nominated for a 2016 Canadian Screen Award

Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame honours inductees with gala at MTCC

MEMBERTOU — For Maynard Morrison, the business side of what he and his wife do for a living was brought into sharp focus at a restaurant in Pictou last year.

“I was in Sharon’s Diner one day (after a show) and she wouldn’t let me pay for the meal, saying ‘We are busy because you are here,'” he said during the meet-and-greet session that preceded last night’s hall of fame gala at the Membertou Trade and Convention Centre for this year’s inductees into the Cape Breton Business Hall of Fame. “That’s when I realized Bette (MacDonald) generates a lot of business, and I especially notice this in small towns.”

But he admitted MacDonald, a well-known actor, singer and comedienne who plays Trudy Walsh on CBC’s weekly sitcom “Mr. D,” was surprised when she first learned she would be inducted into the hall of fame this year, along with service centre owner Joe Barrington, sports retailer Arnie Rudderham, and contractors John and Ted Van Zutphen.

“Bette was very surprised to get the call — we don’t think of what we do as business, we are just doing the thing that we’ve been doing for most of our lives.”

Among the crowd of about 260 who took in the gala was Keith Hawkins of Howie Centre, owner of Russell J. Hawkins Ltd. in Sydney, an automotive parts and accessories business, and a longtime friend of one of the inductees.

“I did business with Joe Barrington for 45 years,” he said. “He’s a great fella, a real gentleman. I thought it was great that he was honoured.

“I think it’s a good idea to honour these people — they did a lot for the community that no one knows about.”

Two Cape Breton University business students who took in the gala were just as thrilled to be in the same room with the cream of Cape Breton’s business community as they were to be among the 10 Cape Breton students getting a financial boost in the form of scholarships and bursaries from the event.

“I’m honoured to be be around those big players in the business community,” said Matthew Bennett of Reserve Mines, who will receive $1,500 toward the cost of his business management program at CBU.

Added Kyle MacKay of Sydney, who received a bursary of $500: “I think it’s an honour to be here — and with tuition being so expensive, every little bit of scholarship money helps.”