Canada 150 rink named after Gord Brown
GANANOQUE – To nobody’s surprise, the town will name the Canada 150 rink after the late MP Gord Brown.
Town council on Tuesday voted to bestow the rink with the somewhat unwieldy name of the “Gord Brown Memorial Canada 150 Outdoor Rink.”
The name is a tribute to Gord Brown, an avid hockey fan and sportsman, former Gananoque resident, town councillor, chamber of commerce president, chairman of the St. Lawrence Parks Commission, business owner and volunteer, who represented Leeds and Grenville as member of Parliament for 14 years.
When Brown died in May at the age of 57, he was part of a committee that was trying to bring the Canada 150 rink to Gananoque.
The Thousand Islands Accommodation Partners, which formed the committee, switched gears after Brown’s death to focus on bringing the rink to Gananoque as a tribute to the late MP.
Jeff Brown, Gord’s brother and chairman of TIAP, said his group’s goal is to get the rink up and running at no cost to the town’s taxpayers.
So far, the committee has raised close to $300,000 and it is confident that it can raise another $300,000 to $400,000, Brown said.
TIAP started the fundraising with its own $100,000 commitment and the Thousand Islands Community Development Corporation matched that donation with $100,027 as a tribute to Brown. A GoFundMe campaign has raised $45,000, and local business, residents and municipalities from around Leeds and Grenville have sweetened the pot even more.
Jeff Brown said the Gord Brown memorial hockey game in Gananoque on Nov. 28 (doors open 6:30 p.m., tickets $10) is hoped to raise about $100,000, part of which will be split with the United Way.
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Treasurer Melanie Kirkby said the Canada 150 rink, which includes boards, glass and scoreboard, could arrive in town in the next two weeks. It will be stored over the winter.
Kirkby said construction of the concrete rink pad, to be located near the Lou Jeffries Arena, will start in the spring, and the rink should be ready for summer sports – basketball, pickleball, ball hockey and the like – in July.
Ice would go in the rink in November, weather permitting.
The town plans a roof and an artificial plant for the rink eventually, but that will depend on the fundraising, she said.
Council decided unanimously on Tuesday to name the rink after Brown in a vote that Coun. Jeff Girling described as a “no-brainer.”
Coun. Brian Brooks said he has heard criticism of the town naming the rink after Brown because council has already decided to name its new council chambers after the late MP, as well.
But Brooks labelled the criticism as being unfounded and from “small people, small minds.”
The two issues are separate, he said. The council chambers were named for Brown because of his service as a councillor and a longtime advocate of Gananoque. The rink naming celebrates Brown’s love of sports and hockey, he said.