They each moved to Whitehorse to start fresh, but Bruce and Jana McDonald never thought that would include a second chance at love. Jana, a psychologist, moved north in 2012 after her 30-year marriage and then-Alberta-based job came to an end. One of her sons, who lived in Inuvik, knew how much she loved Whitehorse and told her about an opening with Child and Adolescent Therapeutic Services. Bruce, an officer with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, came here in 2008 from Hay River, NWT. A decade earlier, his 27-year marriage had ended, and when an opportunity arose to be closer to his two sons, he seized it.The 63-year-old was “minding his own business” when his path crossed with hers on February 5, 2012 at the city’s Church Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints service.“I was doing my normal duties there,” Bruce remembers, “and I turned around and there was one other person sitting in the front row. That was Jana. I went home and wrote in my journal that she was a very striking woman.”The two quickly became friends, but had some serious soul-searching to do before they pursued their mutual attraction.“I hadn’t really considered remarrying,” says Bruce. “For several months I spent a lot of time thinking about her but also thinking that I needed to stay on the same track I was one. In our church, marriage is a pretty serious business.”We both had been in covenant, or eternal, marriages,” explains Jana. “But when we went to the youth conference in Alaska [supervising younger church members], I realized ‘I think I just met my future husband’.”For Bruce’s part, he was “wishing and hoping but wasn’t really active in expressing my interest.”That soon changed as they set about the task of getting the blessings of their large, far-flung family members. “Before we could get engaged,” Jana says, “he needed to meet my six children and their six spouses, my 11 grandchildren, my father, and my eight siblings. It took a lot of travelling, and he was interviewed by all of my siblings on the phone or on Skype.”They also had to wait to get married until they were in the same city at the same time. Bruce left for the Maldives in the Indian Ocean for work and Jana left on a humanitarian trip to Tonga and Samoa. “But eventually we both got back and we were married in Edmonton on August 3, 2013,” laughs Jana. “We went to Cancun on our honeymoon and then moved into our one-bedroom apartment.”Now the couple can be seen walking home from work along 6th Avenue, arm in arm, each evening. “People honk at us and wave,” Jana says. “And some even call out ‘you’re so cute.’”At open mic nights, lucky locals also get to hear Bruce serenade Jana with his acoustic guitar. One of their favourites, Tracy Byrd’s “Keeper of the Stars” — which Bruce sang at their wedding — captures their philosophy exactly:It was no accident me finding you/Someone had a hand in it/Long before we ever knew.“When two people who aren’t looking find each other,” says Jana, “you realize there’s divine intervention.”
About The Author
Yukon Love Columnist Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail fell in love with the Yukon while she was a writer-in-residence at Berton House. Now she's telling the Territory's tales of romance.