Presenting Colleen Cameron with the Patrick C. Hanley Community Builder Award and a speech by East Coast Lifestyle founder and CEO Alex MacLean, highlighted the 2019 Antigonish Chamber of Commerce President’s Dinner.
The dinner, which followed the chamber’s annual general meeting, was held April 24 at the Keating Centre.
In his words leading up to presenting Cameron with the award, Hanley's grandson David MacGillivray, who is also an associate investment advisor with award sponsor CIBC, described her as a “truly exceptional community builder.”
“And when you talk to her about what she has contributed to the community she says, ‘oh, I was just one of many,’” MacGillivray said, quoting the nomination letter which spoke to Cameron’s humble and team emphasis approach.
“I’m here because of so many other people I work with,” Cameron said during her acceptance speech, further illustrating that mindset.
She said she was very honoured to receive the award.
“To be sitting with the family knowing what they have contributed; not only their father but they themselves, to this community, really makes this a special honour,” Cameron said. “And to be following Casey [van de Sande, last year’s recipient] is another honour … I really appreciate that.”
Cameron concluded by thanking her family in attendance, as well as acknowledging the Chamber’s work.
“The Chamber has been such an instrument in building this community and, as I have said before, it takes a community to build community and the Antigonish Chamber of Commerce certainly does that. They have been very supportive in many of the endeavours, in particular affordable housing,” Cameron, the chair of the Antigonish Affordable Housing Society, said.
MacLean talked about the humble beginnings for the East Coast Lifestyle apparel company, noting its origins as a university project on an $800 budget.
“Anything is possible in a small town is really the message I want to leave today,” he said, talking to reporters just prior to his speech.
“I started East Coast Lifestyle from Acadia, in a class of eight people, and I didn’t think it would be possible to be here six years later, to do what we’ve done; so, yes, anything is possible.”
MacLean talked about not resting on an initial trend.
“We’re constantly trying to innovate with new logos, but also get materials that are new and different, every year,” he said. “New colours every season and just trying to innovate with new stuff; keep improving the quality every year. So, if someone bought something in 2013 and bought a hoodie in 2019, there would be a lot more quality and improvements in the products from 2013. It’s about working on the little details.”
He talked about the new development of getting into Lids Canada stores.
“For head-ware that helps a lot,” MacLean, who handed out a few hats to the Chamber dinner crowd, said.
“Getting into some new stores with them in Ontario; it is really helping a local brand from Nova Scotia grow. It’s giving us some shelf space, a shot, and we’re thankful to be battling on the shelf next to big brands.”
The Antigonish Chamber of Commerce and executive and directors at large were introduced during the meeting.
Executive members include; president Dan Fougere (East Coast Credit Union), vice-president Inez Forbes (The Casket), treasurer Cathy Forbes (Carmie MacInnis Insurance) and secretary Lindsay Ross (Nova Scotia Works).
Directors at large include;
Peter Cameron (Keltic Ford), Gary Cusack (Homeward Inns), Shelly Grant (Antigonish Family Dentistry), Andrew Heighton (NS Health Authority - St. Martha's Regional Hospital), Ed Joyce (CIBC), Brian Lazurri (Coady International Institute), Leo MacPherson (St. F.X.), Larry McLean (Maritime Inns) and Rose Paul (Paqtnkek Mi'kmaw Nation).