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John Ricard and Colleen Roberts.

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Who: John Ricard, 65, high-school teacher, Colleen Roberts, 63, urban planner

Relationship status: Married since 1983

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Location: Windermere, B.C.

Boy walks onto a bus

The couple met while backpacking in Crete.

Colleen: After university, I was backpacking through Europe. These days, young people go to Asia, but Europe was cheap back then. I was in Crete when I saw this guy on a bus in a Montreal Canadiens shirt. Being a Leafs fan, I didn’t like it. I said, “Why are you wearing such an ugly shirt on such a beautiful island?”

John: And then you asked if I wanted to share a pension. I think what I heard was “Do you want to sleep with me?” I’m kidding, I’m kidding. That was what you did when you were travelling – share accommodation.

Colleen: It wasn’t love at first sight or anything. I saw this nice big Canadian farm boy and I thought he would be a good person to travel with. I liked him. Did you like me, honey?

John: Sure. We got along well, we travelled well together. We still do. Back then we played a lot of cribbage.

Colleen: He beat me, but it wasn’t fair. He was a math teacher.

Will you marry me? How about now?

John: After travelling, I went back to teaching in Calgary and Colleen was at Waterloo. We were long distance for a while – we wrote letters.

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Colleen: This was back when flights and phone calls were really expensive.

John: I think I asked her to marry me several times and she just sort of ignored me. And then one day I asked again and she said yes. I’m not sure why.

Colleen: There was alcohol involved.

John: But she already knew she was going to say yes. I called to talk to her parents and they said they were waiting for our call.

Colleen: I had left the phone book open to Casa Loma and it was circled, so they knew. My friends had told me I had to get married there. I thought, yeah, I like the idea of a castle. And it only cost $400 at the time. We had to book it more than two years in advance.

Separate together

Colleen: I think our relationship works because we are both independent people. We’re not the couple that is always having to be together. We installed a double shower in the downstairs bathroom. We joke that that’s where we check in with each other every morning just to see what the other has going on.

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John: When I was teaching, we weren’t able to travel as much as we would have liked to, but since I’ve retired, we’ve been able to get back to it. We spent five weeks in South Africa over the winter.

Colleen: I did an ultralight flight over Victoria Falls, which is like a hand glider with a motor. I’m the excitement junkie

John: And I’m the one on the ground updating our insurance policies. One thing we don’t disagree on any more is hockey. We’re both Flames fans.

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