St. Marys to establish sports wall of fame at Pyramid Recreation Centre - Grant Haven
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St. Marys to establish sports wall of fame at Pyramid Recreation Centre

St. Marys to establish sports wall of fame at Pyramid Recreation Centre

By Galen Simmons
St. Marys council has given the go-ahead to establish a Sports Wall of Fame at the Pyramid Recreation Centre’s Rock Rink that will commemorate the remarkable accomplishments of local athletes, teams and builders of sport.

At the Feb. 27 council meeting, councillors voted to approve the selection criteria and nomination form recommended by the town’s recreation and leisure advisory committee, and authorized staff to proceed with a call for nominations in April as well as the implementation of the Sports Wall of Fame, which is expected to have its grand opening and inaugural induction ceremony this fall.

“This initiative will really celebrate the outstanding feats of athletes, teams and builders from St. Marys and representative of St. Marys,” said recreation manager Joannah Campbell. “ … Champions of sport is something really worth celebrating and acknowledging above and beyond what is already done by the various user groups. We know that the minor-sport organizations will also have annual ceremonies or celebrations to highlight volunteers … but for the Town of St. Marys, the Sports Wall of Fame is to be a larger, legacy initiative that really allows people to promote and highlight and nominate those who have contributed to the town.”

According to Campbell’s report to council, the wall of fame is designed to recognize outstanding representation of the town through sports on a local, provincial, national or international scale. The Sports Wall of Fame is reserved for those who have accomplished incredible feats, demonstrated outstanding long-term dedication to their sport and promotion within the town, and others who have a lasting legacy impact on sport and recreation in St. Marys.

Campbell said the recreation and leisure advisory committee will be responsible for receiving nominations and determining who the successful inductees will be each year based on eligibility criteria for each of the three categories – athletes, teams or builders of sport.

Everyone who submits a nomination form will receive one of three letters either informing them their nominee will be inducted in that calendar year, requesting additional supporting documentation for their nominee to be considered in a future year, or explaining why their nominee is not eligible for the wall of fame.

“Back when this was brought to the previous council, I had the same concern … under (the) builders (category). It says that in order to be nominated, they have to have dedicated 25 years of service,” Coun. Marg Luna said. “That seems to me to be a long, long time. That seems to me like a career in whatever sport … they’re involved in. I personally know of two individuals in this town who have promoted a particular sport area in the town and taken it to higher levels outside of the town, and I believe they deserve to be nominated for this, but I don’t believe they’ve had 25 years of service.

“It just seems exorbitant to me to have it that long.”

Coun. Jim Craigmile voiced a similar concern about local teams only being considered for induction at least 10 years after a given team is no longer active.

“For example, if there was a volleyball team last year that won the Ontario championships and they happen to be in Grade 12 or high school or something – 16- or 17-year-olds – you wouldn’t want to wait 10 years to give them the recognition because they’re all together in the community for maybe one more year and then they’re gone to university.”
Addressing both councillors’ concerns, Campbell said the intent of the Sports Wall of Fame is to commemorate significant achievements of people who are either no longer active in local sports or have gone on to do bigger and better things in their sport out in the wider world. Commemorating an inductee too soon, she said, might result in the need to update their wall-of-fame submission as time goes on and they continue to achieve in their sport.

Campbell also said the recreation and leisure advisory committee will have the opportunity to review nominations that don’t necessarily fit the exact criteria in a given category and determine on a case-by-case basis whether they’re worthy of induction.

The Sports Wall of Fame itself will be installed as a permanent fixture on the wall immediately adjacent to Rock Rink entrance B between the guest-services desk and the hallway to the Friendship Centre. It will include a digital-display board featuring a rotating selection of information on and images of the annual inductees and an inset display case showcasing memorabilia like trophies, medals, banners, equipment and photos on loan from the nominators and/or inductees.

A draft design concept of the wall of fame will be shared with the recreation and leisure advisory committee in March.
More information about the nominations process and induction- and grand-opening ceremony in the fall will be published and promoted by town communications staff in the coming months.

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