Our neighbours

David and Rowan Coyne share a father-daughter bond. Photo by Bonnie Weppler.

If there’s a backyard barbecue going on or a floor-by-floor apartment party at a certain three-storey red brick apartment on Echo Drive, it’s likely Dave Coyne is behind it. Such events appeal to Dave’s strong sense of community. 

Dave used to be the chef de cuisine at The Urban Pear in the Glebe, as well as ‘Chef Dave’ at Loblaws’ Cooking School and the LCBO’s cooking classes. He talks about the community built by those who work in the local restaurant scene and how they all hang out together.  

Dave describes the community at Featherston Drive Public School, where he has been a Grade 2/3 teacher since the fall of 2012.

“It’s a fun school … with a good mix of socio-economic classes, including kids who were previously in refugee camps and kids of diplomats,” he says.

He raves about the principal, Lori Lovett, the personification of the school motto: “Do all the good you can do, as often as you can do it.”

She makes the school a “meaningful place to work,” Dave says.

He talks about the community with whom he works at the Main Farmers’ Market. Dave met Greer Knox, the market’s manager, when he was studying for his Bachelor of Education at the University of Ottawa, where Greer taught. She invited him to volunteer at the market.

As a community builder, he is excited to make links between its various parts.

For example, he has been able to bring the restaurant community, via food trucks, to the market.  

It is during this discussion of the Main Farmers’ Market that Dave’s absolute pride in his daughter Rowan shines through.

“I am so proud of Rowan,” he says. “She helps out at the market and some vendors ask specifically for her to help set up the stalls, put up pricing lists and assist customers.”

Rowan adds she enjoys her time at the market because she sees her friends there and gets to meet the people who work with her dad.

“It’s a great part of our community,” she says.

Dave and Rowan moved to Echo Drive from Manor Park in order to be closer to Lady Evelyn School, which Rowan attended for eight years.

“I wanted to be involved in Rowan’s education and was looking for an alternative school, because parents tend to be a bigger part of the school community in alternative schools,” Dave says.

Although he loves cooking, one of the key reasons Dave left the restaurant business was because he did not have enough time to spend with his daughter.

Rowan has since graduated from Lady Evelyn School and is thinking about what she might like to do when she’s older. Acting is high on the list, but she also mentions interior decoration and architecture. She likes to draw and design, think about colour schemes, and she loves drama class.

“I like to sing too, even though I can’t,” she says.

Rowan will become a teenager this year and her birthday wish is to take a ride in a hot air balloon. Her wish is now in print. Over to you, Dave!

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