New Westport Lions Member Drawn by the Outdoors

Peter with the family dog Toff.

Westport Lions Roar

By Lion Barry Winfield

Peter and Linda Minnelli moved to Westport this past Spring to the “Watercolour” development on the northwest corner to the village. Although he and Linda had been quite content and settled into their quiet Ottawa subdivision, they felt a change was in order and started looking for a new community in the area. 

After searching in the Perth, Rideau Ferry, Big Rideau Lake area, they discovered Westport and the Watercolour development.  “We quickly learned that Westport has all the features and amenities suited to our lifestyles.  We love to walk, hike, bike and kayak and Westport has it all”. We also appreciated the exceptionally well-crafted Net Zero Energy Ready homes sold by Land Ark. With their Sheltie Toff’s okay, the move was made-a move they haven’t regretted for a moment.

Peter and Linda have, to their great pleasure, found that those living in Westport and the surrounding areas are universally “engaged in their community and are overwhelmingly friendly and accepting of newcomers.”

It was not long before Peter also noticed that myriad signs, plaques, posters, and newspaper articles around town attested to Lions being involved in virtually every facet of local life and activities. Joining our Lions Club in November, he found that “Lions members, both individually and as a group, are positive, dynamic, committed, passionate and talented. It is a real pleasure and honour to be part of such a group.”

Peter was born and raised in Ottawa. One of the major influences in his early development occurred when the City of Ottawa opened a new branch library near his home.  The library became his second home where he rapidly devoured all the history, geography, and current events books before graduating to the adult section. “I was also very fortunate”, he added, to have had a number of inspirational teachers and coaches who demonstrated a real passion and dedication-attributes that shaped us and motivated us

After studying at Carleton and the University of Ottawa, Peter joined the Finance and Administration Division of Environment Canada but after a few years transferred to Parks Canada. Parks Canada fitted his interests, personality and his personal skill set to a “T,” and contributed to implementing his life goals. He was Chief of Public Consultation Division in Cornwall and was responsible for getting the public’s views and ideas on Parks Canada proposed projects.  He was actively involved in establishing Bruce Peninsula National Park and Fathom Five National Marine Park in Tobermory and provided assistance to a number of Management Planning projects on the Rideau Canal.

Peter also filled the role of Acting Superintendent of the Georgian Bay Islands National Park.  His favourite job was being the Northern Area Manager of the Rideau Canal where he was responsible for the management of the Canal in the Ottawa area and responsible for the operation of Laurier House National Historic Site. He observes that “Parks Canada, like Westport, attracts and retains interesting, dedicated and dynamic people.”

Peter has had a long and varied volunteer involvement history.  As a teenager he coached little league baseball in Nepean for over a decade, assisted in a variety of roles in support of the United Way, and worked to promote Cornwall’s International Worldfest festival.  He has also helped adults with literacy and learning issues and taught English as a second language to new Canadians.  He has volunteered as an information guide at the Arrivals section at Ottawa International Airport and walked dogs at the Humane Society – “My toughest, most demanding, interview of my career!” 

Peter lovingly describes his wife Linda as “my anchor in a frothing sea of uncertainty.  A real swell person!” Linda taught High School in Cornwall and Ottawa and she also has many years of volunteering and community involvement.

Peter and Linda’s sons are Alexander, a social worker in Ottawa, and Adam, a teacher in Morden, Manitoba.

Peter concludes this conversation with this typically cogent and perceptive observation. “Does altruism alone guide volunteers?” His answer: “No, it’s not just the giving involved. You get lots back in return. You know that you have made a difference and meet a lot of great folks along the way.”

Welcome to the Westport Lions, Peter.

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