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Chris Gore: Always active, always enabling, always for the City
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On foot, ski or cycle, by land or by water, Chris Gore has always lived a fully active life – and despite his retirement just a few years ago, the original native of Montreal shows little signs of slowing down.

More outdoorsy than sporty, though very much at ease in either setting, Gore would first find himself drawn to the land he would eventually call home, enrolling in Sault College following his CEGEP studies, with the Forestry program as the lure.

“But even when I took forestry, parks was something I was interested in,” Gore shared recently. “I became really interested in Provincial Parks and that just kind of fell into the recreation stream.”

And like so many who pursue a career in sport or recreation, the pathway is seldom linear.

For the second oldest of four kids in the family, the interests often overlapped. With little to no job opportunities in the area of conservation, Gore would add another layer of academic achievement, attending the University of Ottawa and studying Recreation.

“Even when I graduated from Ottawa, I was still working forestry in the summers, fighting fires,” said Gore, recalling an avenue that he tackled on five separate occasions. “I maintained a connection with northern Ontario always after I went to Sault College. I just love the place. I liked the area, had good memories – so I kept going back.”

“And I had friends that were still there.”

It was time to find an outdoors option that could match his hot weather love of anything that avoided being chained to a desk. The winter nordic ski scene seemed as good a choice as any. “I’m self-taught but then took some instructions courses while I was in Ottawa,” said Gore. “I did some adult teaching, got into the ski marathon racing.”

Before long, he found himself employed with the National Capital Ski Team (assistant coach), leveraging that experience to a role with Cross-Country Algoma a year later, setting the stage for much of the work to come when Gore eventually lands in Sudbury in the fall of 1983.

“It was partly tourism and partly sport oriented – we were introducing cross-country skiing to all of the schools in the Sault,” said the 68 year-old still active athlete.

That effort and his general love of fitness would put Gore in regular interaction with the Sault Ste Marie YMCA – and while there were no positions opening up at their end, they did recommend that he apply for the Director of Programming role in Sudbury. In the fall of 1983, Gore and family would make their way to the nickel city, soon to celebrate forty years immersed in this community.

The extent to which the community has affected Gore is equalled if not surpassed by the impact he has had on the community itself. Though his tenure at the old Sudbury YMCA on Lloyd Street would last less than four years, moving on the accept a job in Parks and Recreation with the CGS that would bring him through to retirement, the love of so much of the cross-over interests of the YMCA and the City embraced Gore from the start.

“The Y was great,” he recalled. “You didn’t work at the Y to make money – and you worked enormously long hours – but I loved working in that building, I loved the people who worked there. The old Y was special, with that funny little pool in the basement and some pretty neat people who were there - all part of the Y family.”

“It was challenging to keep the numbers up, but we had an incredible volunteer core,” said Gore. “That’s what a place like that is built on.”

That lesson was not forgotten in the least when the energetic young man jumped head first into public service. Leading the way, guiding the departmental ship, if you will, was the late Don Waddell, a huge contributor to the mindset that Gore would nurture for decades to come.

“Don was a visionary and passionate about the things he was doing and things he wanted to achieve,” said Gore. “I could listen for hours to his dreams for the City.”

The pair understood far better than most than in order for leisure services and sport to move forward in any city, those involved as municipal employees and those involved on the flip-side as volunteers and organizers had to be marching in tandem beat. “There are a lot of really good folks who wanted to get stuff done in the community,” said Gore.

“The things we did together, the things that we did with the community, there’s some great memories and some wonderful people.”

From his decade-long involvement with the Sudbury Fitness Challenge – “that is such a wonderful celebration of just being active” – to the work undertaken on bringing the Laurentian track back to life such that the Ontario Summer Games (2010) and OFSAA Track & Field (2011) could be hosted in Sudbury, and back to the re-opening of Adanac Ski Hill, Chris Gore has been paramount to much of what has been accomplished in the region.

It is a vocation that is at the very heart and soul of the man himself.

“I think I am somebody who enabled people to be part of what shapes this city.”

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