Sports hall of fame planned for county
By Chad Ingram
The Haliburton Highlands Sports Hall of Fame will celebrate sports excellence and community spirit, and well as the history of sport in the county.
The volunteer organizers of the proposed hall of fame visited Dysart et al councillors during their Dec. 16 meeting, requesting support for the concept and for an initial display area for artifacts, photos, plaques and memorabilia to be established inside the A.J. LaRue Community Centre.
“We are here today to propose to you support for this proposal,” said Scott LaRue, chairman of the hall of fame’s management committee. LaRue and committee secretary/treasurer Roger Dart made the presentation to councillors. Also part of that committee are Don Popple, Jim Bradley, Paul Morissette, Roger Trull, Dysart et al Deputy Mayor Pat Kennedy and Jim Blake. Blake is the co-founder and president of the Haliburton County Community Co-operative, and the hall of fame will exist as not-for-profit organization under the auspices of the co-op.
“I’ve been sitting in on the meetings and I’ve just been amazed at the actual history that we have here, and special thanks to Steve [Hill] and Kate [Butler] at the museum for the help they’ve given in helping with the research, and Paul Morissette, the historian for the group,” Kennedy said. “Everything from cricket on up.”
At the turn of the 20th century, there was a cricket field where there would eventually be a baseball diamond near the municipal hall, that area now occupied by the skateboard park and expanded parking lot.
The committee is in the process of creating a website.
“When it comes time to call for nominations, the nominations will be on the website, and they’ll be three different categories,” LaRue said. Those three categories will be individuals, builders, and teams.
“The nominations will start fairly early,” LaRue said, adding organizers were planning to hold the hall of fame’s first induction ceremony in October.
Public nominations will be judged by a selection committee, and LaRue, explaining that committee will consist partially of members of the management committee and partially of community members.
“We just want people to know if they don’t get elected that year, we will keep the file, so they’ll always be there, every year,” he said.
LaRue said the group was also looking for some diverse representation, namely women and residents from outside of Dysart et al.
The group has been doing fundraising.
“We’ve raised a substantial amount of money that will carry us over . . . somewhat, but we do need to do more fundraising, but we would also like some support from the community, and from the council,” LaRue said.
He said the main request of council was to allow the establishment of the hall of fame within Dysart’s A.J. LaRue Community Centre, and suggested the stage in the auditorium room above the arena as a prospective location.
“The stage is there, it’s not used very often,” LaRue said, suggesting the hall of fame memorabilia could be hung on the three walls that form the back of the stage.
“We have a huge history of people who’ve gone on to do amazing things on the national and international stage, so I think it’s a great idea to promote not only the athletes, but the people behind them,” said Mayor Andrea Roberts.
“We are in budget deliberations,” Roberts said, adding that if the committee had any specific budget requests for council to consider, they could be relayed to council through Kennedy.