When David Smallwood came to Corner Brook from St. John’s in 1975 the weather had a lot to do with him deciding to put down roots on the west coast.
And winter weather at that.
He made the move in 1975 as the first director of student services with the now Grenfell Campus.
With small children, the family got its first taste that year of the Corner Brook Winter Carnival, which was then a weekend event.
“And nevertheless it was a joy to be able to get out in it, and play in the snow, and enjoy the sunshine and generally have a good time.”
Just a couple of winters later, the event turned into a 10-day festival, and Smallwood and his family continued to participate, often making snow sculptures in front of their home.
Their involvement continues today and now his grandchildren join in enjoying all that the carnival has to offer.
“We’ve certainly had our share of chili, and our share of fireworks and of bacon and eggs,” he said with a laugh.
This year he’ll take part in the carnival, Feb. 16-25, as patron of the event.
It’s a distinction that was announced by the winter carnival committee on Monday, and pays tribute to Smallwood’s commitment to the community, in particular the arts community.
Smallwood left Grenfell in 1978 and went to work at Bowaters until the company decided it was leaving town, and the paper mill was taken over by Kruger.
He then started Academy Canada, and retired about 15 years ago.
“I actually retired and did nothing for about six months, and realized that I was probably not going to enjoy this very much, so then I started doing stuff.”
For the last five years he has been “up to my neck” in the Rotary Arts Centre. He was the driving force behind its establishment.
Over the years he has also appeared in many community productions, and soon will be seen onstage in Dance Studio West’s production of “Cats” as Gus the theatre cat.
Smallwood said being named patron of the carnival came out of the blue.
“I had no more thought that this could ever happen than I thought of my going to the moon.”
Still, he was “dumbfounded and delighted,” as the carnival is very much a part of what the community is.
“It’s just a fitting way to celebrate the fact that we like living here.”