Cornwall Ontario — From a municipal election that saw a lot of change at City Hall, to chemical tanks on the water front, to sporting events, concerts, and a family fighting a bylaw to keep an ice rink on their front lawn, 2014 has been an interesting year for Cornwall Ontario.
News Editor Jason Setnyk presents his choice for Top 14 stories of 2014. This list does not represent which stories got the most page views, nor does this list include what other writers contributed to this newspaper (and there have been a lot of amazing contributions). However this list does acknowledge some memorable moments Jason Setnyk has covered in Cornwall over the past twelve months.
In no particular order here are Jason Setnyk’s choices for Top Stories in 2014:
Kelly McGillis wins the Jacques Richard Trophy
Over 200 people were in attendance for the 50th Benson Cornwall Lions Club Sports Awards Dinner on Wednesday May 14th at the Civic Complex. There were many special guest including keynote guest speaker and former NHL star Marty McSorley. He is most famous for being Wayne Gretzky’s body guard on the ice. Former NHL goalie and Hockey Hall of Famer Billy Smith, Olympic Bobsleigh champion Cody Sorensen, and CFL Hall of Famer Moe Racine were signing autographs before the dinner. The MC for the evening was Cornwall City Councillor and sports personality David Murphy. Also in attendance was MPP Jim McDonell, Counties Mayor Eric Duncan, Acting Mayor for the City of Cornwall Glen Grant, and a handful of other City Councillors. The winner of the Jacques Richard Award for Top Sports Personality went to Kelly McGillis. “I was extremely thankful for being able to receive the award and that my hard work was being noticed and paying off. It means a lot to me because I have worked very hard and have been through some pretty tough times and my coach always coached me and pushed me even when I was ready to give up”, explains McGillis.
Angie Dilaj releases debut book Apple Cores
I interviewed author Angie Dilaj at the Grind in Cornwall to discuss her first ever published novel entitled Apple Cores. Who is Angie Dilaj? She was born in Montreal Quebec, and was raised with two creative sisters – Loni and Teri Dilaj. She was encouraged at a young age to pursue her artistic abilities in drawing, painting, music, writing, and, more recently, doing contortions. Currently she is a certified yoga instructor working in Cornwall. Although Apple Cores is her first published book, it is not the first time her writing has been in print. She has two poems, “Send Out the Pawns” and “With Light to Lead Them On”, that were both published before finishing high school at Rothwell Osnabruck in 2009. “English was one of my favourite subjects in school. I took Writers Craft because I loved it so much,” recalled Dilaj. Her inspirations for writing include Wilde, Tennyson, and Poe. “Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray inspired me to write. He uses nature and the elements to express his ideas. Lord Alfred Tennyson’s In Memoriam is also inspirational, and Edgar Allan Poe’s stuff is awesome,” raved Dilaj. Like Wilde, Angie’s writing reflects her fascination with the natural world, of darker elements and the beauty within the balance of life and death. “My love for nature inspires me to write. What I write has a natural element to it”, divulged Dilaj.
Chris Nilan and the Agape want to knock out hunger
The guest speaker at this event was former Montreal Canadiens enforcer Chris Nilan. Nilan told the audience, “We’re here for a reason, I wish we weren’t, and that is hunger”. He went on to explain, “when I was young I didn’t always want to go to school, but there are kids now who are thankful to go to school just so they can eat”. Chris Nilan has faced adversity in his own life, and he knows how difficult it is to over come some situations. David Murphy, who was the emcee at this event, thinks Chris Nilan was a fitting guest speaker. “Its a unique fundraiser. It showcases a sport that doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, while not taking the focus away on the reason for the event – to knock out the effects of hunger. Chris Nilan was a fitting guest speaker with his message of never giving up and he’s proof you can turn your life around for the better”, says Mr. Murphy. This gala event is a key fundraiser for the local food bank to help the most vulnerable people in our community. “With this fundraiser, the Agapè Centre raises the needed funds that goes helping the most vulnerable in our community. It’s a nice addition to our fundraising in general especially since the need is great this time of year. We partner with Champs Eastside Boxing and are extremely grateful for this partnership. Jorge Luis manages the boxing side of things. Without his assistance, this fundraiser would be a bust”, says Alyssa Blais who is Executive Director of the Agape Centre. There were countless volunteers and sponsors that made this event a huge success. “Last night’s fundraiser could not of happened without the generous support of over 18 sponsors, our main sponsor CMG Innovation, our lead Luc Marion, our volunteers: Scotiabank, Dave Murphy, Davey Bedard, Frank Burelle, Liam and Graham Greer, Dr. Jay Babcock, all the boxing clubs, the officials, and the announcers. Cogeco is also a big help”, says Ms. Blais.
Interview with 2014 Juno Award winning band Protest the Hero
In was just a few weeks ago that Protest the Hero won the Juno Award for best Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year. It is probably no surprize that when this very talented band played a show in Cornwall Ontario on Tuesday night at the Vu Nightspot it sold-out. The band is on tour supporting their new album “Volition”. Here is Jason Setnyk’s interview with Luke Hoskin, lead guitarist and backing vocalist of 2014 Juno Award Winning band Protest the Hero. #1 – Describe the experience and feeling of winning a Juno Award. “It feels really good. I never thought growing up we would win an award like that. The actual winning experience was strange for us because we were on tour at the time. We did six weeks in the US before we came back to Canada. We were in Wilmington North Carolina on one of the smaller shows of the tour when we found out that we won. It was kind of bitter sweet that we couldn’t be in Winnipeg to accept the award. We celebrated in our own way. We popped some champagne. We informed the crowd there, the US audience what a Juno was, and it was a really cool feeling. We were lucky we had some family out, girlfriends out, and had bottles of champagne with them. It was an amazing feeling, it is one of those childhood dreams, thinking I’ll never win a Juno especially with the type of music I play. It was really cool”. Read the rest of the interview here.
Cornwall’s Next Top Model: Steff Groulx returns to modeling
Steff Groulx, who was a contestant on Canada’s Next Top Model back in 2007, is returning to the modeling industry. The Cornwall born model, who stands at five-foot-eleven inches tall, has joined Sajency Models & Talent in Ottawa. A lot has changed for Ms. Groulx since being on national television. She is a waitress, and she is also a post secondary student studying Nursing. She has learned a lot since being in the spotlight. “I learned I don’t like to travel. I do it when I have to. I also learned the modeling industry doesn’t care about a whole lot other than what the person you are working for is trying to accomplish. It provides zero sympathy. You have to have a strong sense of who you are and what you want to be. It can be a very judgmental industry”. Steff who is now 26 years old has learned a lot from her experiences. In retrospect Steff would have given herself the following advice when it came to auditioning to CNTM. “There is a huge difference between my 18 year old self and now. I would tell my 18 year old self not to audition to Canada’s Next Top Model, to wait till I was a bit older”. What draws Steff to modeling now are the diverse fashions that can be found on the runway. “Now, I am a big fan of fashion in general. I am into runway more than photography. I like the diversity of shows, from editorial high-fashion weirder side to the complete opposite like Chanel. From art to day-wear all in the same place, to see all of it, it is very eclectic”. After a five year absence in the modeling world, Steff has metaphorically strapped her stilettos back on, and she has joined Sajency Models & Talent in Ottawa, a small new agency that is just taking off. Read the full story here.
Christina Julien has Fancy Feet
Olympic athlete Christina Julien, who was born in Cornwall Ontario, and played Timbits Soccer as a child, is returning to her home town this summer. Christina Julien and Alana Brady are co-organizing and hosting the Fancy Feet Soccer Camps for girls at the Benson Centre from July 7th to the 11th. “I always wanted to do my own camp and teach kids what I learned. My friend Alana Brady initiated this and was the driving force behind this camp”, says Julien. Both Julien and Brady have an impressive resume of experience. Christina Julien has represented Canada as an alternative player for the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team. She also has international experience playing at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, at the Pan American Games, and winning a Gold Medal at the CONCACAF Championship in 2010. Alana Brady has four years of CIS experience playing for Laurentian University and was their team captain. Their combined experience will hugely benefit the girls participating in these camps. “The most important lesson a young athlete can learn is to have fun and follow your passion, not to get to caught up with the present, but instead to see the end goal, and where they want to go”, explains Julien. Christina Julien has worked with soccer camps before, but this is the first one that has her name associated with it. She thrives on taking a leadership role working with young athletes as a teacher. “I like the fact that I can influence them and encourage them to do something they want to do and to get better at it. To make them realize their goals are not beyond their reach. Julien who has been training hard for twelve years knows exactly what it takes to reach those goals. At higher levels of soccer there is more focus on the mental aspect of the game and on proper nutrition. However for the young athletes participating in this camp, the focus is on proper techniques. “To teach them to break down the movements, master each step, and see it as a whole”, says Julien. What’s next for Julien after the Fancy Feet Soccer camps? Christina Julien will continue to play professional soccer and her goal is to once again adorn the red and white at the next Olympics in 2016.
Gordon Lightfoot live and still alive
Canadian Folk artist and music legend Gordon Lightfoot soothed audiences ear drums with his baritone voice and catchy acoustic riffs Friday night in Cornwall. The sound at Aultsville Theatre for Gordon Lightfoot was fantastic. The venue tried out a new high performance sound reinforcement system. “This system was a demo provided by Gerr Audio Distribution out of Brockville”, explained Janet Martel, who is the General Manager of Aultsville Theatre. There were over 500 people in attendance at Aultsville Theatre last night, perhaps the most intimate venue on Lightfoot’s 88 concert tour itinerary for 2014. “I am still alive and kicking, contrary to popular belief”, said Lightfoot jokingly to the audience. Gordon Lightfoot, who turned 76 a few days ago, was the victim of a social media death hoax in 2012. There was no doubt about Lightfoot’s vitality during his concert last night. After five decades of touring, Lightfoot is still bringing audiences to pure ecstasy with his iconic folk sound. The psychedelic backdrop and the renditions of his old hit songs time-warped the audience back to what seemed like yesteryear. Lightfoot reached his pinnacle of musical fame in the early 1970s, shortly after being signed to Warner Bros./Reprise records. His song “If You Could Read My Mind” was a major hit in the United States, and the album sold over one million copies and went gold. Lightfoot had many more hit songs and successful albums after that. Gordon Lightfoot went on to win 16 Juno Awards, and he was an inductee in the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and he was also an inductee to Canada’s Walk of Fame. Despite his fame and accolades, he is still very humble. “I am thankful to still be working”, he told the Cornwall audience who clapped and cheered at this charming sentiment. In his golden years, Gordon Lightfoot continues to tour and play music. The spotlight might not be so bright, but his desire to play still shines through.
Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea rocks Lift Off Saturday night
Local Music fans got to see Alan Doyle play with his band Great Big Sea last November. The musician and actor returned to Cornwall to play a set on our communities largest stage on Saturday night. Before his set, Alan Doyle met with some lucky fans at the official meet and greet. Read the full story here. This was one of a series of stories that talked about the 20th Anniversary of Cornwall’s Lift Off. Also headlining the festival was 54-40, Glass Tiger, and Doc Walker. Stories and photos were taken each night.
Mick Foley is the King of the Comedy Ring
It was a night of nostalgia and laughs for about 150 wrestling fans who saw a legend on stage Wednesday night at the Ramada Inn in Cornwall. WWE Hall of Famer and New York Times Best Selling Author Mick Foley was in town for some spoken word and comedy as a part of his Hardcore Legend Tour. His “Tales From Wrestling Past” brought fans closer to the wrestling world. Mick Foley has had many wrestling persona’s over his career including Mankind, Dude Love, and Cactus Jack. Foley brought the persona of Mankind alive when he took out Mr. Socko much to the delight of the audience. He told many stories last night, including being in a movie with Riley Keough, who is Elvis Presley’s grand daughter, and how she wore the red zip up hoodie he was wearing between scenes of a movie when she got chilly. Mick Foley reminisced about famous matches, wrestlers, the origins of Mankind, and some very interesting road trips with Al Snow and Jake ‘The Snake’ Roberts. From the Undertaker and Hell in the Cell, to the night Bret ‘the Hitman’ Hart got screwed by Vince McMahon in Montreal, to his appearance in Cornwall Ontario for Monday Night Raw the very next day – each story had the audience roaring with laughter and excitement. It was an intimate show in Cornwall, a huge contrast to a few nights ago when Mick Foley was on Monday Night RAW, live from Kansas City. But whether he is on national television in a sold out arena, or at a spoken word event in a small town, the Hardcore Legend always brings his ‘A’ game and his best performance. The audience gave Foley a standing ovation at the end of the show.
Silverstein play Vu Nightspot in Cornwall
Silverstein played in front of a full house Friday night at the Vu Night Spot. The emo rock band from Burlington Ontario, formerly on Victory Records, and now represented by Hopeless Records and Universal Music Canada, played an impressive set of melodies in Cornwall. There was a lot of energy in the crowd, and music fans danced and head banged with pleasure. Lead singer Shane Told told the audience, “I’m happy that we finally played Cornwall”. One of the opening bands for Silverstein featured Jamie Maracle, who is the manager of Vu Night Spot and the former singer of Fathom Ties. He reunited with the former drummer of Fathom Ties, Daniel Ross, to play a fantastic set Friday night. “The show went really well, it was amazing to see a show sell out so fast in a small town but we did it. Vu Night Spot and myself have been working really hard to have a venue for kids of all ages to come see a great show in Cornwall with acts they enjoy seeing and not having to go an hour away to Ottawa or Montreal for that calibre of show. Silverstein really killed it and enjoyed the venue, even quoting “Why the heck have we not played Cornwall before”, said Maracle. Opening the concert was Chris Benton with an acoustic set much to the delight of concert goers.
Abandon All Ships sails to Cornwall for a concert
The coloured lights beamed on the stage, the fog machine created atmosphere, and the volume on the PA system was cranked to ‘loud’. Vu Nightspot was the setting of the Abandon All Ships show Friday night in Cornwall. Abandon All Ships are a Canadian metalcore band hailing from Toronto Ontario. The band is signed to Universal Music Canada and has had videos featured on Much Music televsion. Last month they released their third full length album entitled Malocchio. In support of the new album the band is currently on tour with Palisades and Skyent. Party Cat and Here Comes Bigfoot also played the Cornwall show last night. Abandon All ships mixes screaming vocals with melodic backing vocals which creates a pleasant juxtaposition. The bands music is a fusion of metal and electronic, which also creates a fascinating contrast. The show was well received by music fans. There was a lot of energy in the crowd. There was dancing, jumping and synchronized clapping. Local music fan Kylee LeClair said, “The show last night was amazing. All the bands played such a great show, they crushed it!” Jamie Maracle, the manager of Vu, had similar sentiments. “The Abandon All Ships was awesome to book, I’m so happy Vu can offer a venue that can draw such great talent to our City”.
Hundreds of residents walked the old bridge in Cornwall today
he Seaway International Bridge Corporation gave residents a final chance on Tuesday to walk the North Channel Bridge one last time prior to its demolition. Hundreds of residents walked the old bridge and viewed historical photos that were set up on the bridge for the occasion. City Councillor Syd Gardner and Mayoral Candidate Jamie Gilcig were in attendance at the opening ceremonies. Mayor Bob Kilger, City Council candidate Mark A MacDonald, and MP Guy Lauzon attended later. Volunteers handed out chalk and some people wrote and drew on the old bridge.
Port Theatre celebrates Beatles 50th Anniversary with Tribute Concert
The Port Movie Theatre on Montreal Road has become an iconic and historical landmark. The Port has been a cultural hub for arts in culture in Cornwall Ontario for over 70 years now. Over 500 people were in attendance for a sold-out show that featured Revolution. Their set commenced with a video clip of the 1964 Ed Sullivan show introducing The Beatles to American audiences and ushering in a fresh and hip new era of Beatlemania. Revolution hit the stage adorned in Beatles wigs and costumes. Their covers of classic songs were energetic, authentic, and realistic. Opening for Revolution was local band Landmark who are now celebrating 30 years as a band. Allan McGimpsey, Dale Williams, Randy Chesbro, and Mike Summers put on a great show. By the end of their set, the audience was standing up, dancing, clapping, and singing along to the classic hits. It was a special night for Bicycle World owner Allan McGimpsey playing in front of a large home town crowd. The organizers of the event, the local ‘fab four’, were Jeff Brunet, Larry Sylvain, Mark A MacDonald, and Brock Frost. Jeff Brunet is the owner of Alkaline Entertainment, Larry Sylvain is a co-owner of the Port Theatre, and Mark A MacDonald and Brock Frost are both running for City Council and helped power the event.
The 2014 Municipal Election
The Cornwall Ontario Municipal Election represents a large body of work, from Five Questions with Jason Setnyk where almost everyone running for City Council answered a questionnaire, to Election night coverage and being the first to announce the new Mayor, and getting over 9000 page views in a span two hours that night. There was a lot of change at City Council, from a new Mayor, to younger Councillors and more women getting elected, and of course the story of 11th place finisher Guy St-Jean. In the aftermath of the election, we learned that former Mayor Bob Kilger was diagnosed with cancer once again, and local media also received some bizarre and shocking press releases from Brock Frost. It was an interesting election from start to finish.