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Brock Reville

Eye can See You


Jonathan van Bilsen

May 17, 2018

People make a community and their diversified interests create the charm associated with many locales. Brock Reville, owner of Port Perry Optical, is certainly one of those people.

Brock, one of four children, was born in Montreal. His father, a printer, was concerned with the unrest of Quebec during that era and a decision to move the family to BC had been made. At that same time, Brock’s Uncle, Frank Miller, whom you may remember as the Premier of Ontario for a short time in 1985, owned a resort on Lake Joseph, near Port Carling, in beautiful Muskoka. He needed someone to operate the business, and Brock’s parents accepted the challenge.

Brock, who was only nine at the time, loved the idea of living at a lodge. Summer jobs meant bussing tables and later waiting on them; cutting grass and washing dishes; and finally, when he was old enough becoming sports director for the lodge.

“It was great,” Brock described his experience. “I could teach people how to water ski, set up all kinds of outdoor activities and just have fun.” During the off-season, Brock worked as a waiter at nearby Tamwood Lodge.

After graduating from BMLSS High School (Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes), Brock moved on to Georgian College, en route to becoming an optician. It was there he took an interest in fellow student, Wendy Johnson. Although they didn’t date during their term at College, they ended up working for the same company, the Eye Shoppe, owned by a roommate’s father. Brock worked in Cobourg, and Wendy in the Port Perry Store.

The two opticians finally became an item and when the store in Port Perry went up for sale, Wendy suggested to Brock that he should purchase it. He did so in 1984, and three years later the couple were married.

“I fell in love with Port Perry the moment I moved here. It is very gratifying to meet satisfied customers while strolling along the streets.” Quite often, after work, Brock will take a promenade along Queen Street to clear his mind and remember the beauty of living in a small town.

The outdoor life of growing up at a lodge remained in Brock’s blood, and under that quiet, unassuming façade is a true cowboy, for Brock Reville became quite the ‘penning’ enthusiast. Unlike rodeo, cattle penning has no risks to the cattle or the riders. This fast paced, exciting event gives a team of three riders 90 seconds to separate three specifically numbered cattle from a herd of twenty-one.  After the necessary cattle have been separated, they must be driven into a small pen located at the opposite end of the arena. To make things more difficult, no more than four cattle are allowed across the foul line at one time. Teamwork is of the essence; individuals must work together like a finely tuned machine to achieve the desired result – the fastest time with the most cattle penned.

How does one get into cattle herding? “I started riding when my daughter expressed a desire to get involved in equestrian sports.” Brock explained. He took lessons with her and the rest is history. “While working at the lodge, I was introduced to a small herd of walking ponies, which we had for children to use,” he reminisced about his youth. “I had never been on a horse, and walking these ponies was as close as I had come.”

“My riding lessons were all on English saddles, and when a friend introduced me to cattle penning I had to switch to ‘the dark side’ and ride western,” he said laughingly.

Brock and Wendy, along with their three children, live on a beautiful 135 acre property on the Island, overlooking the lake. Although he is no longer involved in penning, he loves to ride his horse, Friday. Travel is a large part of their lives, and recent trips to the Dalmatian Coast and Egypt have given them the travel bug. Wendy continues to excel at playing the cello, and Brock loves sports such as water skiing and hockey.

The next time you drop into Port Perry Optical and speak to good natured, soft-spoken Brock Reville about your eye wear, ask him about growing up at a lodge or herding cattle, and watch his eyes light up as he relates his adventures to you.

Jonathan van Bilsen is a photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Follow his adventures at

Jonathan van Bilsen is a television host, award-winning photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. His show, ‘The Jonathan van Bilsen Show,’ on RogersTV, the Standard Website or YouTube, features many of the people included in this column.

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