After 14 years at The Chronicle, it's time to move on
© Chronicle file photo
After 14 years with The Voice of the West Island, Marc Lalonde, pictured here reading to students at Clearpoint elementary school in Pointe Claire last January, is leaving the paper to take a job with the Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation.
The West Island is a small world, but I wouldn't want to paint it.
That's the conclusion I have come to after 13 years as a reporter, editor, manager and director of the West Island Chronicle newspaper. When I walked into the Cartier Avenue offices in Pointe Claire in late 2000 as an intern, I had no idea I was walking into a place that would become my professional home for the next decade and a half.
Granted, we've moved office twice since, but the fact remains that The Chronicle is home. I walked in a know-it-all smartass fresh out of university when I started at the paper way back when – without a care in the world and even fewer possessions, and now, after 14 years, I leave the paper as a happily married suburban father of two. Where does the time go?
The Tragically Hip sum it up well in their long-forgotten song 'Another Midnight,' when they posit that 'the calendar burns/as the stories unfold,' and I can think of no better way to describe my time with the paper. I leave now to take a job as the communications officer for the Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation, which will allow me to stay close to the West Island market that has been such a big part of my life since childhood and work with a dynamic team led by new managing director Heather Holmes. I will be leaving a lifetime of memories that have accrued since I walked through the doors as an intern in 2000.
I was lucky enough to join a fantastic newsroom that consisted of editor Albert Kramberger, assistant editor Jessica Howard, reporters Julie Quenneville and Ravi Ubha and sports editor Michael Piasetzki, and now, 14 years later, I find myself in the same situation. I owe Albert Kramberger, in particular, a debt of gratitude for his patience, his kindness, his generosity of spirit and his sense of humour in helping me learn the business from the ground up. Albert, if you're reading – thanks for everything.
In 2007, we got new leadership at the Chronicle in the form of our new publisher Denis Therrien, and I owe Denis a large debt of gratitude as well. Through Denis, I was able to grasp a wealth of knowledge on a great many subjects, such as management, business, human relations and human resources and was, without question, the best boss I have ever had. To Denis, Chronicle office manager Joy Ann Dempsey, whose tell-it-like-it-is demeanour belies her enormous heart and her caring nature and the rest of the team here at TC Media, I wish you all nothing but the best in the future. To the current editorial team of Anthony Abbondanza and Stephanie Alcaraz-Robinson, I throw you the torch and hope you will continue to carry on the strong editorial tradition that began here so many years ago, when the Freeman family launched the newspaper that would eventually become The Chronicle. To my colleagues on the Quebec Community Newspaper Association (QCNA) board of directors, I wish you continued success and hope that your collective passion for the newspaper business never starts to wane. To QCNA staffers Carolyn Kitzanuk and Marnie Owston, I hope that you continue to make the QCNA the first-class organization that it has become under your watch.
I would be remiss in omitting names of a number of colleagues who I have worked with over the years such as Louis Athanasatos, Emmanuela Niculescu, Jean Gauthier and Jimmy Nicolopolous, who formed a dynamic graphic design team in our offices once upon a time. Former colleagues and friends such as Carmen Fabio, Sarah Leavitt, Francois Lemieux, Andy Blatchford, Scott Taylor, Joanna Smith, Lindsay Robb, Toula Foscolos and Gordon Brewerton, not to mention Arlene Halliday, Gail Johansen, David Seltzer, Mireille Kulisz, Graham Doughty and Harvey Aisenthal will also be remembered fondly. If I have missed you here, I apologize. To columnists and photographers Peter Levidis, Lama Farran, Sue Ann Hickey, Rob Amyot, Keith McAuliffe and Leslie Schachter, your professionalism and talent will always set you apart. It was my honour to have worked with you.
I won't be far away – the Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation offices are but a hop, skip and a jump away from where we are now, but it's going to be a new, exciting adventure – and it's one I embrace with a full heart and clear eyes.
Make no mistake, though – my column will still appear from time to time in the paper, as well as tidbits about the Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation – and I think we'll start right now. On Aug. 24 in Pointe Claire, the annual BassStock outdoor rock concert will be held in Pointe Claire, on a small green space encircled by Basswood Circle. The concert is set to begin at 3 p.m. that day, with a food truck, drink sales and other fun and surprises for the whole family – and yours truly will be the master of ceremonies. We'll be raising some funds for the Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation, whose mandate is to fund the cutting-edge equipment that government funding doesn't cover. So come on out and bring your family and say hello. My wife and kids will be there as well, and the family-friendly atmosphere should make for a great way to gear up for the school year ahead. For more information, visit Facebook and search 'Basstock Basswood Circle.'
It's been a great trip – and I have enjoyed every step of it. Thank you, West Island, for letting me into your homes and paying attention to what I had to say. It was an honour and a privilege and I look forward to continuing to serve our community at the Lakeshore General Hospital Foundation.