As we’re told to stay home this holiday season, it’s become even more important to have that connection to family when away from our loved ones.
For Tracy Lagasse in Ajax, Ont., that connection was provided by an ornamental lighthouse.
“It’s a piece of home, it’s from my family. So it’s sort of irreplaceable,” says Lagasse, who moved away from her home province of Nova Scotia more than 25 years ago.
The ornament, which stands three feet tall, was a gift from her parents — a replica of the lighthouses we’ve grown accustomed to seeing on the east coast, symbolic for not just their function, but their presence, as well.
The decorative one she was given was a piece of art, handcrafted especially for her family, with a matching one on her parents’ property back home.
“It was handmade by a senior citizen sort of in the local community who did it as a hobby.”
It’s been at the end of her driveway since she got it three years ago, a symbol of the place she once used to live — Ingonish, Nova Scotia. But in October, it disappeared in broad daylight.
“My husband came home, and it was just gone,” she said. “We thought it was odd. We racked our brains for a few days about who would take something like this.”
“You sort of feel like a little bit of a victim of a needless crime, you know? We tried to make light of it, but it was disappointing.”
After posting about the theft online, even reporting it to police, she had given up — until she got a lead from someone named Gord.
Or so she thought.
“He said, ‘I can’t tell you any information over the phone or send you something in writing,’” she recalled. “He said, ‘You need to meet me in person.’”
The end result was a mysterious meeting at the most Canadian destination you can find: a local Tim Hortons, where this good samaritan delivered a big surprise. But it wasn’t what she thought.
“He said, ‘I don’t have your lighthouse, or information about your lighthouse,” she said. “I said okay, and he opened up his van and I saw a new lighthouse.”
.Gord Townin, a Toronto firefighter, says when he saw the news, he felt connected to her loss.
“My daughter went to Dalhousie and my wife and I have been to Peggy’s Cove in Nova Scotia several times,” he said.
He saw the story about her lighthouse being stolen online, thought about it and decided to search for one himself.
“I found one, there was a company in Boston that makes them. And I ordered two,” he said. “One for my wife for Christmas and one for Tracy.”
For Lagasse, the gesture was reminiscent of that East Coast hospitality.
“I was just blown away,” said Lagasse. “I was really just speechless that a complete stranger saw that and was motivated to do something so kind.”
And now that Tracy has a new lighthouse, Gord actually hopes his act of generosity will bring her old one back.
“If there’s somebody out there who knows who took that lighthouse, I’m sure she’d appreciate to have it back and she can have two,” he said.
Thanks to Gord’s spirit of giving, Tracy can now have a piece of the East Coast back in her life again — just in time for the holidays.
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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