Cobourg gets request to host town-crier provincial championships

By Cecilia Nasmith

Cobourg town crier Mandy Robinson hopes council will look favourably upon the proposal she set out at this week's committee-of-the-whole meeting – offering to host the provincial town-crier championships June 1.

Gananoque was slated to host the Ontario Guild of Town Criers event, Robinson said, but had to withdraw its offer because of unforeseen circumstances. Under normal circumstances, it takes 18 months to organize the championships, so she acknowledged that this is short notice.

Accompanied by guild district president Bill McVie in his resplendent blue frock coat and tricorn hat, Robinson told council of her plan to make it a joint event with Alnwick-Haldimand Township, which has its own town crier in Liam Cragg. 
The guild has approved $1,000 as its contribution, and the township will be asked for $1,000. From Cobourg, she is hoping for a $1,000 contribution and $500 to $700 in in-kind assistance (tables, chairs, parking passes for judges and contestants, a light lunch at the venue, welcome packages). They also hope to secure $2,000 in sponsorships, one-quarter of which Alnwick-Haldimand has already secured.

Competition consists of three cries, Robinson said. Two would be performed in Cobourg and one in the township.

“Hosting such an event is good for our municipality in that it encourages tourism and attracts a ton of people,” she stated.

“It's a unique and first-of-it-kind experience for both townships, probably never to happen again.”

McVie said he would appear as the emcee.

“I can guarantee it will be laudable and audible,” he promised.

“It's a pretty tough time limit to pull this off, but it sounds like a tremendous amount of fun,” Deputy Mayor Suzanne Seguin said.

The request was referred to budget deliberations, expected to take place March 14.