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Trine and Harry Jensen: paintings to be staged at Dragonfly Arts on Broadway

April 4, 2024   ·   1 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

The best person to talk to and tell about Trine and Harry Jensen from Denmark is Christine Ford, a retired teacher with whom the couple “were like family.” 

By coincidence and happenstance, the Danish couple and Ms. Ford’s own parents moved to Toronto at about the same time and they kept meeting incidentally while living in adjacent buildings. A friendship flourished.

Harry Jensen came from generations of blacksmiths in Denmark and he was a skilled craftsman in metalwork, from fine items in silver to large creations of heavy metals, and woodwork too. He was a butcher by trade.

Trine was a potter and a painter. Harry taught jewellery and metallurgy.

Whilst still living in Toronto, they bought 11 acres in Hockley Valley in the mid-60s, a property of all bush, running off Hockley Road. They enjoyed their weekends there and built a forage for Harry and a pottery studio for Trine.

Ms. Ford told the Citizen, “They stayed in a trailer they had parked there. My family and I were living in Snowball, King Township in ’65 and visited them on weekends, just to hang out together.”

Harry was the talker, so Ms. Ford said, “The most interesting man in the world – every time I spoke to him, I learned something.”

Trine was quiet but when she spoke, her husband listened.

Ten years younger than he was, they were married in Denmark; lived in Ireland for a while, and finally came to Canada to live and work. It seems, from the stories Ms. Ford related, her enthusiasm and respect for the two of them always in evidence, that Harry and Trine were very busy people, with skiing and hiking, and more outdoor sports; they were yoga enthusiasts as well. 

Sadly, Trine Jensen, while “very fit,” developed a “neuro-degenerative” disease (perhaps MS). They nevertheless built their own Viceroy home, each of them working on it. It was the early days of her illness but Trine’s muscles were giving up. She was in her 70’s at the time.

“Harry would sleep on the floor beside her, so that if she got up she would wake him so that he could help her,” Christine Ford told us.

At one time, Harry himself made plans to build a “Stradivarius violin,” for which he had to make the tools to make that and other things. 

Trine passed away in July 2012.

Ms. Ford’s mother was still quite active and she went once a week to the Jensen home in Hockley to take Harry out for appointments, shopping, and coffee with friends. Over the ensuing years, Harry gave away almost everything of the works he and his beloved wife had created. Ms. Ford’s brother has a chandelier made of metal by Harry Jensen.

As he gave those things away, he clearly wanted people who would value them, to have them. 

When he finally moved into an apartment in Orangeville, he still had several of Trine’s paintings. At that time, Ms. Ford became power of attorney for Harry and in answer to what she should do with Trine’s paintings, he requested that she sell them and give the money to charity. Harry Jensen wanted people to know who his wife was.

Harry Jensen lived until December 10, 2022.

In answer to our asking how Ms. Ford and her brother, Mike benefitted from this friendship between the Jensens and her family, she was filled with admiration as she told us, “Mike is four years older than I am. When we had them in our lives, they treated us like friends on our own rights – they were Harry and Trine and elevated us by treating us with the same respect as any other friend. There was just such mutual respect and inclusion; we were not just our parents’ kids.”

Mike visited Harry sometimes and learned skills about nature from him, so naturally accepting and relaxing.

Not altogether a cheerful person herself during those years, Ms. Ford admitted happily that he made it his mission to make her laugh if she was miserable, so patient was he: “We could be ourselves. It was great being involved in the creative community, they giving us books and going to art galleries where their work was hung.”

Ms. Ford wrote what she felt after “Harry passed”, and she remarked people were impressed with how incredible, dynamic and amazing were these two people. She was inclined to use them as an example; there was so much to share about who they were.

Her mother now a little older, Ms. Ford cares for her and has written a memoir, having retired two years early from teaching.

What she learned from the Jensens is the feeling of valuing another person because that was reciprocal. She tells people about him, saying, “You have people like this in your lives, like your grandparents. Listen to what everybody has to say, listening and appreciating their journey.”

Her parents’ friends were like the UN visiting their home. They opened the world to her. “I try to impart to my students, ‘you’ve got to listen; appreciate what others brought into your life.”

Trine and Harry Jensen taught Christine Ford the concept of mutual respect and acceptance, to treat other people as humans, and accepting her as she was “through all the stages through my life.”

Trine Jensen’s paintings will be hung next week in the front window at Dragonfly Arts on Broadway at number 189. Funds will be donated to a charity to be announced.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Jim Grant says:

    I am moving into a retirement home with my wife. We have a painting we bought from Trine in 1979. Who would I contact to see if it has value for someone that has space. If I had an email address, I could pass on a picture of the painting which is approximately 48″ by 60″.


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