Friends of the Port shuts down in Cornwall Ontario – Legendary Theatre in Jeopardy – January 25, 2010

Friends of the Port have apparently disbanded.  The group, formed to help save the Port Theatre from the wrecking ball has made an announcement on their facebook page.

FOTP Message Part 1 of 2. Important Message from Friends of the Port!  At a recent meeting of the Friends of the Port (FOTP) it was agreed that the FOTP would no longer continue as a group involved with promoting the Port Theatre. The discontinuation of the FOTP is based the following:

-The FOTP Classic Film Series has seen low attendance and did not meet the minimum revenues required
-The FOTP were not successful in obtaining Not-For-Profit status, thereby making it problematic for the group to raise funds.”

While I personally had my differences with many of the board members having been a founding member myself (Two of us resigned over the direction the group was choosing) I certainly respect anyone that makes an attempt to save this landmark.

What I had and a few others had advocated was creating a Not for Profit, which isn’t that expensive, purchasing the property from the owner, and then giving the owner a very generous lease so that he could run his operation as he saw fit while allowing the group to save the building.

Vision of course is like perspective, and to the groups credit there is a cleaner retrofitted marquee on the theatre.

Owner Glenn McGillivray was not available for comment as of press time.

What do you think Cornwall?  Can the Port be saved or is it and that parking lot next to it one day going to be a new four floor condo building with retail shops on the ground floor?  Could the Port property be the beginning of the gentrification of Montreal Road?

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  1. What very sad news for residents of the eastend to hear . I for one hope that a solution can be found.
    The Roxy/Port Theater has been around since I was a child and it’s definitely a part of Cornwall’s history.
    At the age of 62 I have seen many city landmarks disappear in my time..Let’s all hope that this Grand old movie house won’t see the wrecking ball. Enough of our history has disappeared.

  2. You call yourselfs friends of the port.Why then would you want to bye mr.mcgillivray buissness when its not for sale.Are you supporting your own self intresses, is this maybe to fool him into selling his property.Give him a lease, hog wash.
    Good luck mr. mcgillivray who needs that kind of help anyways.

  3. one more thing mr.Mcgillivary if some want it that bad,you should sell it for a million dollars to them.Then go and injoy your life.maybe sit down and take in a movie or two.
    Again good luck

  4. Author

    Marc nobody wants Mr. McGillivray’s business. Many would just like to save the building. What happens if the owner of the Port gets sick or incapacitated? What is the future of The Port? I think the reality is that many wish to save it and its up to the current owner to find a way to work with those that wish to save it.

    When you own a building like that you’re a custodian to what it represents, and this theatre should be treasured by Cornwall and the area and saved.

  5. I hope you will print my views on this subject.This to me is nothing but bulling tactics i have heard time and time again it is not for sale.Mr. Mcgillivary owns this buisseness he should be able to do as he feels fit to do with it.He will seize to as you say, being the custodian of this great landmark. one day,then and only then should he consider giving up custody of his property.

  6. First of all, the Port Theatre is not going to be torn down. We lost the Capitol Theatre in 1991, and for what? A god damn Court House. Like Cornwall needed it, really. I, just like many other Cornwallites refuse to let yet another precious and extremely significant heritage property be torn down. We lost all our other theatres, we’re about to lose MORE schools (like CCVS). It’s absoloutely disgusting how this town feels the need to tear down it’s landmarks.

  7. Do you have to own the building to save it? So what if he gets sick or incapacitated, it doesn’t mean the building itself is going to go to hell, or the business. If you want to save it, then quit your complaining and actually help out, instead of bitching about how you can’t buy it off of him. Raise money, donate your own money, help with the repairs, do SOMETHING.

    Sitting here and saying you want to save The Port, but you can’t because you can’t buy it off of him is just idiotic, and proves that your not in it for The Port, but for your own gain.

  8. Author

    Logan I don’t need to “own” the port, but a group needs to come together to save the building. It’s that simple. It won’t happen unless the current owner helps make that happen.

  9. To the amin.
    I really truely don,t see your logic in your views.If he wont sell it to us than he isn,t getting anymore help.
    friends of the port i don,t think so.

  10. Again, I strongly disagree with the “need” of a group here. What The Port needs is donations, help, volunteers, not a group.

  11. Author

    Marc it’s very hard for any business to ask for help from the public. Usually charities or non-profits can get access to donations and program dollars much easier. The building needs to be maintained, repaired, and improved if it’s to survive in the long term and those dollars may not be able to directly come from its current revenue streams.

  12. here are many hard questions about this affair which deserve to be answered:

    1. Who exactly are the “Friends of the Port”, what are they responsible for, and were they elected, appointed, or self-ordained?
    2. What exactly were the circumstances which prevented the organization from obtaining not-for-profit status?
    3. Who exactly programmed the classic film series and what exactly were the “minimum revenues required” to sustain it?
    4. Why was so little effort put into promoting the organization and its activities?
    5. Why is there almost no information about the organization or even the theatre itself on their web site?
    6. How closely was the organization affiliated with Glenn McGillivray?
    7. How do they justify the use of unpaid volunteers to help restore the theatre when it is a privately owned and operated business with paid employees?

    Unless Richard Pilon is openly willing to give clear and concise answers to these questions, one can only assume that he and his “Friends of the Port” are incompetent and have something to hide, and are therefore unworthy of any public support.

  13. Author

    Miles only Richard Pilon can answer those questions clearly and factually. He has been contacted for this story, but as of this date not replied. The Owner of the Port has also replied, but does not wish to respond.

    As someone that was there for only a brief period at the beginning I think that for most of the board there was a sense of well meaning, but that most simply followed Mr. Pilon’s lead.

    And that the owner of the Port, if you didn’t do what he wished, became less co-operative than he initially was, and that wasn’t much. In fact the reality lied sadly that if the owner for whatever reasons wouldn’t or couldn’t keep up with repairs and maintenance the longer the situation continued the more expensive it eventually would cost to save the building, and possibly it come to the point where it couldn’t be saved.

    And I personally felt there was a need for transparency; especially when it came to funds raised. For example there was one lump of $1250.00 raised (it should have been a lot more but Mr. Pilon allowed the owner a larger cut for one event), plus all the various screenings, and the only visible amount spent was for the Port’s half of the Marquee (Approximately $2500.00).

    At the end of the day did most of the money raised simply end up helping to support the “Business” instead of the building? And what good would a new marquee do if the roof needed attention?

    The Port needs to be saved and probably still can be saved, but it will take a rethink and better attitude by the owner, and a lot of public support and dollars.

  14. Friends of the port?
    Why didn,t this group Of people put there full support behind Mr. Mcgillivary and find ways to support his buisness,fill his seats ,bring him the buisness that he needs to make the money to survive and repair his building.If the people of Cornwall really care about this historical building and want to see it saved.All you really have to do is go to the movies at the port theatre.People of cornwall lets support his buisness,and in turn the building will be repaired.{saved]

  15. To the Administrator:

    I am not at all surprised that Richard Pilon and Glenn MacGillivary have not responded to your requests for interviews. Maybe it is just me but it would seem that Friends of the Port were extremely reluctant to promote themselves or their work in the community or the media. They also seemed to be half-hearted with building a base of volunteers. I know of a number of people who tried contacting the group through their web site with the intent of supporting them, only to receive no reply at all. One must wonder why such an organization dedicated to the restoration of a local landmark, would prefer to operate so obscurely and not make more of an effort to reach out to the community at large.

    I most certainly hope that the drive to restore the Port Theatre to its former glory can be continued in some way. Unlike the majority of Cornwall’s residents, I do respect the value of our history and I do believe that it must be preserved despite the costs involved. Putting a dollar amount on history is wrong and it is stupid to think otherwise. Have we learned nothing from what happened to the Capitol Theatre?

  16. just tear the dam thing down!!! Cornwall needs JOBS not a dirty old movie theater that nobody goes to!!!

    people in Conrwall dont want this!!!!! not evrything thats old is worth keeping!!!! if the artsie fartsies in this town want to spend MY taxes on “CULTURE” they should all pack-up and move to Toronto where they can be with there own kind and LEAVE US NORMAL PEOPLE ALONE!!!!!!!

  17. The Port is not “in jeopardy.” The FOTP has folded; the theatre is not. The writer of this so-called “news article” has skewed facts in a manner that would make Michael Moore proud. This is a man who posts questions under various assumed names and answers them under his own in order to make himself look more intelligent. He has been banned from posting at the Standard-Freeholder website for this very reason.

    Mr. McGillivray DID, in fact, comment for this article (I was there), but apparently his comment was not satisfactory and so was omitted in favor of a suitably cryptic “not available for comment.”

    As for his offer to purchase the theatre, it wasn’t so much an offer as it was a personal insult. He essentially told Mr. McGillivray (a 40-year-plus veteran of the business) that he didn’t know what he was doing and that only his “marketing genius” could save the Port. Excellent business tactics, my good man. I can’t imagine why he wouldn’t sell to you.

    And for the record, he did not “resign” from the FOTP; he was kicked out of the group for being extremely difficult and, essentially, a troublemaker.

  18. Author

    Steve they actually have laws against what I’ve just allowed you to post.

    For the record. I only post comments on this site as admin. I still continue to post on the Freeholder under my own name with no issue. I did in fact resign from FOTP along with another board member. The Owner of the Port did in fact refuse to comment on this story ( I have his email reply). The Port was in fact listed via MLS for sale. Asking price was $75,000. After meeting Glen I in fact stated that he should own the building.

    So sir, I sincerely hope a full apology and retraction are posted here in this thread or that you provide proof for the slander and defamation of character you are not only posting, but suggesting to others.

    My and others position was very clear with the owner of the Port; and during my stay as a founder of FOTP. That Funds could not be solicited successfully enough without having a non-profit, which is very inexpensive to attain, do the bidding to save the building. It’s not rocket science, and sadly without funds that are more than the revenues of the theatre, the building and business will not likely be able to be maintained and modernized.

    This isn’t about owning the Port. This isn’t about one person or ego. This should only be about saving this landmark building, one of the few gems left standing. And I’m not shy as I’ve said this elsewhere; that if at some point the current owner of the Port can’t or won’t maintain the theatre, the longer “he” owns it the more expensive it one day will cost to save it or at the worst, it may end up not being savable which truly would be a shame and a crime.

  19. Meatwhistle, your ignorance is a shame to everyone in Cornwall. One building being torn down isn’t going to open up any jobs. Your tax money isn’t paying for the Port Theatre, so obviously you weren’t reading the article.

  20. Admin, what do you expect? No one’s been helping out at the Port. It’s very simple how to help out, you just have to donate, volunteer, do something. If a so-called Marketing Genius wants to own the port, then it’s abundantly obvious that he’s in it for the wrong reasons. Stop trying to hide your true agenda.

  21. Author

    Logan if all “I” wanted to do was own it, I would’ve bought it when listed. It’s funny how these “trolls” are coming out of the woodwork after our story…..I think those that truly care about the Port and want to save it know the history including my own tiny piece in trying to save it.

    And for the record my door is still open. If at any time a group wants to form a non-profit to save the building I’d be happy to lend my time and skills to try and save the building. And I have no issue with the current owner being given a sweetheart deal for as long as he wishes to operate the theatre. He’s been there forever and should stay as long as he wishes too. My only concern is the safety of the building, and for it to be able to be preserved in the long term as a working and operating theatre.

    For example it may be cheaper to have The Aultsville Theatre purchase the building than to install a state of the art projection and sound system in their facility. With the track record of success that Aultsville has I think the building could be saved and the Arts Community benefit.

    See you little trolls who seem to want to come and bash me on my own site this isn’t about me. It’s not about the owner of the Port. It’s about saving a monument to a lost time in our history and making it into a comfortable and enjoyable venue for generations to come.

  22. I’m not being a troll, so keep thinking what you want to think. You don’t need to own the building to keep it safe and preserved in the long term.

  23. Author

    Logan I have zero interest in owning it for myself. I only want to see it preserved by a non-profit which I’m happy to participate in. The Port has very little to no chance to fund its own preservation without major investment, and that type of investment comes either via government or non-profit. Hope that clarifies things for you.

  24. Ok…

    #1 – The Port Theatre is NOT…..I repeat N-O-T in trouble of closing

    #2 – The Friends of the Port disbanded for other reasons…nothing to do with owning the theatre

    #3 – Glenn is doing a great job….go see the movies at the Port, cheaper, more comfy, better atmosphere

    #4 – From what i understand the author of this “article” has their own self interest in the building

    #5 – Glenn and the Port Theatre has 100%….ONE HUNDRED PERCENT… from the municipal committee known as Heritage Cornwall. That group has a list of available grants and incentives that are available.

    #6 – Friends of the Port did a great job helping. I can see the sign from a distance now

    and last but not least

    The Port IS preserved…..the thing has been designated under the Ontario Heritage Act, which gives more protection today than it did in the 1980s. Just do us and the owner a favour….go spend your money at his theatre, sit down with your snacks and just enjoy the movies.

    NUFF SAID!!!!!!

  25. It’s only slander if it’s not true. I’m not being a troll; I’m merely illustrating that this story of yours is extremely skewed and biased, and that, given your history, anything you say in regards to the Port needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

  26. Author

    Steve, if you’re the Steve that works at the Port, you were not only not present during conversations I had with Glen, at least business ones, you also were not present at the early board meetings of FOTP so for you to make statements of fact is in fact quite inaccurate, and yes, defamation of character and slander.

    So again, get “YOUR” facts straight and again, an apology is expected from you regarding this gross crap of a statement you’ve now twice inflicted on our readers and those that actually care about the Port’s survival.

  27. couple things i’d like to say…
    a) meatwhistle – you and i are truly at opposite ends of thinking. should the ‘artsy fartsy crowd’ that is interested in the port also go hang out with the gays? i mean you keep saying to ‘leave you normal people alone’.. so movies are normal, gay is not normal… WTF?
    b) i truly truly wish we were this passionate about the political situation in this town, province, country. lets be passionate about the larger picture in addition to the stuff that’s close to home… please.

  28. oh wait, i had another thought for meatwhistle.. how about gay movies… whoa! that’d be waaay out there huh? lol

  29. Like I said LaFemme, Meatwhistle would get along great with Pastor Tom.

  30. I have to agree with Miles on many points…the promotion and advertising of the nostalgic film series was terribly carried out…on several occassions I found out about screenings days after they occurred and at one point I attempted to contact the group with questions and to offer assistance but alas, I too was dealt no reply…very poor access to information and to the group itself…I would have thought such a group would welcome as much assistance as possible…

  31. oh, and meatwhistle…you’re pretty offensive, dude…

  32. Author

    It’s funny, that a member of the staff of the Port posts on our site suggesting I had a hidden agenda, but with what I proposed I can’t imagine what it could possibly be? The theatre should be a non-profit. It should be preserved. How that somehow threatens the current owner or could possibly be some other agenda I have no idea? Especially as I suggested he be given a “sweetheart” lease deal so that he can run his “business” as he sees fit.

    Then having Chris Granger posting under a troll id, and then his own, attacking us over a photo his group can’t present copyright for (because it’s in the public domain) is even more boggling? That said group which has two former members of FOTP and the current owner on its board certainly clouds any comment of this nature.

    This type of attitude sadly is why a committed non-profit group needs to step in and save the building before it’s too late. I’d love to potentially see The Aultsville Theatre take over The Port. I think it’d be a great marriage and the Aultsville certainly has done a super job with their theatre.

    The only consideration anyone should have in this discussion is what is best to save the Port before it goes the way of the Capitol. All this other muckraking and attacking is pointless and should stop.

  33. What has happened to my beloved former home away from home? In 1987, Glenn McG., hired this eager 18 year old girl to work the concession stand. My first night was the opening night of Mannequin, starring Andrew McCarthy and Kim Cattrall. As I filled the last box of buttered popcorn for a customer and watched the lights go down inside that huge auditorium, I knew I’d finally found the perfect part-time job for me. During my six (off & on) years there, I made friends (and a few enemies), battled breast cancer, developed a passion for the entertainment industry and learned more about customer service, public relations and business management there than I did in the next five jobs I had, combined. Glenn was like a beloved uncle to me and, although there were times when we REALLY didn’t agree or get along, I loved the theatre and cared for him so much that I decided to get married right in front of the silver screen, just minutes prior to opening for a Saturday afternoon matinee (Masters of the Universe), with Glenn serving as my husband’s Best Man. I still have warm and wonderful dreams about the old Port and the many days and nights I spent working there, helping Glenn manage the place, keep it staffed, well-stocked and well-maintained. It wounds my heart to see what’s happened to it over the years, and if I had $300,000 I’d buy and restore it to its former glory.

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