Canada 150 Rink goes to Gananoque

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As we reported in the Times last week, the hope that the Canada 150 Rink would be coming to Kemptville has not been fulfilled. Gananoque was always the likely destination of the facility which had been part of the Canada 150 celebrations on Parliament Hill last year. The home town of the late Gord Brown had a clear advantage in the competition to get the Heritage Canada nod to receive the rink and the $150,000 grant to help with construction costs.

Even before his untimely death on May 2 last, Gord Brown had been raising money to build such a rink in Gananoque, and the Thousand Islands Accommodation Partners, had also received the backing of Bob Runciman, retired Senator and one-time M.P. for the riding, as well as another ex-M.P., Joe Jordon. The fact that Joe Jordon was a Liberal and Bob Runciman was a Conservative, gave the Gananoque application bipartisan support, a significant advantage for their claim.

Southgate Church in Kemptville had been eager to spend the money to have a full-sized ice surface at their property for some time now, encouraged by Mayor Gordon and other members of the congregation there. The Municipality has agreed to administer the funds raised by the church for that project, which, Mayor Gordon says, will go ahead “come Hell or high water”. He is optimistic that the congregation, which he described as “wealthy”, would be able to find the money for the rink. The congregation donates more than $650,000 to the church annually, and it is planned to spend up to $1 million on building the ice surface, ice plant, roof and other accessories.

In another gesture of support, the North Grenville Council donated $3,000 to the church a few years ago, out of the Community Grants budget of $8,000. This was quite a gesture, as the usual maximum granted to non-profit community groups is $1,000.

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