Bob when he arrived to learn about his wellness priorities and interests. “In my role I get to learn a little bit about each resident’s background, their history, and any hobbies they have,” she says. “I try to incorporate something for each resident into our programming so everyone feels welcome and at home.”

Not surprisingly, Bob and Daphne’s conversation landed squarely on a shared love of art, which led to a collaborative program for residents of Parkland on the River. “It’s been partially our design and partially what the residents want to do,” says Daphne, noting her and Bob take turns leading the group. “Seeing residents get involved with an activity I’ve created is so rewarding, I really look forward to coming to work every day.”    

For Bob, life at Parkland has opened the door to spending more time doing what he loves. “Having your own apartment with meals, cleaning, and a shuttle to take you to out for things like appointments is a plus,” he says. “If I need anything I just go down to the main floor to ask.”

Anyone who talks with Bob about his pieces or observes him standing at a white board to teach perspective drawing techniques can see a mentor in his element. But for Bob, working with Daphne and leading art classes is more about helping his fellow residents. “As long as we get together as a group and have fun with it, that’s what we want,” he says. “Daphne is very easy to work with—she enjoys my company and I enjoy hers.”

Amazing connections are made each day in our communities. Read more of their stories.