Ontario's Lieutenant Governor Visits Almonte

Today, it was my thrill and privilege to host Her Honour, the Honourable Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell. Her Honour is the fourth diplomat to visit Mississippi Mills in the last two years.

Her Honour and I chatted for 30 minutes in private, then we hosted a roundtable of 12 residents for an hour, followed by a reception for 50 invited guests.
The 12 roundtable participants with Her Honour center.
The roundtable focused on how towns can maintain and improve quality of life. The 12 participants represented old families, newcomers, farmers, artists, business people, young families and volunteers. The discussion was lively, diverse and rewarding.

I realized afterwards that I could easily have chosen 12 others and achieved similar high standards. Probably 12 others again—so deep is the depth of talent and experience in our town.

Her Honour makes a practice of visiting communities throughout the province to gather stories and share stories. One story she shared went like this:

“I was asked in one town what it would take to entice me to visit early on a Saturday morning. I answered: a coffee shop, a bakery, a bookstore, and an art gallery.”

As Her Honour listed those attractions, I held up a finger and whispered “got that, got that, got that, and got that.”

Before leaving, Her Honour took a short walk down Mill Street.

Previous visitors include the Governor General of Canada, the US Ambassador and the Swedish Ambassador. Each visited because they heard about one or more of our unique attractions: the link to James Naismith, our cultural heritage, and quality of life. (Her Honour made a special visit to
Hummingbird Chocolate.)

The world sees our town very differently than we sometimes see it. We need raise our gaze above negative local dustups and recognize the blessings that are so apparent to outsiders.

Her Honour collected 150 stories from Ontarians. You can read them at http://arts.lgontario.ca/canada150/