Echo Essentials North Bay Edition

Nov 27, 2023

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Top Shelf

  • In-person ‘coffees’ offer exponentially more human ROI
  • Does ‘old school’ politics get more done?

Coffee Mug

Today’s Self Helper

"My Doctor said I need to raise my self esteem." - Allan Hirsh Cartoon

Allan Hirsh Cartoon

Echo Essentials

In-person ‘coffees’ offer
exponentially more human ROI

lisa boivin and bobby ray 52 coffees poster

The deadline for signing up for the #FiftyTwoCoffees program at the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce is Dec. 1. All the names of people involved are then matched up with others so they can arrange a short meet-and-greet starting in the New Year. They suit their own schedules with participants signing up for either once a week, every two weeks or monthly.

To North Bay With Love podcast host Lisa Boivin recently sat down for a brew with organizer Bobby Ray, who started the program five years ago. The idea was to build a more-connected community, as recommended in the Baylor Report about North Bay. Since then, there have been 4,500 meetings with 563 people taking part, including 303 who came back for numerous years to meet even more people in the community.

One thing they noticed, since it was started before COVID and required more online “coffees” during the pandemic than initially hoped, is that the in-person opportunities resulted in substantially longer and more fulfilling engagements.

“It’s not the same as meeting in person. The in-person meetings go much longer,” Ray explains in the episode being released Tuesday. “I’m not sure what the reason is … the the online calls were tough to get to go longer than 20 minutes. And I’ve had in-person conversations that have gone two hours, three hours and like three and a half was the longest one I ever had.”

“You think you know people because you recognize their face or because they’re in a Facebook connection (or you) exchanged business cards, perhaps. But until you sit across the table and you get to know what their dog’s name is and what they do when they’re not at work and what inspires them to remain in North Bay, perhaps, things like that, that’s when you really get to meet someone.”

Does ‘old school’ politics
get more done?

david thompson and dave dale pic for podcast

Small Town Times invited David Thompson in for an interview for another flavour of the ‘Between Two Daves’ conversations … usually it’s editor Dave Dale and former city councillor Dave Mendicino.

Thompson, a former professor at Canadore College, was the chairperson of the Near North District School Board. It’s good to hear what he thinks of the Chippewa Intermediate and Secondary School rebranding quagmire, which has riled up a good portion of the city (especially alumni).

The amalgamation of the high schools took place during his watch, ultimately closing Widdifield instead of where he went to high school. He’s familiar with what the intent was and wasn’t. Thompson then decided to run for North Bay city council but found out that didn’t help his political career (which he confirms is over).

Also discussed was the question about who would pick up the baton as North Bay council’s seasoned veteran, the one providing insight and historical knowledge. The late George Maroosis played that role as the “Wrench” for decades. Another subject touched upon was the sensitivities involved in modern board and directorship work, including for city councillors, which led to a chat about a former deputy mayor, Sheldon Forgette.

At the end, the pair of Daves talk about the onus and responsibilities put on teachers these days, as well as parental rights and roles, and how some of that could be better handled.

See the podcast HERE.

Today’s Zen Suggestion: Don’t bite off more than you can chew … unless you have a pet dog hiding under the table.


Thanks to our sponsor Services. Visit and mention “Echo Podcast” to get your first 3 months of your water heater rental free  *some restrictions may apply*

Echo Network

To North Bay With Love:

The 24th episode of To North Bay With Love drops in the morning, it’s the #52Coffees interview with Bobby Ray (see promo story above). It’s a fitting topic because the 2NBWL show is much like the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce program that matches members up with members for a short networking meeting over java or your favourite break refreshment. Haven’t listened to all of the shows? We have a handy directory HERE.

Small Town Times:

Last week, Rod Bilz and Dave Dale discuss trail development, mountain bike opportunities and solving Ontario’s social issues. And Helen Eng and Lori Laporte talk with editor Dave about the late Ed Eng, a local restauranteur and internationally renown advertising photographer. Helen remembers her husband for his humble ways and passion for learning regardless of his achievements. See the BayToday feature about his 2017 passing HERE.

Backroads Bill:

How far north can you drive a vehicle in Ontario (without using winter roads)? Find out in this week’s Backroads Bill podcast. In other episodes this month, Bill and his road trip partner Brian Emblin share their quest to find the four corners of the province and Finding the Geographic Centre of Ontario.

From the Backroads library of podcasts: LabyrinthsWolverine Heritage Canoe company in Wawa The ‘Art’ of Wildlife Photography, The Man Buried in Two Places, Bill Takes a Trip to Red Lake, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, Bashin’ Bill Barilko and The Legacy of Terry Fox.

Events Echo

festive in ferris christmas event

Thursday, Nov. 30

  • Dreamcoat Fantasy Theatre – Matilda (The Musical) at the Capitol Centre 7 p.m. (same time Friday, Dec. 1). See poster below for more info. $25 a seat.
  • Free Art Fix workshops sessions Nov. 30 and Dec. 7 on visual art and poetry at the White Water Gallery. Funded by Community Foundations of Canada and North Bay and Area Community Foundation. Email [email protected]
  • WEBINAR: Rooted Heart Psychotherapy Clinic’s Angela Gagne Larmer and Horse Sense North’s Carmen Theobold are offering a free Women’s Wellness Series. Third and final session is Nov. 30. Email [email protected] or [email protected]
  • World waterski champion Jaimee Bull is featured in the documentary The Unknown Sport of Waterskiing, with a special screening party at Gateway City Brewery. The event begins at 7 p.m. and movie starts at 8 p.m. Tickets $11.98 through Eventbrite, all proceeds and silent auction go to NoahStrong.


(For more events further out on the calendar, check Tourism North Bay’s comprehensive events listing guide. On Facebook, check out Creative Industries North Bay.)

First-time reader? Sign up for this free newsletter HERE. We publish Monday and Wednesday evenings and Friday morning.

If you have something to add to the discussion or an idea for one of Echo’s podcasters or affiliates, email Content Director Dave Dale at [email protected].

dreamcoat fantasy theatre poster matilda the musical

potters christmas art sale


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