Walmart in Cornwall Ontario & CREIT Kibosh 12th Annual CHEO Fund Raiser In Their Parking Lot

Pictured Left to Right: Helene Gilmoure (driver), Krista Primeau (driver), Rodney Pilgrim (driver), Lorraine Hollis ( branch manager)

CFN –   People in Cornwall Ontario have always been huge supporters of The Children’s Hospital of Ontario (CHEO) and for 11 years First Student bus drivers have been fundraising for them.

previous Survivor weekend – submitted photo

The big yearly fund raiser, called their Survivor event,  has been held in the Cornwall Walmart parking lot on Brookdale.  From Friday night to Sunday in September bus drivers, in one of their school buses, camp out and collect thousands of dollars each year.  Last year they raised over $10,000 for the charity alone which goes a long way helping children deal with trauma and illness.

This year Walmart has refused to allow the group to continue.  With a  scant few weeks until the scheduled event the group is scrambling to not only find another location, but of course the issue is then how to get the public at large to know that they’ve moved!

The group is boggled as the volunteer bus drivers during the event spend money in Walmart and the group has supported the store as well.   Walmart has a universal chain policy of allowing campers to park over night which makes the decision by the local store and their landlord CREIT even more boggling?

The store, rumored to cash in on the community to the tune of over $80M per year seems to be playing Grinch and jeopardizing the fund raising for one of the most worth while charities and causes in Canada!

CREIT management L.P. apparently has just implemented a policy to not permit the staging of any events across all of their properties.

Some of the reasons given were potential for disruptions and disturbances, use of parking spaces that otherwise would be used by customers, unsightly banners and signage, and liability claims which the volunteers said makes no sense as they have $5M of liability coverage and a long history of nothing but positive results from their 11 years of fund raising?

To reach First Student you can phone them at 613 938 8000

To reach Walmart you can email them at or call them at 1-800-328-0402 or at their corporate office at 905 821 2111

Locally in Cornwall the store can be reached at 613-933-8366.

The Toronto based CREIT can be reached at 416-628-7771 or

I spoke with Sharon Amell at the Cornwall Walmart store who refused to answer or comment other than saying that it was a decision by their landlord CREIT who did not answer their phones nor return our missive to them as of press time.

Personally I think if Walmart and CREIT are going to be CREEPS  and refuse to allow the group and the community to support CHEO they should scratch a cheque for $10,000 each for this year.

But mostly I’m totally proud that I live in a community where those that give so much to children every day shuttling them from home to school and back still find time to give and that this amazing community responds as strongly as it has for 11 years.

Hopefully they’ll be rewarded by even more money this year one way or the other.

What do you think Viewers of  Cornwall Free News?  Is Walmart & CREIT being Corporate Child Hating Monsters?   Should they allow them to at least do this year’s event giving First Student’s amazing volunteers a year to find a new location?

This reminds me of the case last year where a shopping centre in Lasalle Quebec tried to refuse the Legion to sell poppies.  Hopefully the public protest works as well for this group as the backlash did for the Legion!

You can post your comments below, and we’d also like to hear some of that amazing stories of the work that CHEO has done in Cornwall and right across this region.



  1. “….Corporate Child Hating Monsters?” – talk about sensationalism? Slow day for posts?

  2. I think its a damn shame they aren’t allowed to this year, we’ve always supported them and dropped plenty of our money in their pail as we ENTERED walmart to do our shopping…..we looked forward to their funny ways every year at this time, tell them to call sears…that way I can still drop into their bucket as I bring my shopping list there instead!!

  3. I really don’t get it. We are talking about raising money for a hospital that many of us in this community have had occasion to bring our child(ren) to and have benefited greatly from the vast array of services (often life saving) they offer. I personally have infant twins and a 4 year old that may not be here today were it not for CHEO and I am appalled that WalMart and their landlord are not allowing this to happen. I can not imagine a truly valid reason to refuse these wonderful people from raising funds that help in saving the lives of our children daily. They are not protesting nor are they raising money for an organization that is highly debated therefore there would be no reason for concern of any damage or confrontation. As Shelley said I will gladly be taking my shopping list to the Cornwall Square as I would rather spend the few extra dollars on my family’s needs than help to support a chain that is refusing to help in raising funds for such a necessary hospital.

  4. A Sam Walton quote: “Each Wal-Mart store should reflect the values of its customers and support the vision they hold for their community.”

  5. I am not surprised that such a huge corportate store would be so selfish and not support our local First Student in there quest to help suport such a worthy cause as CHEO is. I have personally supported this charity and have used the hospital for my children. Maybe, if for one day, everyone did not go into Walmart, then Walmart would feel the pinch. Hmmmmm…food for thought…

  6. As a citizen of the SD&G area for the last 5 years, 4 of which in Cornwall, having an autistic child that is followed by CHEO, I will state that this article infuriates me given the history and good reputation of this event.

    Albeit the real culprit is alleged to be the landlords… Nonetheless: What is wrong with you corporate giants? Are your stockholders that ignorant?

    How can you refuse an event such as this one that not only supports many children in this area but Eastern Ontario as well?

    Given the track record and work these people have done over the years, what is the issue? What is so disturbing about volunteers wanting to raise funds for a well known children’s hospital that serves Eastern Ontario?

    Quite frankly, the decision made to disallow the event is a severe lack of judgement from the part of the key players and a slap in the face to the citizens who give Walmart, your tenant roughly 80M dollars in revenue annually.

    So how much are your bonuses this year for stomping on a children’s hospital?

  7. Author

    I can’t imagine that if a company the size of Walmart asked CREIT to allow this event that they’d get a no…. It really is up to the public to let both Walmart and CREIT know that they should change their minds. It’s worked with the Legion and other centres and it can work here.

    It’s up to anyone that reads this story and takes the time to post their comment and call or contact both companies.

    It’s not about hating them. It’s about letting them know that this really isn’t fair dinkum and this community and CHEO deserve better from them.

  8. So now here is an opportunity knocking on someone else’s door maybe Canadian owned and operated Giant Tiger will step up to the plate? I’m Sure Gerry O. from Cornwall GT, a person and a manger that likes giving back to the community will soak this opportunity up!!!

  9. Nothing but slander. I don’t work for Walmart but I have family who do. I can tell you this much. No buddy in our community does more for CHEO than the folks at Walmart. Shame on you, for cutting them down without doing your home work. First Students, Walmart and CHEO are all on the same page, helping our children. I think you owe them an apology followed by an article on all the good being done in our community by the people of Walmart. You can start with our local Agape center, and than our local Red Cross, followed by scores of local charity. Many companies in this city with the help of their employees work hard to donate. Despite articles like this one, “WE SEE YOU”. To the management and staff of the company people love to hate, I say thank you Walmart for all you do.

  10. Author

    David your family member that works for Walmart wouldn’t be in management at the local store, would they?

  11. Author

    Btw David, speaking of slander here’s the definition for you.

    slan·der   [slan-der] Show IPA
    1. defamation; calumny: rumors full of slander.
    2.a malicious, false, and defamatory statement or report: a slander against his good name.
    3.Law . defamation by oral utterance rather than by writing, pictures, etc.
    verb (used with object) utter slander against; defame.

    In this story we reported that Wal-Mart via its landlord killed this year’s Survivor event. We pointed out how much the event had earned in its history and its importance. We pointed out approximately how much Wal-mart sucks out of this community and why such a minor use of its parking lot one weekend per year should be a great and awesome thing.

    The good news is that our story resulted in a call from Wal-mart head office from one Felicity Fefer and the term slander was never brought up. It was a very positive conversation with some hope to a positive resolution and continuation. Like wise we got an email from Tony E. Wilson who is a VP at First Student who pointed out the positive relationship between First Student & Wal-Mart and his own hopes to reschedule the event in the parking lot.

    So why is it David that you feel you have to dump like this on the only local media outlet that chose to stand up for our local community in this issue?

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