During early August 2021, British Columbia experienced a loosening in Covid restrictions resulting from over 80% of our provincial population (aged 12 +) having received one or both of the Covid vaccines. This offered the perfect window of time to co-plan a 60th Birthday/Retirement surprise celebration for my brother, Mark.

The date, time, and location were determined for this outdoor event up in northern B.C.

Mark’s beautiful partner, Begona, and I started the planning committee. So many caring people ended up being involved and assisting with the surprise celebration. My brother is truly blessed and clearly well loved by so many!

My beautiful family

This blog post is dedicated to my incredible and talented brother Mark, his partner, Begona; our 88 year old mom Patti who made the long trip; and all the beautiful people who were part of this amazing day.

There was certainly boundless amounts of enthusiasm, happiness, and love experienced on August 14th in Mark’s backyard in northern B.C.! To protect identities, I will not be using people’s surnames. Special thanks to my husband Mark, Marilyn, and Blanca for contributing photos or video clips shared in this post.

After months of initial planning, communication, and redirection based on Covid updates, the final days played out something like this.

Begona, Blanca, and Angela were quick to assist and have fun!

My husband Mark, mom (Patti), and I travelled by ferry and vehicle departing August 10th from Port Hardy up to Prince Rupert then headed East. (A blog post of our trip through areas of B.C. will follow this post). Other dear friends flew north from the lower mainland (Vancouver area).

Mark was thrilled to see school BFF Alex and his lovely wife Marilyn who also flew in for the event!

On August 14th, three of Mark’s neighbors took him out golfing for over 4 hours.

The night before….

While he was away the yard was transformed by family, friends, and incredible neighbors!

Setting up the yard… Some worked inside on photos … Some organized food preparation…

There were display tables with highlights and awards from his career with B.C. Hydro…

Also a myriad of highlights from Mark’s childhood, family, and hobbies.

Family displays

In spite of a sampling of rain and a few gusts of wind, the outdoor event was a huge surprise and success. This video shows some of the highlights from Mark’s arrival and the speeches prior to the BBQ, cake and activities time.

Mark’s surprise celebration!

Special thanks to Kathy, Chad, Charlotte, Lennie, Doug, and Marie for sending emails to share with Mark. Thanks to Kate, Bill, Andi, Blanca, and my wonderful hubby Mark for reading these messages. I read your message of love Lennie! Thanks to Harry for reading touching email messages from Mark’s adult children in Ontario. Special thanks to Alex and Tom for the personal, and often humorous, stories about Mark!

The speeches were personal, informative, touching, inspiring, and sometimes comical, but the final presentation was the most emotional.

I had located an ancient cassette tape from the mid 1980’s of our precious Dad (Alex) singing one of his favorite travelling songs. Growing up in isolated northern Vancouver Island meant that each family trip or journey in the car was lengthy. Dad started singing when we departed from our home and Dad, Mom, Mark, and I sang nearly non-stop each entire journey! We lost our Dad in 2007 and we miss him from the depths of our souls.

I knew Dad would be so proud to hear all these touching stories and tributes about Mark. My husband and I created a CD for Mark including songs Mark sang in grade 8, a couple of my classical conservatory piano numbers, and our Dad singing.

Upon hearing Dad’s melodic, beautiful voice singing one of our favorite travelling songs from our childhood Mark, mom, and I all were overcome with the deepest emotion and intense need to bond together. It was extremely personal, so I will only share a snippet of this family experience.

Dad’s travelling song…

This is for you Dad with love forever and always.

I relinquished the MC role as Mark and Begona shared their thanks and appreciation. It was time to eat, socialize and prepare for more upcoming surprises!

Rain? What rain?
Bring on the food!

Matt, Andi, and their gorgeous daughters had created a surprise for Mark! Since they were toddlers Mark had an endless stash of Kinder-surprise eggs as a treat for them. They decided to create a Kinder-Surprise piñata for his enjoyment! Here are a few pictures… there are more in the next video…

Kinder-Surprise piñata!

Next was the incredible trick cake created by Sierra. We were all in shock and awe as 60 photos were pulled out of the center of the cake!!! Very cool Sierra!

Sierra’s amazing Photo Surprise Carrot Cake!

While the DJ played his tunes we took turns relaxing, dancing, and visiting. However there was one other special item needing attention….

Last month my handsome nephew Shelby and his beautiful bride Kiersten were married in Blind River, Ontario.

Due to covid restrictions and Patti’s health my husband Mark, mom, and I were unable to attend the wedding. Shelby’s wish was that he dance with his nana to the song “Knock 3 Times” by Tony Orlando and Dawn.

Knock 3 Times — This is dedicated to you Shelby! Starring nana aged 88 years!

So…. In honor of Shelby, his dad (my brother) Mark and his 88 year old nana (Patti) danced “Knock 3 Times” together. This is for you Shelby!

There were so many beautiful moments to capture from this wonderful event! Thanks to all who attended my brother, Mark’s, surprise 60th birthday/Retirement party. This next video covers some more of the fun from the piñata to hanging out in Marks garage!

More fun from Mark’s party!

This blog post adventure is dedicated to my one and only brother. 🥰 Love you Mark! Begona… You’re a charismatic, loving, and charming future sister! Thanks for the memories!

The next post will be about our travels around British Columbia during August. Cheers. Keep safe!