President’s Message Issue 54

Spring 2005 CSANews Issue 54  |  Posted date : May 17, 2007.Back to list

Snowbird season has come to its traditional end. As we return to our Canadian homes, let's look back at the accomplishments of the past season. Our snowbird numbers continue to grow in snowbird states and in other warm-weather destinations, and our international influence was recognized this past winter by consulate officials (who brought greetings on behalf of the Canadian government) and American dignitaries (who brought greetings on behalf of state governors to our events in Florida, Texas, Arizona and California).

More than 30 thousand snowbirds and their American friends attended the annual Snowbird Extravaganza in Lakeland, Florida. The Snowbird Extravaganza continues to be the largest annual gathering of Canadians outside Canada, and our strong, historic relations with Florida were recognized by a number of dignitaries. The Honourable Anthony Knill, the Canadian consul general in Miami, brought greetings on behalf of the government of Canada. Governor Jeb Bush was represented by Scott W.

Openshaw, assistant co-ordinator of the Florida Office of Tourism, Trade & Economic Development; Dr. Pamela Dana, director of the same agency, addressed our winter information meeting in Panama City Beach. Colonel Brad Stuby of the Manatee County sheriff's department brought greetings on behalf of Sheriff Charlie Wells to our meeting in Palmetto.

In Texas, the Winter Texans' Snowbird Extravaganza was addressed by David Dix, trade commissioner to Texas for the consulate general of Canada, and Christopher Scheffman, regional lead specialist for the Rio Grande Valley. We were also joined by CSA past-president Ellen White and vice-president Lewis Kehoe, both of whom are Winter Texans.

In Arizona, the Mesa Celebration was addressed by Doug Paterson, consul and senior trade commissioner for the Consulate of Canada, and Jennifer Sutcliffe of the Arizona Office of Tourism. We were joined in Arizona by Harley Sundbo and Jim Sherb, our directors from the western provinces, before moving on to our annual winter information meetings in California and the snowbird counties of Florida.

Our meeting in Davie, Florida proved once again that your association is truly national. Our Québec director, Roland Bélanger, hosted this meeting on behalf of our francophone snowbirds, and was joined by Lew Kehoe, who read our annual report in French. I also gave a welcome in French. Our francophone snowbirds were entertained by chanteuse Lucie Thibodeau and Les Violons d'Amérique, just two of the acts provided free of charge to snowbirds as part of our winter events' entertainment.

And what entertainment! Our good friend Ronnie Prophet and his lovely wife Glory-Anne emceed the majority of our events, and the Prophets were joined by such guests as jazz legend Peter Appleyard, Tommy "Tom McJones" Leadbeater, Crystal Gage, John Bressler and Juno Award-winning songsters The Nylons. Many performers were seen on stages hosted by Dave Hunter, author of Along Interstate I-75, and Murray Segal, host of "Sunday Showcase," the AM-740 Sunday morning radio show heard across southern Ontario, on which Medipac Communications vice-president Christopher Bradbury and I are regular guests.

Without the help of our friends at Medipac International, the Snowbird Extravaganza and other snowbird events would not be possible. They provide the planning and organization that such large shows require, and with the assistance of Medipac we are able to meet our members face to face. There are few organizations in which members can question their association directly, and I am proud to say that I belong to one. I would like to thank J. Ross Quigley, president of Medipac International, for his foresight and assistance, Dr. Bob MacMillan, medical consultant, for his fascinating health-care presentations, Hazen Walters, who updated us on Medipac insurance, and Chris Bradbury and his staff for all their hard work at the events.

As we return to family and friends across Canada, the accomplishments of your association have made this past snowbird season a truly memorable one.