Spreading the good news of Cornwall’s people

We’re a lot of things in Cornwall and area. We’re doctors, lawyers, writers and labourers. We fix cars, houses and even relationships. While most of us are content to remain here at home and carve a life out with family and friends, others are destined to leave the Seaway City.

As you can see from the evidence we’ve collected, the stories of Cornwall ex-patriates, those who have gone on to greatness outside the city limits, is vast and accomplished.

But a recurring theme is prevalent in any former Cornwall resident you talk to – they never forget about home.

Cheekily, some people will admit that all roads run through Cornwall. It seems everyone, somewhere in the world, knows someone, or can recall a story, connected to Cornwall.

But for the people who actually lived here, but are now making a name for themselves – and by association helping to put our city on the map, a piece of Cornwall is often carried with them, wherever they go.

It’s not so much the bricks and mortar of the city that they take with them, but instead it’s a piece of the people they have met and come to care about.

People, Cornwallites, are a tight group…even if they are separated by great distances.


Jeff Evason has made show business his life – but he hasn’t forgotten the magic that got him to where he is now.

He is one half of ‘The Evasons’, along with his wife Tessa, that make a living as a “mind-reading duo” based out of Annapolis, Maryland.

The couple with a love for sailing, not to mention all things magical, performs as many as 170 shows a year…the lion’s share of which are “on the road.”

Many of those monthly road trips include regular stops in Cornwall, where Jeff visits his mother Joan at the Glen-Stor-Dun Lodge – which just happens to be the place nearly 40 years ago where Jeff performed his first magic act.

Today his resume includes performances aboard cruise ships, casinos, university campuses and everything in between.

He even has a television performance booked before magicians Penn & Teller, where he and Tessa will attempt to stump the famous comedic duo.

It’s all in a day’s work for a tireless performer who whet his whistle while enjoying a cruise with his grandfather Doc Roberts more than four decades ago.

“Aboard the ship was this magician – Bernard Reid,” said Evason. “I was always fascinated by magic…and I stuck to him for two weeks.”

Reid, a New Zealand magician who has written books on the subject, showed a young Evason a few tricks and tips.

The rest, as they say, is history.

“I always wanted to do this,” said Evason, who related a story from his high school days at Cornwall Collegiate and vocational School. “The teacher asked us what we wanted to do…with the point that, it doesn’t always work out that way.

“But it did…I always wanted this.”

Evason, who spent time as an on-air personality at CJSS radio in Cornwall, said his memories of the Seaway City continue to permeate his thinking to this day.

“I couldn’t have chosen a better childhood place to grow up,” he said.


Lori Dupuis has four gold medals (one Olympic and three world championships), a silver medal and the respect of hockey people locally, national and internationally.

But perhaps her biggest challenge is looming on the horizon.

Lori Dupuis is going to be a mommy. She is due this summer and along with her partner Kristi Alcorn wil wlecome a child.

The 42-year-old that now calls Toronto home as a mortgage specialist with Dominion Lending, helped cement Cornwall’s hockey pedigree as a member of Canada’s women’s hockey team that dominated in its time on the national stage.

But after the limelight of international competition faded, Dupuis said a longing to share her life with a child became incredibly important.

“I’ve always wanted a child,” she said. “I was speaking with my teammates like Cassie (Campbell) and Jayna (Hefford) and they told me ‘It was amazing to win a gold medal, but it’s nothing like having a child.’

“It’s something I’ve wanted for a while now.”

Dupuis said the support she received not only from her family, but her fans in and around Cornwall continue to hold a special place in her heart.

“The most amazing thing that Cornwall did was to fly my parents out to see me after that ’98 Olympics,” she said. “My parents had never flown anywhere. They were petrified of flying.”

When she saw her parents waiting for her at the Calgary airport, it was an emotional moment.

“I thought I had landed at the wrong airport,” Dupuis said with a laugh.

She has remained a fixture as hockey personality in the provincial capital. After playing for a time as a member of the Brampton Thunder in the National Women’s Hockey League, Dupuis now works behind the scenes as general manager.

Her family came from good stock, with a strong work ethic which she prides herself on today. That, and the support she received from the community, is something she carries with her today.

“I draw from a lot of the experiences that I had (in Cornwall),” she said, adding she returns to the area regularly to visit family and friends. “I want to give back to the community as much as I can.”

Not bad for someone who has given the rest of us so much.


It was only a matter of time before Paul DesLauriers picked up the guitar – he had run through a number of instruments by the time he reached his teenage years.

The Cornwall bluesman, who now makes his home in Montreal, invested time on the piano and the classical violin before his teenage years when the thunder of the electric guitar came calling.

“I grew up in the 70s and 80s…guitar music was really prevalent back then,” he said. “My brother Jacques was bringing home records.”

Thank god for Jacques and his love of rock and roll, because it spurred his brother on to take up the guitar and parlay his playing into a musical career that all blues fans can enjoy.

DesLauriers, and the Paul DesLauriers Band, are undeniably part of Canada’s musical elite. All three members were nominees at the 2015 Maple Blues Awards; DesLauriers for guitarist of the year, Sam Harrisson for drummer of the year and Greg Morency was not only nominated but won the award for bassist of the year.

DesLauriers is already the winner of two Maple Blues Awards in 2014, including guitarist of the year.

“It’s been a very busy time,” DesLauriers said. “I’d say this is a return to my roots in a lot ways. Playing a lot of blues rock, power trio stuff.”

He went public in Cornwall with his playing at school dances and area clubs.

“I really learned my craft playing in and around Cornwall,” he said. “I’d be at high school during the week…and then playing all weekends, four sets a night.

“By the time I left Cornwall I already had four or five years playing behind me.”

DesLauriers’ efforts, and that of the band, resulted in their most recent self-titled album skyrocketing to number one on the iTunes Canada Blues Chart within a month of its release.

The guitarist said the band is looking to build on its already solid foundation.

“We want to continue in that direction. It’s at the heart of what we do,” said DesLauriers.

And if he had to look to the past, and have a chat with that 15-year-old kid who was thinking of taking up the guitar he would have a simple message.

“They say music chooses you – and that’s very much what it was like to me,” he said. “It was my dream. I have trouble imagining doing anything else.”


When Maggie MacDonald tells you about what she does for a living, the story is two-fold.

Number one, the former Seaway City resident and graduate of Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School is a program manager with Environmental Defence, a Toronto-based action organization that advocates for a greener Canada.

But when her 9-to-5 job is done, her passion is theatre and the arts.

MacDonald, the daughter of city councillor Elaine MacDonald, has written nearly a dozen shows and plays that have been performed before live audiences in Toronto and other locales.

She’s played in bands, and often seeks the inclusion of musical acts for the shows she writes.

In her words, it’s an “obsession” that like-minded arts people can understand and appreciate.

“I loved the drama and vocal programs when I was in school,” she said. “The last four years I have put together one drama and four musicals.

“I really love the story-telling aspect.”

One story of particular note was ‘Paper Laced with Gold’, which detailed the lives of young paper mill workers who find themselves out of work.

“It’s a musical that looks at the closure of the mill and how it affects their lives,” said MacDonald. “It was special to me, being from Cornwall.

The show was “well received as a work in progress” she added, and suggested more creative work is on the horizon.

But MacDonald maintains a special place in her heart for Cornwall, and the relationships she fostered in this part of the country.

“I went to university in 1998, but I never really left,” she said. “I love to visit Cornwall now, and the city really looks great.”

She said friends from out of town who visit with her here are impressed with the array of options that benefit people who enjoy being outdoors.

“As someone who visits now, I’ve noticed the park lands and they are really great.”

Her favourite memories of being a Cornwallite?

“The creativity of the community,” she said. “It was great to be a young person with all of that around you. I keep in touch with a lot of the people I met when I was in drama and vocal.

“They were so welcoming.”


Life is good for Joel Derouin, thank you very much.

The transplanted Los Angelino who was born and raised in Cornwall has carved a niche for himself among the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and all things showbiz.

This year his resume reads like a who’s-who in blockbuster movie scores for the famed violinist. Inside Out (Pixar), Tomorrowland (starring George Clooney), Jurassic World, Bridge of Spies (Steve Spielberg, directing) and Ted 2 (from Family Guy’s Seth MacFarlane) can all be counted as films that Derouin will have his performances attached to.

That’s in addition to a slew of other HUGE names with whom he has worked, including Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Nicks, Barbra Streisand and even Michael Bublé.

Not bad for a guy who started his musical journey playing in Cornwall locales with the Clifton Brothers band.

But as Derouin explains it, it was likely to happen anyway because if someone had approached that young musician in Cornwall years ago and said his life would evolve this way the response would have been simple: “You’re right,” he said.

“I felt I had so much more to discover,” Derouin continued, adding the experiences he had in Cornwall, and the variety of music he played, help set him up for later life. “It was really the different styles of music that helped me to be what I am today.”

What he is, is one of the most sought after studio musicians in the game.

He has provided music for many popular animated movies and television shows, including Disney and Pixar’s Cars and Up; Disney’s Planes; Fox’s The Simpsons, American Dad and Family Guy; and the classic Warner Bros. cartoons. His other film credits include acting as concert master for Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Ted, Eragon and Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events; and playing violin on dozens of motion picture soundtracks, including Epic, Oblivion, Men in Black 3 and Watchmen.

But Derouin hasn’t forgotten his roots. He credits accomplished Canadian violinist Rosemonde Laberge for helping cement his life in music, and Derouin returns to the Cornwall area as much as possible to his family’s “sanctuary” on Hamilton Island.

Derouin is married to his wife Navda and has two daughters, Camille and Carmen.

“I’m still great friends with people from Cornwall that I grew up with,” he said.

Share this article