Mac’s Musings: Norm Lalonde was city’s Super Patriot

Claude McIntosh ~ Mac's Musings
Mac’s Musings: Norm Lalonde was city’s Super Patriot
Claude McIntosh.

With the (made-in-China) Maple Leaf flags tucked away and another Canada Day celebration in the books, we need to pay homage to the man who not only sowed the seeds for the robust display of patriotism in Cornwall, but kept it going for three decades on a shoe-string budget sans government funding.

Norm Lalonde was a small biscuit/coffee shop proprietor who had the Canadian Maple Leaf flag, after we got one in 1965, stamped on his forehead. Well, not literally but you get the drift. He was a Super Patriot who became known as Mr. Canada. He stood out in the Canada Day crowd with his brilliant Canada Day red blazer that he paid for out of his own pocket.

Norm’s DNA is all over the current robust celebration under the aegis of a committee of volunteers with sustainable financial resources.

I’ll never forget the time during the singing of O’Canada at a jam-packed Lamoureux Park when Norm grabbed the mike on the band shell stage and yelled out to a guy in the crowd, “Hey you, take off that cap. Show some respect!”

In 1982 the community thanked Norm by naming him Citizen of the Year.

However, he deserved even more. At least named to the Order of Ontario.

If you went to high school in the 1950s or ’60s you might recall, perhaps with a shudder, when Cornwall Collegiate and St. Lawrence High School final exam results were published in the Standard-Freeholder.

This usually came during the first week of July. They weren’t printed on an obscure back page, squeezed between the ads. Nope. They were splashed on the first page of the Local News section, above the fold under something resembling type saved for the outbreak of World War 3. Great for an A student. For the rest of us floundering in the shallower end of the genius pool, not so great.

The only thing worse than having your barely-passed exam marks printed in full glory for all 30,000 or so readers to feast on would have been your name appearing in the police blotter.

There were some attempts to “re-locate” the paper on exam mark publishing day.

This lead to a day when the newspaper’s circulation department received a higher than normal number of complaints about the paper, or a part of it, not being delivered.

“Gladys, call the damn paper and find out why we didn’t get a local news section, and ask Butch if he has seen it?”

THIS WEEK CIRCA 1964 While the country celebrated its 97th birthday, a debate raged in the House of Commons over a Liberal government plan to replace the Red Ensign with a maple leaf flag. The Opposition Conservatives opposed the change. … City police warned residents of bank swindlers. The scheme involved a “bank manager” calling a resident and asking for co-operation in helping weed out a dishonest employee. The resident was asked to withdraw cash in a “sting” operation. … A Brookdale Avenue project that included an overpass (CNR tracks) and widening of the road from Tollgate Road to Highway 401 was approved at a cost of $823,000. This came after four young city residents were killed when the car they were in was hit by a train at the unguarded crossing. … Locally-owned Sharpley the Mover, 26 Ninth St. E., was celebrating 15 years in business. … Of the 18 Cornwall and area residents who became Canadian citizens on July 1, nine were from the Netherlands. Three were from Germany, two from China and one each from Estonia, Italy, France and Hungary. … Comedian Doc Circe was appearing at the Highland Hotel in Massena. … The 1,400 union employees at Howard Smith Paper Mill received a nine cent-an-hour increase in a new one-year contract. The basic hourly wage increased to $2.07. … Eddie Feigner give up two hits and struck out 26 as his four-man King and His Court softball team defeated North End Fastball League all-stars 3-1 in a nine-inning match. Ron Daley had a solo home run for the Stars with George Duprau stroking a single. … Found guilty on two charges of driving while disqalified, a city man was given an 80-day jail sentence. … Keith MacGregor struck out 16 and allowed just three hits as Howard Smith Paper defeated Lloyd George Wharfmen 12-2 in a NEFL game. Shad St. Jean drove in seven runs with a grand slam and three-run homer. … The Starlite Drive-in on Purcell Road had a holiday weekend buck-a-car night and midnight to dawn show that started at 12:05 a.m.

HERE AND THERE Thoughts and prayer go out to one of the city’s greatest all-round athletes during the Fifties and Sixties and Jacques Richard Memorial Trophy winner Gilles Leger who is awaiting a lung transplant in Toronto. … Lifetime member Roland “Joe” Mercier did the 18-holes at Cornwall Golf and Country Club last week for the first time in five years. This time, however, he didn’t play but toured the course riding shotgun in a cart. Mercier, who turns 90 next week, has been a club member for 71 years. … When a Yahoo poll asked Canadians if they were overtaxed, 84% said yes, while just 12% said the tax system was fair. … In the 1972 federal election Conservative leader Robert Stanfield came within two seats of leading the Conservatives to power. It was said that Stanfield pulled defeat from the jaws of victory. There is an uneasy feeling the same might be said about Andrew Scheer come late October. If it does happen, what they won’t be saying, which is said of Stanfield, he was the best prime minister we never had.

SPORTS STUFF A Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect who will attend Harvard in September might have the best name in hockey: Gunnarwolfe Fontaine. Mother wanted to call him Gunnar and the father wanted Wolfe, so they compromised. … Canadiens’ offer to free agent Sebastian Aho included an $11.5 million signing bonus in the first year. To think that the Detroit Red Wings gave Gordie Howe a team jacket for a signing bonus. … Lost in the NHL free agencies frenzy, Jamal Murray, a 22-year-old Canadian kid, signed with the NBA Denver Nuggets for $170 million over five years. That’s an average annual salary of $34 million. Nobody in hockey is even close.

TRIVIA The July 1 celebration became known as Canada Day in 1982. What was the celebration called prior to this?

TRIVIA ANSWER Lucien Lamoureux, the Cornwall lawyer who took back Stormont for the Liberals and became the first permanent Speaker of the House of Commons, was born in Ottawa.

QUOTED Most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m here from the government and I’m here to help. – Ronald Reagan

Share this article