St. Catharines resident Peter Fenwick is thrilled to be representing Meridian Credit Union as one of the torchbearers this Saturday as the Roly McLenahan Canada Games torch makes its way from Queenston into Virgil.
“I didn’t even know it was on until I found out someone had nominated me,” says the operations representative for the credit union’s Motusbank online service. “I am pretty outgoing around the company, so I thought it would be a great thing to do, to represent the company. And I also love running, too.”
Fenwick confesses that he is a bit of a fairweather runner, not one to head out for his typical five kilometre stretch when it gets messy outside. But he enjoys the solitude that running brings.
“I run purely for fun,” Fenwick says. “I keep it casual, I’m not too intense. I just enjoy getting outside. At this point in my life I’m not in it for the competition.”
Most likely he scratches his competition itch through his other athletic involvement. Since his move to St. Catharines from his native Toronto just before the beginning of the pandemic, he has become involved in recreational volleyball and softball. He hopes to continue with volleyball this winter and maybe add dodgeball to his weekly agenda.
Fenwick has been working for Meridian since shortly after finishing school in Toronto. He began his career as a teller and worked his way up to his current position. When an opportunity to transfer to the St. Catharines head office on Corporate Park Drive came up just as he was looking to move out of his parent’s home, he jumped at it.
“The rent is so much more affordable down here,” says the downtown resident. “I had some friends who lived out this way. I would come down from time to time and it just seemed like a great place to live. I don’t miss the traffic at all, and St. Catharines downtown is about as much downtown as I need right now.”
In his first few months here he followed the lead of some of those friends and took a part-time job working at Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Pillitteri Estates Winery. There, he was able to discover how tight-knit the community can be, one of the aspects of Niagara living that he says he didn’t get in his much larger hometown.
For Fenwick, the fact that Meridian gives back to the community through sponsorship of events such as the summer games is an important factor for his workplace satisfaction.
“It’s a big part of the company,” he says. “They did the same thing when I was up in Toronto, sponsoring a lot of local events and concerts. There’s a lot of behind-the-scenes contributions they make too that a lot of people don’t know about.”
Fenwick recognizes that in banking, there are myriad options for his career, but he insists it would take a massive raise to draw him away from a company with the community values like those of his current employer.
“It’s always been one of the things that I have valued the most,” Fenwick explains. “Even in my day-to-day work I can see the community spirit and the priority they place on it. It’s nice to be a part of giving back.”
As of press time, Fenwick is scheduled to run the third part of the NOTL leg of the relay, picking the torch up from the corner of York Road and Sheppard Crescent. He plans to run his kilometre-long journey, then jump in his car to meet fellow Meridian employee Wade Stayzer on Four Mile Creek Road just beyond Line 3 to accompany him on the last stretch to the Meridian Credit Union Arena.
“I think a lot of Meridian people are going to walk with him for that last leg,” says Fenwick. “Some will watch my leg of the run, but I haven’t heard yet that any of them will be running with me.”
Fenwick will hand the torch to another Meridian employee, Jane Martin, who is responsible for her own leg of the relay. Martin is an Athletics Ontario official in track and field, has been involved in gymnastics and basketball and has volunteered with Special Olympics Ontario and the Invictus Games.
The musical theatre fan, who volunteers with her local community theatre groups, hopes to one day volunteer at the Olympic Games.
Martin passes the torch to Ken Seibel, another Meridian torchbearer. The certified financial planner has been with the credit union for just under four years. He will be running alongside his daughter Emily, a student council member at Westlane Secondary School in Niagara Falls.
For Fenwick’s part, he can’t wait to get out to the route Saturday to meet new people and to soak up the spirit of the Canada Summer Games.
“Prior to this, I didn’t know much about the Canada Games,” he tells The Local. “I’m starting to recognize the scale of the whole thing now. I’m pretty excited to get out to watch some of the sports as well.”
Why the Roly McLenahan Canada Games Torch? Roland McLenahan was a professional hockey player who spent much
of his career in the American Hockey League. His NHL career consisted of 60 games with the Detroit Red
Wings during the 1945-1946 season.
He went on to a successful coaching career with the Rochester Americans, winning the Calder Cup in 1958, before transitioning to scouting. McLenahan later served as New Brunswick’s first director of sports, working to promote and expand opportunities for youth in sport in that province from 1961 to 1981.
McLenahan was also an original member of the first Canada Games Council in the country’s centennial year, 1967. He was instrumental in the early years of the Canada Games and continued to be involved up to his death from lung cancer in 1984 at the age of 62. The following year, the Canada Games Torch was renamed the Roly McLenahan Torch in his honour, and he was inducted into the Canada Games Hall of Honour as a builder in 2009.