On behalf of my Council colleagues – Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman, Councillors Barclay, O’Sullivan and Strackerjan, all of whom are present, we are thrilled to see so many of you. Nous sommes très heureux d’être parmi vous aujourd’hui.
As you may know, the Municipality of North Grenville and the Kemptville Campus worked alongside the organizers of the 100th anniversary Grenville County Ploughman’s Match so that we could showcase both sides of the former College today.
We thank the Ploughmans Association for their collaboration – as well as our event organizer, Anne Kutlerchuck, Communications lead, Tom Graham, as well as an enthusiastic volunteer steering committee of 20 individuals who stepped up, and met regularly during the hot days of summer in order to make the event happen.
This, and other event elements, have been made possible through the generosity of some key sponsors including the Ottawa Valley Seed Growers Association, Grenville Mutual Insurance, the Kemptville College Foundation, plus the three school boards on campus: CEPEO – le Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario; CECCE – le Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est; and the Upper Canada District School Board.
Other sponsors today include St. Albert’s Cheese, Allegiance Transportation Services (ATS), Suntech Greenhouses Ltd., Lactalis Canada (formerly Parmalat), Grahame’s Bakery, Mountain Orchards, B & H Your Community Grocer, Catered Affairs, TD Graham + Associates and the North Grenville Times. Thank you so much to all of you for your generosity and support.
As you will all remember, in 2016, North Grenville, and members of the Kemptville College community did not have the opportunity to celebrate what should have been a 100th anniversary event. However, with much water under the bridge, and some sweat, blood and tears, the efforts of the previous and current municipal Council, key staff including Brian Carré, and Patricia Remillard, we are thrilled today to mark those 100 years plus today – and beyond.
100 years of education that began with the leadership of former Premier Howard Ferguson who, in 1916, was determined to have an Agricultural school in his home town of Kemptville. But today we are also celebrating the future of education and innovation on this very campus.
And it’s not just North Grenville that is excited about that. I’d like to extend a special welcome to the Kemptville College Alumni Association and the Kemptville College Foundation for being here today, not to mention: Pat Sayeau, Warden of the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, Mayors Doug Struthers and Doug Malanka, Michael Barrett and three other federal candidates from the Green Party, NDP and Liberals today, Grenville CFDC, Trevin Strattan, who served as a key advisor with BDO before becoming the Chief Economist for the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, and the many alumni, and former staff who have joined us.
And we have Larry Donahue with us, who is among the oldest living teachers at the College. In fact, Larry was the assistant Dean of the Advanced Engineering students in 1954– that is 65 years ago! We also have Mrs. Nancy Curtis, former Deputy Reeve of Oxford Township, and wife of the late John Curtis, who served as Principal of the College for nearly two decades, as well as Claude Naud, the last director of the College.
As some of you might know, I have a passion for this place. Shortly after moving here, nearly a decade ago, three of my children were enrolled in the local child care centre at the Leahurst building, which had previously served as the first residence for the first Director, William Bell (unbeknownst to me). My children’s great grandmother was born and raised on Beddell Road, and was no doubt touched by this College. My own extended family and my in-laws are inextricably connected to farming life.
The 100 years of history at Kemptville College that we are marking today is thankfully not the end of the story. In fact, our first 100 years has laid the foundation for the next 100 years, and we are very optimistic about a bright future for this very special place.
Through the re-making of Kemptville College into the Kemptville Campus, I am very proud of the relationships we have forged with École Rivière Rideau, Académie Catholique Notre-Dame, and TR Leger, who have given this campus new life, and are embracing collaboration and innovation when it comes to preparing our youth for the jobs of tomorrow. Together, I believe that we can, and we must, do that in ways that also serve our agricultural community in eastern Ontario – via opportunities for apprenticeships, niche and specialized course offerings that equip farming families, agri-food producers, and all those connected to the agricultural industry, to thrive.
Through the many discussion we are having with other potential public and private sector partners from across Ontario, including our fourth school board, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario, post-secondary institutions and other associated agencies, businesses and social enterprises, we know there is a huge appetite and capacity for Kemptville Campus to expand its reach, and be a driver for economic development throughout the Counties and beyond.
But for now, I want to thank all of you for being here today – for marking 100 remarkable years at Kemptville College, and showing much you care, not just about the past, but the future of our Kemptville Campus.