Albert and Alison Tjong

September 2021

Alison and Albert met in Toronto while they were both part of a team of staff working at a newly opened East Side Mario’s. “We became fast friends,” says Alison.

Alison grew up in Thunder Bay but left the city to attend York University. Albert is from Toronto.

After a short time, Albert moved on to working at Red Lobster, and Alison decided to follow him there for the prospect of a higher wage.

Early on, they’d go bowling together with a group of friends. “We would go bowling in the middle of the night because of the late hours we worked at the restaurant,” says Alison.

“Every Sunday was club night,” adds Albert when I ask about their early dating days. “That was fun, that was a long time ago.” “It was in the cards,” says Albert of their eventual romance.

From their words, their relationship seems to be one that went naturally and effortlessly from good friends to life partners.

Albert was also working for RBC, and he was travelling to Thunder Bay every other month or so for work. “I would come to Thunder Bay while Alison was in Toronto, so I would end up seeing her family more than she would.”

Albert really enjoyed his trips here and that is a big part of why he and Alison ended up leaving Toronto to come to Thunder Bay. “Coming here opened my eyes to how awesome it is,” he says.

“We got married in Thunder Bay in 2008 at the Valhalla while we were still living in Toronto. We moved to Thunder Bay in 2016,” says Albert.

“The transition was pretty seamless for me,” says Albert. “I already knew a lot of people at work, and I make friends quickly, so I didn’t have a lot of trouble there. Due to the nature of my job, I had to immerse myself in the city, so that also helped me to get to know it.”

“When I moved away, I thought I would never come back to Thunder Bay,” says Alison. “I think that’s a common sentiment for a lot of us who move away. But then, at some point, after I had a family, I realized what Thunder Bay had to offer in a way that I never had before. Now, I’m really happy to be here.”

What do they love about living here? The space, extra time, and short commutes.

“In Toronto, you can’t call a friend and ask if they want to meet in twenty minutes for coffee or to go for a walk. That type of thing always had to be very planned,” says Alison.

“And the kids have a really great quality of life here,” says Alison. “They get to play with the neighbourhood kids, they get to do more things outdoors. It’s freer and more open for them.”

“It’s a better space to raise four kids,” adds Albert. “The kids love places like Trowbridge and the Cascades. We love going to the beach. Twenty minutes in either direction and you can hit a public beach,” says Alison.

The couple mention that they also love going to the Sleeping Giant Brewery, and really enjoy that the brewery has opened itself up to a lot of kid-friendly activities and events.

In discussion about the new daycare that sprung out of Sleeping Giant Brewing Co. during the pandemic, Alison emphasizes the fact that in Thunder Bay, you can do unexpected things like start a daycare in a brewery.

“You can do anything here! All kinds of unique mish-mashes happen here with new businesses.”

With the upcoming opening of Goods & Co. Market in the old Eaton’s Building, this certainly seems accurate. This city offers space for interesting, dynamic business ventures and collaborations.

Alison works as a Corrective Exercise Specialist for core and pelvic floor and Yoga Instructor. She is home-based and has a small studio she works out of there, seeing clients in person and virtually. You can check out what she does at her website,

Albert is a Wealth Advisor and Financial Planner at RBC Dominion Securities. He can be reached at

Cassandra Blair has a Masters of Arts in English Literature and is a regular contributor to Bayview.

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