A Valentine’s Day tribute to a loving couple

By Kathryn Stocks

George and Elizabeth Lake are the perfect couple for a Valentine’s Day feature. They’ve been married for 74 years, they still care deeply about each other and throughout their life together George always gave red roses to Elizabeth on Valentine’s Day.

George then 95, (George passed away shortly after this article was written) Elizabeth is 96 and they reside at the Tony Stacey Centre for Veterans Care on Lawson Road. Diana LeBlanc, who works in Development and Public Relations at the centre, said, “They’re a very loving couple. They’re always sitting together and they hold hands constantly. If she’s upset, he’ll call for help.”

George was born in Scarborough in 1921 and Elizabeth in Hillier, Ontario, in 1920. The couple met in 1939 and were engaged during the war in 1941. They married on August 1, 1942, at the old church at St. Margaret’s in the Pines in West Hill. George was serving in the Canadian Army throughout the Second World War from 1940 to 1945 in England, France, Holland and Belgium. Like many Canadian servicemen during that time, he only had a three-day leave to get married.

The couple had one child during the war years, Robert in 1944, and three more when the war was over. Lynda was born in 1947, Daniel in 1955, and Michael in 1958.

George and Elizabeth lived in East Toronto at Woodbine and Danforth until 1951, then moved to Kingston Road and McCowan where they lived for 51 years in the same home. Their next step was a condo in Scarborough where they spent 12 years.

After returning from the war, George worked as an engineer for CNR until his retirement. Elizabeth worked in shipping at Smith Transport and at Eaton’s catalogue.

Elizabeth stopped working in the mid-1970s and George retired in 1982. They remained in their Scarborough home and were very involved with the Scarborough Village Seniors’ Centre. They also spent time travelling in Canada, with some U.S. trips and Caribbean cruises. What they enjoyed most though was home time with their grandchildren. Their son Michael says they were always willing to watch his kids. George and Elizabeth had eight grandchildren and three greatgrandchildren.

When George moved to the Tony Stacey Centre in April 2010, Elizabeth visited him faithfully. Stephanie Burgess, the centre’s receptionist, said, “She was a huge advocate for him before she started living here. I really like her and he’s such a gentle soul.” George has limited mobility, but he has been stable since moving to the centre. Elizabeth remained on her own until 2015 when her health began to decline and she joined him there. George and Elizabeth are an affectionate couple who are happy to be able to spend another Valentine’s Day together.