Honored by siblings, Mike Holmes and Karen Holmes
Agnes Adele Holmes (nee Doucet) was born in Timmins on February 27, 1926 and John Victor (Vic) Holmes was born in Ottawa on August 23, 1926.
In those days, it was hard to believe one could meet a life partner, so far away, but at seventeen, Vic left home, as he was transferred from Ottawa with Gamble Robinson (a national food manufacturer) to become assistant office manager in their Timmins branch. Agnes was working as an assistant to a C.A. in Timmins, when Vic arrived on the scene. Both were unable to pursue a university education due to WWII as each was responsible to provide funds to educate younger siblings. They did so without resentment, such were the times. However, they so valued education and both would have been strong candidates to attend university, if it were possible. Their shared view of the importance of education for their future children was motivation for their hard work and dedication over the years.
They met while acting in community theatre and enjoyed a long, happy courtship and they were married in 1949.They set their sites on North Bay as a honeymoon destination and a place to live and raise a family.
Vic began his entrepreneurial grounding by opening Barker-Holmes Motors on Fisher Street, in 19.. Featuring cars of the day, such as the “Nash” “Peugeot “ and “Mini”, he and Bernie Barker made a success of it for many years. However, due to his partner’s desire to pursue other interests, Vic closed up shop, sold the land and the building to a grocery chain and moved into the diamond drilling business until the bottom fell out of the copper business.
Frustrated by volatile markets, Vic decided to enter the real estate market, because he cared about the city he lived in and wanted to be an integral part of it. He began as a sales representative with Bain and Graham Real Estate on Ferguson St. and, after he became a Broker in 1968, he opened his own Brokerage, Vic Holmes Real Estate, right around the corner, on McIntyre St. East. Vic’s company enjoyed #1 position in the city for many years and continued to do so, after Mike Holmes joined his father in 1976 and eventually became the new owner, along with Norm Pellerin in 1986. Both Vic and his son Mike served as Presidents of the North Bay Real Estate Board.
Over 37 years, both Agnes and Vic became very engaged in the community by volunteering in charitable groups such as Rotary, Knights of Columbus, Catholic Women’s League, St. Joseph’s Hospital Auxiliary and became sponsors of many local initiatives. They believed in giving back to their community and have taught us to do the same. They both enjoyed, long, happy friendships that lasted well over 50 years.
Vic and Agnes raised five children, David, Lisa, Michael, Karen and Gerard in this city and they took their past feelings regarding education to heart and made sure each child attended university. Consequently, all five graduated from the University of Western Ontario. It was this accomplishment, of which they were most proud.
In 1975, after the children had left home, Agnes opened a clothing boutique named, Le Pavillion located on McIntyre St. West. It was the first store of its kind in North Bay, as she carried one of a kind, designer labels such as Anne Klein, Outlander and leather goods from Paris and Milan. She had to make a strong sales pitch to the buyers in Toronto, to convince them to allow her to sell their lines in the north and it worked. It was a lifelong dream of hers, so she and Vic worked to make it happen after the task of raising children was over. Their daughter Karen was fortunate to work with her Mother during these years and see first hand, what a capable businessperson she was.
Vic and Agnes moved to Oakville in 1986, to be nearer all of their grandchildren, but North Bay continued to be an important part of their lives. Frequent visits, particularly in summer, continued the connection and their fondness for the city. Vic continued to sell real estate in the Town of Oakville, until he retired at the age of 78. He has been recognized as one of only a few Realtors who have worked continuously in the industry, for close to 50 years. He is proud that two of his children, Mike and Karen, have followed in his real estate footsteps.
This leaf is an homage to our dear departed Mother, who graced us with her wisdom, elegance and heart and our Father who continues his journey of life with integrity, good humour and an ever present optimistic outlook. We thank them for the many opportunities they have afforded us and the love they have brought into our lives.