Mark Robinson and Ruby Wimenta

June 2022

The love story of Mark Robinson and Ruby Wimenta took many twists and turns throughout their adolescence and into adulthood, but in their mid-twenties, the timing was finally right for their connection to deepen and for them to truly come together.

The couple first met as grade nine students in high school in Mississauga. Ruby’s family had made their way to the GTA after leaving Indonesia and living in multiple places, including Houston, where Ruby spent a good portion of her childhood.

Mark and Ruby had English class together, and Mark says he would admire Ruby from his seat at the back of the room.

“I had a friend at the time who was also into her, and I didn’t really want to get in the way, so I kind of just left it to its own devices,” says Mark. “At one point, we attended a house party together where Ruby ended up asking me out.”

“Obviously, I jumped at the opportunity,” he adds. Mark and Ruby then dated for several months in grade nine.

“We learned a lot about each other and a lot about dating during those months,” says Mark. Neither had ever dated before, so they got to learn about relationships together.

After about seven months, Mark broke up with Ruby. The two remained friendly, but over time they fell out of touch. Both Mark and Ruby had other relationships that lasted throughout high school and into university.

“I would hear things about Ruby through the grapevine, but we weren’t in direct contact for about seven years,” says Mark.

After several years of post-secondary education in Toronto, Mark left to attend school in Atlanta, Georgia to study automotive engineering and business management. Ruby stayed in Southern Ontario and took business accounting.

Before he left, Mark’s friends threw him a going-away party and Ruby’s friends dragged her along. Ruby was unaware she was crashing a party for Mark. That was the last time they saw one another for several more years.

They continued to date other people while pursuing their education and entering the workforce. Both inform me that they found long-term partners that they thought they’d end up with.

“Ruby’s situation was similar to mine, the person who she was with, she thought that was it. I was also in a relationship that I thought was leading to marriage.”
Safe to say, those relationships did not work out, and Ruby and Mark found themselves out of long-term relationships in their mid-twenties.

Mark headed home for holidays, and he happened to be back in town right around Ruby’s birthday in October.

“I don’t know what possessed me to do this, but one night I decided to go take a walk around the mall. I hadn’t been there for years, and I had nothing to do,” says Mark. “I ran into one of our mutual friends, Andrea, and she told me she was there shopping for a gift for Ruby. We walked around the mall together and I helped her look for a gift. Before we parted ways, I stopped and grabbed a gift card at the mall and told Andrea to give it to Ruby and wish her a happy birthday from me.”

Mark was not expecting anything to come from his gesture, but a few days later he got a call from Ruby thanking him for the gift.

This started them on a path of reconnection where they would talk on the phone and catch up on one another’s lives.

“We had a four-hour conversation at one point,” says Ruby. “I remember we went to sleep really late.” From there, Ruby ended up visiting Mark in Atlanta for a weekend.

“I think that weekend is when things really clicked between us,” says Mark. “As soon as she got back, we started talking on the phone every day.”

Their relationship grew as Mark finished up his last semester, and Ruby joined Mark’s parents on the trip down to Atlanta for Mark’s graduation.

Mark moved back to Mississauga after his graduation and he and Ruby continued to date.

“That’s kind of how our relationship developed from just being acquaintances, or even a memory, into being fully together,” says Mark.

As for their move to Thunder Bay, both were pleasantly surprised by their first Thunder Bay winter. It had been a hard sell for Ruby, but they decided the best move for their family was for Mark to take a position as Service Manager at Half-Way Motors Nissan in town.

“I anticipated it being a lot colder up here. We keep hearing that it was the worst winter in decades, and if that’s the case, we feel we can take it,” says Mark.

“When we were considering moving here, Ruby and I went out and bought the -45 degree jackets, we stocked up on thermals, we were really anticipating artic weather up here, but honestly it didn’t end up being as bad as we expected.”

“I appreciate the air quality here,” adds Ruby. “The kids are enjoying their extracurriculars here, and they’re actually enjoying being at school.”

“With 35 kids crammed in a classroom, you don’t get the same attention in tthe GTA as you do here,” says Mark. “It’s easier for them to make friends here.”

Mark mentions that he is a big astrology guy, and both he and Ruby love that they can look up and see the night sky and all the stars unobscured by smog.

They’ve been busy exploring the city and the outskirts. One day they took a country drive all the way out Dog Lake Road until they reached Dog Lake Resort and turned around.

“The lakes you see here are absolutely beautiful. The water is so clear, and when the sun shines on them they look like glass,” says Mark.

They’ve had a warm welcome since arriving in the city, and they especially have appreciated the warmth shown to them by the Trevisanutto family as Mark has adjusted to his role at Nissan.

“They have been so welcoming,” says Ruby. “They have been our pillars here for making Thunder Bay feel like home for our whole family.”

Mark and Ruby view their reunion later in life as destiny, and it’s difficult not to. As Mark says, “There were so many things that had to line up for us to reconnect. If I hadn’t run into Andrea at the mall at that specific spot, Ruby and I likely would have never been married. We do kind of see it as fate intervening.”

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

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