The Rock of Fame Creation Advisory Panel rejected the more traditional walk of fame format, in part because of the wear and tear a walkway would take in Northern Ontario, and because the names would be obscured by snow for much of the year.
“We decided the Rock of Fame should be represented by a wall,” said Kris Longston, a senior planner with the city who worked with the advisory panel. “Part of our research involved looking around to other places in Canada and Ontario to see what they’ve done in respect to walks of fame in their municipalities. We determined from the get-go that we weren’t interested in a walk of fame located on the ground. We wanted to make sure it would be visible all throughout the year.”
The panel also decided the monument should be downtown, and picked the south side of Elgin Street in hopes it could be incorporated with other projects.
“Elgin Street was a preferred location because of the rejuvenation that area will experience in the near future as a result of the school of architecture, the relocation of (Market Square) and plans for the Elgin Street Greenway, coming out of the Downtown Master Plan,” said panel member Patricia Mills, who is also publisher of Northern Ontario Business.
Mills said the panel settled on four categories to be used when determining who should be honoured: community builders, nationally acclaimed Greater Sudburians, historical figures and heroes.
“The nomination criteria were selected to represent a broad spectrum of people, past and present, who have contributed to the betterment and progress of the city,” she said. “We included heroes because we realize and understand that people in the military and police force and the fire department … put their lives at risk and we want to recognize their contributions to our city.”
When it comes to actually selecting honourees, it should be tasked to an extended advisory panel, which could include members of other community organizations, depending on the category being considered.
There will also be an annual event or ceremony where new members of the Rock of Fame are formally inducted.
“And for that, the panel recommends exploring partnership opportunities,” Longstone said. “One of those partnership opportunities could be with the Community Builder Awards, given the track record that organization has in putting on such events.”
Ward 5 Coun. Ron Dupuis, who represented council on the advisory panel, said honouring the achievements of great Sudburians is long overdue.
“The important thing is that we let people know about our accomplishments nationally and internationally in athletics, in business, in theatre, in music ... There’s just an unbelievable amount of people who deserve to be included in the Rock of Fame,” Dupuis said. “This is going to be a monument that we’re all going to be able to brag about and to be proud of.”
“We do not pat ourselves on the back enough,” added Ward 1 Coun. Joe Cimino. “It’s easy to look at the negative, but there are a lot of positives out there.”
When he asked if the panel has sought funding from the private sector, Mills replied that seeking such support requires a major effort.
“It’s a full-time job getting sponsorships,” she said. “So if you want someone to do that, you have to be prepared and for that you’ll have to hire someone.
“Sponsorships are what I do for a living. I’ve been doing it for 20-some years. It’s a full-time job.”
The Rock of Fame Creation Advisory Panel was established in January to provide recommendations for the creation of Greater Sudbury’s Rock of Fame. The project was identified by councillors as a strategic priority to “commemorate community pride, celebrate Greater Sudbury citizens and recognize their achievements,” a release from the city said.
In addition to approving the funding request of $200,000, councillors also extended the advisory panel’s term to 2014.