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Gary and Sandy Elliott, originally from Ottawa, Canada, moved to Marco Island several years ago. Elliott, a Realtor for Keller Williams, noticed there were Irish, Cuban and Italian clubs on the island.

He commented to his wife, Sandy, they needed to add another.

“Maybe we should start a Canadian Club,” said Gary Elliott. They did.

So, 45 Canadians attended their first event at the Marco Island Center for the Arts.

The club celebrating five years now has 300 members who get together once or twice a month to talk about their experiences, network and have fun. Sandy owns Sandy Elliott Interiors. Both Sandy and Gary are American citizens.

It’s estimated that about 400 Canadians own houses and condos on Marco.

Once a year, the Canadian Consulate in Miami comes to Marco to talk about the latest in passports and travel. On Feb. 23, there will be a luncheon at the Marco YMCA. Naples Community Hospital will be talking about using their Canadian medical emergency insurance and how it works with NCH.

Recently, the Marco Island Center For the Arts hosted a “welcome back” party for members of the club. Around 80 attended the presentation of “Love Letters” starring Hyla Crane and Dave Rice.

Canadian-based BMO Harris Bank in The Esplanade and Island Title were the evening’s sponsors. BMO supplied champagne and Island Title served fancy chocolates.

Elliott heard from several who attended.

Canadians Dave and Yolande McGeown live in a small town called Harrow on Lake Erie. They have have been coming to Marco for 24 years.

“We would never stay in Harrow during the winter, it’s very icy,” Yolande said.

“Keeping the 30 mph speed limit on the island is a bit of a challenge,” she admitted, as Canadian speed limits are much faster. Going a bit too fast a couple weeks ago, she was stopped for going a wee bit over the limit. A couple of days later at a softball game, she saw the nice police officer who stopped her.

“He smiled and waved,” she recalled, pleasantly. “I was lucky he just gave me a warning.”

Gordon Bullock and his wife, Eva, attended the welcome back party. They are from Hamilton, Ontario. He grew up in England, playing cricket before the family moved to Hamilton. Gordon and Eva have been wintering on Marco 20 years.

“Before I retired, I was a newspaper publisher for three newspapers in Canada – the Hamilton Spectator, the Windsor Star and the Edmonton Journal,” he said. In Hamilton, he reads the Marco Island Sun Times online (marcoislandflorida.com) to keep up with the latest goings-on.

According to U.S. rules and Canadian law, Canadians can stay 182 days without losing their health care up north. If they over-stay, they have to apply for insurance back in Canada, which takes three months to take effect.

More information

The club’s last event in March will be a party on the rooftop at BMO Harris Bank at The Esplanade. For more information call Gary Elliott, 248-1776

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