Onrait: Showing what it means to be a community

Jay Onrait
8/28/2009 4:55:59 PM
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What does it mean exactly to be a "community"? Just ask the residents of Fredericton Junction, New Brunswick. It was the sixth stop on the Kraft Celebration Tour.

But rather, don't just ask the good folks from "The Junction", ask any of the 7 towns from New Brunswick's Tri-County Area that banded together to help finance and build a Sports Complex that would serve all of the communities. The $25,000 from Kraft will provide the finishing touches. You could say that in the process of trying to help their kids have a better place to play they became one big community.

Throughout the 2 days we were in the Fredericton area I spent as much time as I could with Dr. John Richardson. He has been the town's only doctor for over 20 years and one of the chief fundraisers and organizers for the project.

When our broadcast was finished on Thursday night Dr. Richardson took myself, Dan and the rest of our crew on a tour of the Tri-County Sports complex which had celebrated its grand opening the previous Saturday with what Dr. Richardson described as "the best party we've ever had" (considering that comment came from a Maritimer that must have been some party).

As the crew walked through the freshly painted dressing rooms and saw the NHL-sized ice rink and six-lane bowling alley I couldn't help but be amazed. Of the $6 million it cost to put up the facility, $2.5 million came from area donations, community fundraising and a ton of labour from the local townspeople themselves.

What's even more amazing is the entire fundraising process took 20 years. Throughout Dr. Richardson and the Tri County Area never wavered. He told me that his dream was to have The Complex produce NHL players some day.

There's no question in my mind it will happen. But the real question is: Will the bowling alley produce a future Jeff Lebowski?

Big thanks to the raucous crowd who showed up for our live show on Thursday. Everyone pushed up close to the stage so Dan and I could stage dive and crowd surf. O'Toole, who has apparently never been to a concert in his life, dove in head-first.

Thankfully Jeff, one of our crew members who was in the crowd, was able to keep him from collapsing to the ground. Apologies to anyone who got hit in the head with one of my size 13's.

We arrived in Moncton late last night and travelled to Amherst today to begin preparation for our 8th stop on the tour. I will check in Sunday the day after the show.

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