Last spring I had the opportunity and pleasure to speak at a conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The conference focused on the impact that Domestic Violence has on its victims their families and their communities. 

The afternoon presentation concerned the case of Barbara Baillie. Barbara was strangled by her husband in the downstairs of the family home. On the evening of Oct 19, 1990, Barbara’s eldest daughter Denenia came to her parents’ house to go out with her mother. Her father told her she could find her mother downstairs. She did indeed find her.

The Baillie family had five children and a grandchild at the time of Barbara’s death. Four boys still lived at home with their parents. The boys were between 14 and 20 years old.

Three of Barbara Baillie’s five children attended this presentation last spring in Halifax. We sat together as their tragic story was unfolded and shared with the audience. We heard how the siblings struggled to survive  as individuals and together as a family, from that day to this day.

Near the close of the presentation the Baillie family’s project was introduced. The project is known as BARB’S BENCHES. It is both a project of awareness and remembrance and a dream of seeing the benches commemorating victims of domestic homicide across our country. 


Since the inception of the Natalie Novak Fund for the Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence (NNF) in 2006, numerous successful programs have been carried out to increase awareness and knowledge of relationship violence. Since 2007, NNF has assisted in the delivery of 15 to 25 presentations, workshops and conferences each year. Many of the audiences are students, professionals from the justice and women’s sector and police officers. NNF funded the educational video, If Only… Nat’s Story and the NNF website. Both the website and video are viewed by thousands and receive solid affirmation.

In our ongoing effort to educate and bring knowledge and awareness of relationship violence forward to the public The Natalie Novak Fund for the Education and Prevention of Relationship Violence (NNF) wants to bring Barb’s vibrant benches to our community here in Muskoka.

I invite you to visit this link for more information about the Barb’s Benches story and project.

Currently the NNF Barb’s Bench project is looking to sponsor three benches in our community to commemorate and remember three women who lost their lives through domestic homicide. These women were our neighbours, our friends, members of families and our community. Our community has been deeply affected by each of these violent murders. They were stolen from our lives by a senseless act of violence and evil. It is unthinkable that the memory of these women should not endure among us.

A bench will be installed in commemoration of :

Natalie Novak, murdered in Toronto May 15, 2006, age 20

Lindsay Wilson, murdered in Bracebridge April 5, 2013, age 26

Wendy Boland, murdered in Bracebridge May 26, 2017, age 63

Each purple bench will have a plaque that connects it to the Barb’s Bench project and will carry the name of our lost sister in the dedication.

The NNF is now fundraising to help purchase and install these park benches, at locations yet to be determined. Any donations are welcome to help NNF have these benches placed in our community.

— Dawn Novak

Choose the Natalie Novak Fund from the dropdown menu.