River Kings & Art Gallery Closing Show Clear Lack of Community Support in Cornwall by Jamie Gilcig AUG 21, 2016

Cornwall Ontario – There are a core group of people in Cornwall that like to wear their civic pride like a badge of honor or Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

Finish near the last in Entrepreneurial studies, and you’ll hear complaints about how the study was done.

Celebrate our pizza as though it’s the best in the World even though it’s just old school Montreal style pizza.

Rave about a green space for a park on the water front instead of having a brimming active area for the community.

Talk about historic importance when most historic sites have been burnt down or destroyed.

Lift Off?  Gone.  Winterfest?  Gone.  Even the humble and strange Parade of Nations didn’t happen this year!

The newspaper with the most ads in it is one that’s barely read with almost no real news at all.  It’s decimated the Seaway News and Freeholder for local ads.   A city led boycott has killed most advertisers on this newspaper and frightened other businesses, some of whom are struggling, for fear of retribution; for example, not getting permits if the business’ ad is on CFN.

There is a cancer in the community and it’s not coming from Big Ben. That’s a whole other issue although still connected.

Certain media will simply not cover some of these ills for fear of losing what ad dollars they do get.   It’s a business and they are owned by large chains who care about the bottom line.  The local Corus radio outlet has been decimated since one of their announcers let the former mayor have it on his last day.   Their newsroom closed shortly after and there have been allegations of large staffing cuts.

The Public Art Gallery shut down after 36 years of history, 30 of those in the same downtown location on Pitt Street.

It died with barely a whimper from the public.    In fact a last minute funding proposal was coming through outside sources, but at the end of the day the question was asked,

“Why take money from good and well meaning people if the locals don’t care about their own gallery?”

It was a valid question, but with the “paid” media hacking away for City Hall, who had cut funding for two years to zero, there were no editorials to save the gallery, but instead a hack like Hugo Rodrigues writing a column suggesting the gallery, a charity, was in fact not a public gallery.

River King owner Steve Moreau and his family lost an estimated $1M + on their tenure of ownership.  In the statement below they cite a lack of community support leading to investors backing out.   The Cornwall franchise had the largest attendance in the league, and the biggest arena.

The Kings had huge artificial hurdles to over come though.   Chiefly the city itself, instead of supporting the team, who contributed more cash to the coffers than the minor league Colts, were essentially gouging the team while after much hand wringing at council, allowing them to gain 30% of the board incomes on this term of council, hardly enough to make an impact on the cash needed simply to break even.

The team was precluded from earning money from beer sales and sponsorship allegedly because of the rinks catering contract.

In other LNAH communities, cities actually would give some form of cash support yearly for all of the positive spin offs.

In Cornwall the team couldn’t even get reasonable practice ice time!

From the River Kings facebook page:

In an effort to save a dying team we put our businesses on the line in the hopes to save a team we loved. In the end, it didn’t materialize. In fact, it drained us so much financially that we had to close our other businesses as the loses were way more than what we projected. The Kings originally had investors who stepped up and offered assistance with the same hopes, however after seeing dismal attendance last year, dismal season ticket sales (both last year and this upcoming season) and a lack of community support from the majority of people and businesses in Cornwall, it was very difficult to convince investors to continue when the very community where the team lives wont support them.

There’s that term.   Lack of community support.

Sure there are a core group of people who believe, support and drive to make it work, but it was simply not enough. For this upcoming season we have sold less than 125 season tickets and have only 5 sponsors. Do the math? This isn’t even enough to buy new uniforms to start the season let alone pay for anything else required like insurance, bus rentals, ice time, etc. At the end of last season, it was made clear we need $700,000 to run the team for a season and we all had to step up to make it work. But through-out the summer the response to assist the team wasn’t there.

Our 500 ticket 5-day drive resulted in less than 20 tickets sold. Through out the summer sponsors backed out or flat out refused to help. How do you convince investors to stay on board with results like this? You can’t. People won’t invest in a team the community wont invest in. In the middle of this past week, all of our investors backed out.

Now the team relied far too much on social media which really isn’t a replacement for advertising, but they did have media support from CFN and the Freeholder.   20 tickets isn’t a lot of tickets and certainly isn’t a sign to ownership.

We have a fantastic team this season. We have the best support with Bob and Rick. Yet here we are with nothing to show for it and nothing to start a season with. We were let in a position where we had no choice but to not start the season.

So far there has been lots of rumours, gossip and hearsay going around. Accusations of “taking the money and running” unfortunately the sad truth is, there is no money. All investors backed out. Current Season Ticket sales covered off season expenses. We could easily pull a fast move like previous ownership and declare bankruptcy for the Kings and walk away. We didn’t. Instead we are offering people their money back but it will be personal money coming out of our own pockets to make sure you get back what you didn’t get and it will take time for us to recover from the losses and get it back to you. Call me what you will. Insult me as much as you want. In the end, I have ALWAYS lived up to my word with this team and I ALWAYS will.

Again, since last season Mr. Moreau has clearly stated the community needed to step up.   The community clearly did not.

I don’t expect many of you will bother to try and understand what everyone who worked with the team went through this summer to try and make it work. In fact, some of you will try to rip this post apart and claim some hidden agenda, which I can assure there never has been and never will be one. We just tried to make this team work. Some of you will just bitch and complain, accuse and point fingers, deny and slander but in the end, everyone who was part of this team tried their hardest and we did not succeed. We all want the team as much as you do, we just cannot do it alone and made this clear at the end of last season.

So where do we go from here?

CFN spoke to Denis Boisvert from the LNAH who said a decision would be made Monday night.

The LNAH was informed early this morning that the Cornwall River Kings put an end to their activities and will not commence the 2016-2017 season.
The Board of Governors of the LNAH accordingly met in the early evening to hold a telephone conference on the future of this franchise. Already, various scenarios were considered in order to retain the team and start next season with eight teams.
The LNAH has given until Monday evening to make a final decision on this important issue. An emergency meeting of the Board of Governors will be held and all scenarios will be presented to the owners.
Until then, the LNAH will make no further comment.

rk ice

You can wash away a presence as this photo above seems to be showing of the River Kings logo before the Monday night meeting, but at the end of the day what does it say about a community that cannot or will not support basic institutions such as public art galleries and hockey teams?

While it’s no secret that the community is suffering economically from an utter lack of development and a brutal local government that has literally chased away business small, and large, is it time for people to step up and start to demand change?

We’re running out of things to lose in Cornwall.    This Kincentric clannishness about our city has to end if the community ever is to progressively move forward or become attractive for people other than offenders getting out of jail looking for cheap sub standard housing.

Instead of people like Gerry Benson, and various Kanebs asking for hand outs, and getting, them from council for vanity University projects it might be time for some of those folk to write some cheques to pump up and support our community?

Sadly history shows the odds of them doing so are not terribly strong…..

Last one out flick the lights please.

You can post your comments below.   Please follow our rules posted below.


  1. Ther River Kins and TAG are just the tip of the ice berg. This from a community who it seems a lot have the “society owes me” or “welfare / social assistance as a career attitude.

  2. Hugger this is one of our rare moments that I agree with you and I can tell you that it has been going on forever since at least the 30’s depression era. Cornhole has stayed behind for those very reasons and of course the clique that also ran from generation to generation. Cornhole is losing everything and that is the truth it is finished beyond repair.

  3. You cannot civilize a society that doesn’t want to be civilized. When we lived in Cornhole OMG OMG OMG many times over that place was something else. We couldn’t even enjoy the peace of our own home nor rent it was a living nightmare. We would never repeat such a horrible mistake ever.

  4. Nobody owes anybody anything and so many people think that the world owes them and that is how Cornhole remained in the ditch and will never ever recover and that is the truth. Cornhole is known as “a welfare town” and that was even written in Ottawa’s papers. When people live off welfare they have no future of any kind at all. Get off your keesters and go look for work.

  5. Jamie did you read and understand my words “you cannot civilize a society that doesn’t want to be civilized” when you spoke about running for mayor of Cornhole do you understand my meaning. The sheeple don’t know what civilization means and when you want to bring them better and show them where they are going wrong but they don’t want it because they are too comfortable being ignorant and lazy.

  6. Jules…it goes along the lines of the “society owes me” or “welfare / social assistance as a career” attitude. It is very prevalent in Cornwall, probably going back generations. When that happens it is very hard to break that attitude of current generations. We grew up in a different time when you worked for a living, not let society owe you for anything.

  7. One thing I’ve also noticed is that the mullet is very prevalent in Cornwall as well. I don’t know why. But sometimes the “society owes me” or “welfare / social assistance as a career” attitude goes hand in hand with the mullet, sort of a redneck attitude. It’s sad really what has happened to Cornwall.

  8. Hugger you nailed it again. Yes a “you owe me attitude” as well as a “red neck society” and one man who is prominent in Cornhole had a well known business and he spoke to my husband and I about that and he said that his family was like that from way back and he wanted to change things and he did just that. He is famous in Cornhole. I don’t know if he is still alive since he was very sick.

  9. For those interested there is a fan based group trying to save the River Kings. There is a meeting tonight at Mocktails. I think the meeting is at 8:00 p.m.

  10. Hugger there are a number of construction jobs going on here in Ottawa and plenty for able bodied men in Cornhole to take advantage of. There is a Mexican couple on our street and the husband is constantly busy in construction and she does day care. There is no reason to remain idle – get out there folks and earn your keep. You buy what you want and the govt. cannot say a thing.

  11. I read in one of the “toilet papers of record of Cornhole” that they want to build an arts centre that cost in the millions of dollars. How in the world did they come up with that when they cannot keep a hockey team on the go and they cannot keep the actual arts centre going and have their noses turned up at Jamie who is a mighty good soul and wants something better for the town.

  12. It is wonderful to have an arts centre but it has to be utilized and money must be there to keep it going and if not you don’t build something that you cannot afford just to decorate the place. The same for hockey you have to attend the games to keep the team going or else it will fold and that is what is happening today. You either dish up or call it quits. Get off welfare and work!

  13. There is a lot of bridge work being done here in Ottawa as well. Every year those bridges need maintenance and guess what men there are jobs for you in that area as well – construction and construction is where you make good money. One man that I met many years ago left his engineering job to do construction – good money. Get off your butts and support your families.

  14. The problem is Cornhole are the sheeple and the clique knows how to trample on the sheeple. The sheeple have no brains to think with and all they do is complain and do nothing. You don’t get rid of the clique and make something out of yourselves then you are dead and I mean dead. The mayor and council are a joke and there to collect a pay cheque and nothing more. No vision no nothing.

  15. The song remains the same….apparently. Zzzz-zzzz-zzzz-zzz

  16. Jamie unless you are able to perform miracles to revive the sheeple from their zombie state in Cornhole and to chase out the clique like the “parting of the Red Sea in the Ten Commandments” then bellieve me nothing will work in Cornhole. You have no idea how much I am laughing at this end and no business of any sort has succeeded down in that farm town aka graveyard.

  17. Always something or someone else to blame.

  18. Author

    Jules if the voters of Cornwall really want change and vote for it then I think this city will become a better place everyone can be proud of. If they put slugs like David Murphy and Rodney Rivette in office…well you get the government you deserve….

  19. Jamie well said and honestly I wish you the very best that life can bring you and if you have your heart and mind set on being mayor of Cornhole I wish you the very best and I hope that you win the election. You are a very good man and you have vision. Lez lies and has no vision at all. Honest to God you are the best that is in Cornhole and that is the truth.

  20. Jamie Cornhole had the Québec Nordique’s Farm Team when we used to live in cornhole for a while and it folded. In order for people to attend the games they have to have jobs and no jobs in Cornhole so people cannot afford the tickets. Food, rent, clothing, transportation come first before entertainment. No business has succeeded in Cornhole anymore and taxes are beyond belief for a farm.

  21. A community that does not care you may have hit it on the head Jamie the nail that is but you failed to put the blame at the root it is not the people of this town it is the system in this town that is unable to organize and promote healthy growth and does not care since majority are not connected to this community and live outside of it and most the jobs service the poor.

  22. It is welfare and O.D.S.P that is keeping the town alive majority of all the jobs in the downtown core are related to servicing the poor all in a 2 block radius (Welfare,Police,Court House,Probation,Mental Health,Meth.Clinic,Agape)when these close each day the streets roll up. Majority of the people working these jobs live in Ottawa and retire their parents here.

  23. The city needs to create more jobs instead of contracting everything out to private businesses to take care of everything, And the city is being further damaged by developers who have stalled construction on key locations(Pitt and Second) devaluing the area well starting new projects and taking advantage of the lower property values and purchasing up the properties and they are from outside.

  24. Michael Mantle like you said the River Kings and TAG are just the tip of the iceberg. Most people here in Ottawa, Montreal and elsewhere know about Cornhole and would never invest a single penny down there and I for one would never ever make that mistake ever again. I feel for Mr. Moreau and Jamie and others who got burned investing in Cornhole.

  25. Of course there is a lack of community support and that is with everything in Cornhole. Everybody wants others to do it for them and they dont want to work for it but expect that everything is going to be there for them. Businesses know that very well. People from other cities know very well what is going on down in Cornhole. Cornhole is a joke.

  26. I will say something for the Kaneb family and if you think that these people didnt invest in Cornhole you are all mighty wrong. Kanebs owned a fuel company and many other businesses and Nick Kaneb was admired by my family and that is so true. The Kanebs and other Lebanese Syrians were called terrible names in past and like ourselves we dont forget the hurt.

  27. Nick and his brother George were some of the top business people of Cornhole and were well educated from Harvard University in Boston Mass. I dont know why they chose Cornhole a mill town of uneducated sheeple. A town of sheeple who prefer to stay behind on the welfare system and bury their heads in the sand. They want others to make jobs and at the same time steal from them and hurt them badly

  28. What I have seen about that Sip and Slurp business is that the sheeple of Cornhole are mighty jeolous of people who want to succeed and get ahead in life and the only outlet that the Cornhole sheeple have is to hurt and destroy other people. I can say plenty. The same goes for the art gallery and for Mr. Moreaus hockey team – nothing works in Cornhole because of the stupid sheeple.

  29. My family is very proud of the Kaneb family and I had the privilege of attending St. Lawrence High School with Karen Kaneb way back in the 60s era. You cold tell that this girl now woman came from a very good family and the drive was for a very good education and make something out of oneself. I am very proud to be married to my Lebanese husband and learned so much from him and how right he is.

  30. Dig, dig, dig.

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