Perth Ontario Wins the CTV Community Challenge Contest.

The story of how historic Perth Ontario came to win this CTV contest is a interesting story and shows how when people believe in an idea - it can be made to happen.

The Idea!

Clark Theobald is a retired schoolteacher in Perth who heard that CTV was once again running a contest for Communities. Basically you had to write CTV and tell them why "Breakfast with Jeff" should come to your community for a breakfast program. The previous year the Chamber of Commerce had spearheaded a committee to send in a written submission outlining the many features of our heritage town, but unfortunately it did not win.

CTV would choose 4 winners from across Canada, and each winning community would receive a 2.5 hour live National broadcast from their community.

Clark had examined the winning entries from last year and noted that the winners all had submitted very innovative entries. He concluded that some sort of video entry might have a chance to win this year and started lobbying the Town, Chamber and BIA to support his idea, all to no avail.

Last Hope

He then approached Mary Colleen Chatfield, then current chair of the BIA Promotion and Advertising Committee to see if he could convince her. Mary Colleen's committee was responsible for many innovative promotional ideas such as the Perth display in the lobby of the National Arts Centre, and advertising campaigns into Ottawa.

Mary Colleen decided to let Clark present his idea to her committee. Clark and a photographer, Kelly Munro of Munro Digital Services, had come up with an idea for a single scene video in the Perth town hall chambers. The video would show the Perth Town Council voting to invite Jeff to breakfast in Perth followed by a scene with the Stewart Park festival crowd. The cost could be kept down to $500, a figure the BIA could afford.

Mary Colleen's committee liked the idea and took it to the board of directors. Since they were adjourned for the summer, a phone vote approved the expenditure, provided the BIA receive not just an invitation to "Breakfast with Jeff" - but also more generic material the BIA could use for general promotion.

Final Piece to the Puzzle

At this time the photographer had to pull out due to previous commitments. This left a good idea without a means to implement it. Hugh Chatfield, president of CyberSpace Industries 2000 Inc. decided to step in and offer to complete both the CTV entry and the more generic material, generating two DVD's for the same original price.

As CyberSpace Industries started the story boarding process for the proposed DVD, it became apparent this could not be a single scene. Multiple scenes were planned including shots in the Tay Basin, Studio Theatre, Front of Town Hall, Council Chambers, Band Stand and Stewart Park Festival. Shooting of the scenes took about 4-5 days, and final editing for the CTV entry took another 2 days.

Mary Colleen was assigned by the BIA to get the entire entry ready for submission on time. She planned to use one of the canvas Bags designed by her "packaging committee" under the direction of Peggy Paul. This is a black bag with attractive town hall icon and "Downtown Heritage Perth - 1816" in gold leaf on the side. These bags were for sale in several of the downtown stores.

CyberSpace Industries delivered copies of the final DVD's attractive DVD labels, and the "formal invitation" to CTV - presented in the form of a wedding invitation. Also include in the bag was a Perth shirt for Jeff, town pins and various informational brochures providing information about Perth. Mary Colleen put the final package together and courier the entry to CTV in Toronto.

The Lost DVD

Now, a couple of days after she got confirmation that CTV had received the entry she got a call from CTV in Toronto. Apparently the DVD was being shown around, and they had lost track of who had it. They asked if we could send a second copy right away. This at least proved it was attracting attention. CTV showed a preview of this DVD on National television, with Jeff telling Canada that Perth was a spectacular town.

CTV called Mary Colleen 2 days before Perth was announced a winner, to make sure she watched the show where Perth would be announced. She was asked to keep the news secret until the Wednesday morning. Knowing that there would a multitude of things that would have to be organized in a very short time to make this event happen in Perth, she called a first of a series of meetings with key people in town for the afternoon after Perth was announced a winner. They were told the meeting was very important, but the subject was not revealed.

Planning Begins

In the meantime, Mary Colleen and Hugh began discussions with CTV as to what would be required from the town In addition, Press releases from the Promotion and Advertising Committee was sent to various media outlets, including the syndicated news feeds managed by CyberSpace Industries. The winning DVD entry was posted on YouTube and was made available via the BIA web site  [Note:  the video displayed at this location is the second DVD produced - the first one being removed because of a copyright dispute]

At the first meeting, the invited members brainstormed to think up events that would involve Jeff and promote various aspects of the town. CTV selected the final scenes from this list.

One thing that became evident, was that since the event would involve town staff, resources, and the town itself, it was required to establish a Committee in Council to manage the overall events, and get a commitment from town council to hold and fund the event. At the end of the second meeting held a few days later, the BIA had drafted a letter to be presented to Council by Shellee Evans, our community development officer. The Town Council was firmly behind this event and approved both the event and a budget to make it happen.

Committee in Council

The Committee in Council responsible for the event would be chaired by John Fenik, and co-chaired by Mary Colleen. Specific duties were assigned to committees established to handle various tasks. These committees are headed up by:

  1. Finance/Budget - Heather Hansgen and John Clement - BIA

  2. Volunteers/Entertainment - Erin Butterworth - Chamber of Commerce

  3. Site/Grounds Coordinator - Gord Walton and Karen Fox - Town staff

  4. Breakfast Coordination - Jaycees, Stephen Blair and Ed Chenard

  5. Hospitality Coordinator - Shellee Evans - town staff

  6. Communications and Promotion Coordinator - Judy Brown

  7. Security Coordination - John Gemmill

  8. CTV Liaison - Mary Colleen and Hugh Chatfield

  9. Scene Coordination - Brent McLaren (the Perth Town Crier), Clark Theobald, and David Jacklin.

Final Implementation

The Committee in Council chaired by John Fenik and Mary Colleen Chatfield ran like a well oiled machine. Thursday, the 21st of September started off with not a cloud in the sky. The entire site was prepared and ready for 6:30AM kickoff. The producer from CTV, Jenna Fyfe, would declare at the end of the broadcast that this was the very first broadcast where absolutely nothing went wrong. This was due to the collaboration of many groups who worked together quickly to make this broadcast "absolutely spectacular". As Jeff would proclaim in the broadcast - now all of Canada knows about Perth, Ontario.