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Stanstead Makes Headlines

Father PhilippeSTANSTEAD: Wednesday, May 1, was an evening of celebration for the Town of Stanstead. More than 200 people gathered at the Pat Burns Arena to watch a public broadcast of the television show La Petite Séduction which was filmed last fall in various locations around the border community of Stanstead. The event was organized by the Town of Stanstead and the Stanstead Tourism Association.

Since 2005, La Petite Séduction has featured more than 90 artists and as many towns, highlighting French-speaking towns in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. This particular episode featured well-known actor and comedian in the québécois realm Rémy Girard who visited Stanstead with the production team and host Dany Turcotte who has also made quite a name for himself.

The task set before volunteers in the Stanstead area was to find a way to blend together hobbies/experiences in the life of Rémy Girard and the historical richness, both cultural and patrimonial aspects of the Stanstead region and the energy of the community into an interesting episode.

Prior to the presentation which was viewed on both large and small screens, the crowd got a taste of the energy that was present on that beautiful sunny day in the fall of 2012. Lise Flanders took her familiar place behind the keyboard, young Stanstead College student Vicky Liu was at the piano and the choir ensemble (3 groups blended together) relived the excitement that they felt on that memorable day. The collaboration of all the volunteers involved was also celebrated, for without their involvement this event would not have been possible. Hosts for the evening, Councillor Jody Stone and Marise Trepanier (Cultural and Recreational LeesCommittee) were pleased to announce that anyone who might have missed out on this happening would still be able to see the Stanstead episode of La Petite Séduction at http://www.tou.tv/la-petite-seduction/S08E02

As 8 o’clock rolled around, the room became very quiet as everyone eagerly awaited the start of the program. It was a real treat for many of those who had participated to be able to see the entire visit as they had been preoccupied with their own aspect of the visit on the day of filming. As old radios were one of Rémy Girard’s hobbies, the visit unfolded around messages sent to Girard and Turcotte, as a kind of road map, via old radios strategically placed around the town.

Girard`s travels included a visit to Stanstead College (renowned international boarding school), the Haskell International Library and Opera House (more than 200 years old and literally built straddling the border of United States and Canada), one of numerous granite quarries in the area where the two visitors learned what is involved in cutting a granite slab, beginning with an enormous blast that they seemed to find a bit unnerving. Turcotte and Girard also assisted with the inauguration of the new granite clock tower in the Henry Seth Taylor Park (named after the Stanstead resident who invented the first steam car in Canada). The show ended with a lively musical choirtribute at the Stanstead Stone Circle and the presentation of an old radio that had caught Girard’s eye during the filming of the episode.

There were also moments which really seemed to tug at Rémy Girard`s heart strings – being treated to a performance by the VSO (Vermont Symphony Orchestra) at the Haskell Opera House and finding out that one of the seats has been ‘purchased’ in honour of his son (complete with a gold plaque) and listening to stories in the adjoining Library, from local parents who truly understood what it is like to live with and love developmentally challenged children.

There was no mistaking how much it meant to Girard to meet and talk with 97-year-old Denis Daviau (one of volunteersthe choir members who performed in Centenary Church, another 200 + year-old building), a dear man Girard found to very much have his wits about him. Neither could hold back the emotion that seemed to well up in their eyes as they greeted one another.

One of the comical adventures on the agenda evolved around the history of Stanstead which dates back to prohibition days when bootleggers made frequent trips across the border. Rémy Girard and Dany Turcotte were good sports as they donned hip-waders, filled the legs with ‘bottles of booze’ and waded their way quietly across the river – well, maybe not so quietly!! They also found it quite amazing to be able to jump back and forth across the yellow line down the middle of Canusa Street that finds itself half in Canada and half in the United States. Realistically, to do such a thing would have required a person to report at the United States Customs first, even if one would traditionally consider people on ‘the other side of the street’ to be their neighbours.

“Marise and I were filmed and shown on all the TVs in the Arena, thanks to Plav Audio which also set up a Marise and Jodylarge screen in the Molson-Coors room where more seating had been set up. I felt like a TV star for a few minutes, funny to watch yourself on TV while talking. We talked about how the town became selected to host the show and the different people who had been involved. For me, the biggest highlight of the evening was having the Choir, Lise Flanders and Vicky Liu (Stanstead College student) perform for us ‘Live’. We thanked everyone who helped by name and we hope we didn’t forget anyone. There was a lot of energy in the room. I could see at the end of the evening that people loved the show and were proud to be Stansteadites. For me, it was a lot of fun and a great day for Stanstead,” summed up Jody Stone.

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