Pagliaro rocks Gananoque

·3 min read

Michel Pagliaro, a Canadian rock legend from Montreal with international hits in both official languages, rocked the waterfront in Gananoque at Joel Stone Heritage Park on Sunday, July 31.

Pagliaro took the stage as the headliner of the special one-day free event hosted by Le FestivILES as a way to celebrate and welcome Francophone visitors to the area. The concert was strategically timed during Quebec’s annual construction holiday.

“I had people tell me they saw around 800 to 1,000 people attend,” David Osmond, a Gananoque councillor who helped organize the event, said.

Osmond put on the event with the help of Joanne Chitty, Kevin Head and Cliff Edwards. The Tourism Advisory Panel and the Town of Gananoque assisted with grants.

The concert was held at Joel Stone Heritage Park in the evening Opening acts were locals Norbert Lepage and ChickenWire. Pagliaro took to the stage at around 8 p.m.

“I haven’t seen that many people (down at the waterfront) in a long time, so I was really thrilled,” Osmond said. “Those who came seemed to stay. It was packed the entire time and the performances were fantastic.

I was hoping to see 300-500 people, and the event started off with about 200 and then by the time Pagliaro went on it got really busy and it was exciting to see that many people down there.”

Now with this one-day event officially in the books, Osmond said he hopes this event is held again next year but turned into a multiple-day event.

“It doesn’t have to be in the same row – maybe someone does a Monday night event, someone else does a Sunday night, someone else does one in the middle of the week,” Osmond said. “Focus on the fact that Gananoque is really welcoming and open. During that two-week Quebec construction holiday we should utilize that (stage at Joel Stone Heritage Park). We want people feeling welcomed; that way, they want to come back."

For a concert that was put together as a way to celebrate and welcome Francophone visitors to the area, Osmond believes the event met its objective.

“Because the main act did some French songs and some English songs, it was really neat to see the diversity in the crowd, where there’d be some French singing some songs, then there’d be some English singing some songs and some of the songs everyone sang together. There was great audience participation. We’re just happy to see an event like that go off without any issues.

"We want to put Gananoque on the map as a place that’s open and that we want our Francophone visitors, we appreciate our Francophone visitors and our residents – we’re only three hours from the boarder and anyone who hangs out in Gananoque during this time, you could see all of the Quebec license plates, Quebec boaters, so it’s one of those things where, what can we do together? I thought music is always a great way to bring people together."

(Keith Dempsey is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Brockville Recorder and Times. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.)

Keith Dempsey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times

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