An Affair to Remember
What’s in a first date? Some are memorable. Most are not. Even if it is remarkable, few people actually remember the calendar date. But not Ginette Lagacé. For her, June 12, 2003 is one first date she will never forget.
This isn’t the only date Ginette remembers. There was also the life altering first date with her husband Ray Pelletier. The two had known each other for twenty years before finally going on their first date. They met while Ginette was working with the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC). Over the years, the two would run into each other when Ray would be contracted to do some work and a friendship developed. As is often the case, life took a turn and Ray asked Ginette out for coffee. One thing led to another and, before long, their families were blended, and the two love birds were off building a new life together.
It was in August 2002, while romancing in Quebec City on a patio, a group of touring motorcyclists appeared. Ray, being an astute man (after all he did marry Ginette), casually mentioned that motorcycling looked like fun and sheepishly suggested the two of them could take up this activity. Perhaps it was the new romance with Ray, or the intoxication of drink and the beautiful surrounds of Quebec City, but Ginette said ‘sure’ and immediately forgot about it. But not Ray. With that blessing, the following month Ray brought home their new BMW motorcycle. Unbeknownst to Ginette, that simple, loving, and in passing one-word appeasing answer has precipitated the purchase of thousands of motorcycles and sustained an entire powersports industry.
The pair joined the BMW Motorcycle Club of Ottawa in 2003 and were very sociable. They appreciated the embrace of the open arm welcome from their new motorcycling community and began to get more involved and volunteer their time.
It wasn’t long thereafter that Ray took over as Club President and Ginette the Club Secretary. Elections in those early days were not the formal affair they are today and capable volunteers often assumed roles. So, Ray assumed the role as president, and Ginette who was passionate about Ray (and the camaraderie in the Club), assumed the role of secretary. Perhaps that was serendipitous.
Ginette’s union organizing experience with PSAC is what led to the research and drafting of the Club’s first constitution and by-laws. Until this point, they didn’t exist. These by-laws, among other things, also included procedures for elections and stand as the Club’s foundation today. Over the years Ginette would apply that same attention to detail to organize key elements for the first ART School in 2007 and countless numbers of Club rides, rallies and social events. In other words, Ginette has always been there to lay the groundwork for what we enjoy today.
Fittingly, Ginette Lagacé is the recipient of the BMW Motorcycle Club of Ottawa 2020 David Makin Award. As for the date of June 12, 2003? That was the day Ginette first shared a seat with Ray on their new motorcycle and opened her eyes to the joys of motorcycle travel. An unforgettable first date that became an affair to remember.
Andrew Beattie aka THE Motelorcyclist