Friday, July 22, marked an extra special day in North Grenville with a visit from Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell. The visit was one of 70 stops on her travels across Ontario in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. There was a public flag raising ceremony, where members of the Youth Advisory Committee and Kemptville Youth Centre stood as Emilie Padbury raised the Queen’s Canadian Platinum Jubilee flag. The Lt. Governor mentioned that her visit was to honour the Queen, and the best way to thank her was to thank those who provided service in our community.
Following the ceremony a special invitation was issued to a variety of community groups to join a round table and discuss with the Lt. Governor how North Grenville could to foster cohesion and collaboration as we emerge out of pandemic phases. There were discussions about how specific community groups coped with mental health issues, how businesses and groups adapted to nonphysical contact, and what we did as groups to promote a strong sense of community. There was representation from our Youth Advisory Committee, who felt this leadership helped the young members of this community to develop a platform for their opinions, without having to wait until they are of age to vote.
Representation from the rural hamlets, including Burrit’s Rapids and Oxford Mills, helped to highlight the importance of communication and inclusion in North Grenville, and the amenities that we are so proud to enjoy. Our community is based on a huge reliance on volunteering and Cathy Sheppard, representing the International Plowing Match committee, talked about how we could improve on supporting this group, so that people are more likely to step up. Robert Matheson from the Health, Wellness and Advisory Committee was able to report on success in past years There was the ParticipAction contest win last year, and we are still waiting on this year’s results to know if NG will hold on to its title.
There was a tremendous community vibe in the room that impressed the Lt. Governor, and she said that it seemed we understand how to build a community. She encouraged us to continue doing what we are doing. She said that she “believes that our way to healing is through the Arts, and our most important lesson coming out of COVID is community building” This was great news for our Arts and Culture Advisory Committee. The discussion ended with a group photo and a huge sense of pride, as we strive to provide a safe and healthy community for residents in North Grenville.