After 43 years of marriage, John Tory and his wife Barbara Hackett still seem to be smitten with one another.
Being the mayor of Toronto, it's no surprise that Tory's best memories with his wife are in the city they call home. Some of their favourite date spots, they say, are also in Toronto.
Narcity spoke to the couple ahead of Valentine's Day about their romantic plans, embarrassing first date stories, favourite Netflix shows and secrets to a long and happy marriage.
How did you first meet?
John: "We sat down next to each other totally by chance in a York University class 44 years ago. We had both come to the class with our respective boyfriend [and] girlfriend."
According to Barbara, Toronto's mayor actually had "long, red hair" back then.
Who asked who out first?
John: "Barb basically asked me out — to go for a beer at the grad pub. Knowing her, she [didn't] have to muster up any courage. I, on the other hand, had to muster up some courage to accept!"
Barbara: "We sat together in the grad pub all afternoon, covering every topic there was to talk about."
Where was your first official date?
John: "[Our] first real date was to the Royal Alexandra Theatre to see Equus. We went for dinner before to a pasta place on King Street. There wasn’t as much choice then — we are talking the '70s, after all."
Tell us about the proposal. How did it all go down?
John: "I mentioned it was coming one day when we were lying in a somewhat inebriated state on the Plains of Abraham in Quebec. I followed shortly after with a printed t-shirt. My parents asked if she was sure she couldn’t find anyone better."
What was the wedding like?
John: "[It was] May 27, 1978, [at the] Islington United Church. The reception was at the Weston Golf Club. A very nice 'traditional' wedding on a very hot day. We returned to both places on our 40th anniversary in 2018."
Barbara: "I even surprised John and wore my wedding dress (much tighter fitting)."
What's your favourite spot for a date night in Toronto?
John: "For special occasions over all those years — Canoe at the TD Centre."
Barbara: "And for something more casual; a short walk to Bar Mercurio. Ciao!"
What's your secret to a long and happy marriage?
Barbara: "My husband’s long hours at work."
John: "In my case, as a politician and self-confessed workaholic – marry someone very understandable."
Any secrets to maintaining a work-life balance?
John: "I have no advice that should be listened to on work-life balance. I still need some encouragement on that."
Barbara: "He’s working on work-life balance. Work seems to be winning so far."
Do you have nicknames for each other?
John: "No nicknames really — Barb knows if I call her 'Barbara' something is up."
Barbara: "Yes, but no, cannot share!"
Finally, what are your plans for Valentine's Day this weekend?
John: "Spending the day in lockdown like everyone else. We have been taking daily walks together in different parks each weekend. We watch Netflix and read. I talk on the phone quite a bit and Barb does too. Valentine's dinner will come from Sash Restaurant."
The mayor says their favourite shows are Yellowstone, Lupin, Borgen, and Your Honor.
Barbara: "Open a nice bottle of wine, enjoy our special dinner; and probably do what most couples do."