It was a most special day on so many fronts as The Pathway of Fame, Peterborough and District – together with the community at large – celebrated yet another stellar class of inductees in various categories. Hosted by the delightful Teresa Kaszuba from CHEX/Global News Morning, the induction ceremony was the first time in three years the event was hosted upstairs in the main Showplace stage. And attendees filled the lower bowl to capacity as family members, friends and devotees of the inductees came out in droves to cheer their success and honour the members of the Class of 2023.
Prior to the event, the talented trio of Pathway inductees Barry Haggarty, Terry Finn and Ken DesChamp treated a growing house to excellent musical fare performed by a mighty fine band. As our esteemed inductees and guests were piped onto the stage and our honoured guests took their places on the stage, retired CHEX News Director and former CTV Weekend Anchor Wally Macht recited ‘Pathway Perspectives’ and Geoff Hewittson reciting the story of the trellis, greetings were received from Warden Bonnie Clarke representing Peterborough County, and Mayor Jeff Leal from the City, the Induction got down to business with Gordon Gibb – subbing for longtime biographer J. Murray Jones this year (we missed you, J. Murray!) telling the story of each inductee before their ceremonial passage through the revered trellis.
There were so many highlights:
Ann Farlow, daughter of the late inductee John Ambrose ‘Jack’ (Lefty!) Doris, eloquently describing her father’s passion for public, and community service. Family values, and respect. That, and the warm sentiments expressed earlier by His Worship Mayor Leal, who was a friend and City Council colleague of Mr. Doris for decades.
Chantelle Druce, mother of the late inductee Courtney Druce, describing with utter humility the courageous battles her daughter waged against a relentless cancer, together with her selfless generosity for others in spite of her own challenges, and pain.
Sean Eyre, Pathway co-founder and broadcaster who never met a microphone he didn’t like who ad-libbed his acceptance off the top of his head. The 80-something Eyre kept the audience in stitches and proved he can still entertain a crowd until gently reminded that it was time for his pill…
Stephanie MacDonald, who eloquently spoke about her fellow inductee, her late husband John MacDonald, yet was somehow persuaded to humbly acknowledge her own contributions.
David McNab, the retired OPP officer who has raised the bar on what it means to be a model citizen, even if it means chewing ghost peppers until you can’t see straight for the tears, but as long as it’s for a good cause, it’s all worth it.
Mike Melnik, the respected broadcaster (retired) and community volunteer who spied his adult children in the audience, just by chance. They had come in from out of town for the event, unbeknownst to their father.
Cathy Rowland, champion of the arts and the roles that young people can play in the arts, describing without a hint of theatrics why it mattered so.
Jeannine Taylor of KawarthaNOW, who said hi to her 98-year-old mother watching from home, and took care to thank YourTV, her partner Bruce Head, and the entire village that gels in order to foster a successful publication and business – without ever mentioning herself.
Greg Wells, world-renowned music producer and Grammy winner, welling up as he realized the Showplace Performance Center was once the original Odeon Theatre where he sat, as a child, wide-eyed and watching Jesus Christ Superstar. He even pointed to the seat he sat in. The gasps from the crowd when the biographer listed some of the people with whom he has worked: Taylor Swift, Celine Dionne, Adele, Elton John and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Afterwards, he recorded a video of encouragement on Teresa Kaszuba’s phone for a young fan of his who dreamed of a career in the arts, like his.
And Charlie Gregory, winner of the first-ever Barbara Bell Humanity Award, for his advocacy and selflessness surrounding the homeless – whom he embraces with love, and empathy. Telling the stories of those humans among us who too many times, to too many, are little more than unwelcome shadows.
Retired broadcaster and respected community citizen Graham Hart recited the Pathway Dedication to close what was a remarkable morning.
Thank you all for being there.
Now, it’s onto the Class of 2024. Nominations close April 30th – and a reminder that inductees are selected by the community at large. We’re merely the facilitators – we don’t make the decisions. YOU do.
So the next time you think of someone deserving and wonder why that person has not been honoured with an inscribed marker on The Pathway of Fame at Del Crary Park, it’s likely because many others are thinking the exact same thing. But no one – not a one – took the time to nominate that special individual, for consideration.
Let’s make sure you’re the one that does!