Canada 150 rink named af­ter Gord Brown

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - FRONT PAGE - WAYNE LOWRIE

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.

See RINK |A2

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.

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