Honoured by Peter & Susan Legate
Anne Legate came to North Bay as a 7-year old, with her 4-year old sister, Jane, in 1973 when her father, Peter, accepted a position as school psychologist with the Nipissing Board of Education and her mother, Susan, a teacher by profession, entered the field of social work.
Anne attended elementary and secondary schools in North Bay, and graduated from the Kinesiology program at the University of Guelph.
Throughout her life Anne was keenly interested in sports. She was a talented gymnast in her early years, and later took up skiing, tennis, competitive canoeing and windsurfing. At Guelph she was a member of the University women’s tennis team.
In her post-University year Anne traveled to Australia as part of a student work abroad program and while there became a qualified Scuba diver, training at the Great Barrier Reef.
She came back to Canada and settled in Victoria, BC, and began work with handicapped adults. Windsurfing, tennis, skiing and camping were the mainstays of her outdoor life, but she also rekindled a long-standing interest in watercolour and acrylic painting. She became a member of the Victoria Society of Artists.
In the winter of 1998, Anne was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and died a year later on February 20, 1999 at the age of thirty-three.
During that year, she lived with her parents on a float home in Victoria Harbour, until being admitted to Victoria Hospice.
Anne was feisty. She remained upbeat and determined, gaining support and comfort from friends and family who made special trips to visit. Her favourite visitor was her 2-year old niece, Emily, with whom she had a special bond. Anne’s last watercolour was a lovely arrangement of poppies that she gave to Emily.
Anne was determined to build Emily a dollhouse as a final gift. She purchased a kit from a shop in Victoria and pieces from it were soon omnipresent in the float home. Her efforts, however, were hampered by her illness. When she entered hospice in January 1999, the dollhouse was still a “work in progress”, but its completion seemed unlikely.
A hospice nurse heard of the dollhouse and contacted a friend who was a member of the “Small Endeavours Miniature Club”, an association whose members are expert in building all things small, including dollhouses and furniture. To Anne’s delight, three ladies from the club took on the challenge of helping her finish the dollhouse.
They set up the project in the lobby of the hospice so that it could be viewed by staff, patients, and visitors at any time. The dollhouse became a focal point as, step by step, it neared completion. The ladies sought guidance from Anne on details such as wallpaper, trim, and contents of the garden.
At the time of Anne’s passing the dollhouse was essentially finished, but the ladies spent additional time adding special touches that they knew both Anne and Emily would love.
Anne’s ashes were committed to her favourite windsurfing spot at Nitinat Lake, Vancouver Island. Her parents returned to North Bay with the dollhouse in safekeeping for Emily.