In another example of the community catching up after COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, Champlain Township has presented the 2021 Senior of the Year Award in 2022. 

At the August 11 council meeting, Alice MacLaurin of Vankleek Hill was formally presented with the 2021 Senior of the Year Award. 

MacLaurin grew up and attended school in Vankleek Hill, and then lived in Ottawa for more than 40 years. She returned to Vankleek Hill in 2015 and has since become involved with a variety of community and religious organizations. 

Since 2017, she has been involved with Meals on Wheels, served as Chair of the Fundraising Committee at St. John’s Anglican Church, and as Vice President of the Anglican Church Women (ACW) at St. John’s. MacLaurin is also a member of the Higginson Tower Committee. 

In 2019, MacLaurin was one of the founding members of Friends of the Champlain Township Public Library. In 2020, she became a director of the Vankleek Hill Historical Society, which operates the Vankleek Hill Museum. MacLaurin is also a member of the museum’s Acquisition Committee which determines if items should be added to the museum collection. 

“Madame McLaurin, congratulations and thank you for your devotion to our community,” said Mayor Normand Riopel as he presented her with the award. 

Rather than making a speech, MacLaurin expressed her thanks and gratitude for the award. 

Champlain Township has also recently honoured the recipients of its 2020 and 2022 Senior of the Year awards. The 2020 Senior of the Year is former Champlain Township Mayor Gary Barton. In addition to his 46-year career in municipal politics which began and 1972 and ended in 2018, Barton is a former minor hockey and soccer coach, a past president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce, a past president of the Vankleek Hill Curling Club and a past president of the Vankleek Hill Recreation Association. He is a Board member of the Vankleek Hill Historical Society and the Higginson Tower Committee where he was very much involved with the two-year restoration of the tower. Barton was also the Chair of the 2011 International Plowing Match hosted in Prescott and Russell. As President of the Van Kleek Senior Citizens Manor, Barton is currently overseeing the 30-unit expansion project of the Manor.

Michelle Landriault is the the 2022 Champlain Township Senior of the Year. Landriault was one of the founding members of the Vankleek Hill May Show and is an Associate Director of the Vankleek Hill Agricultural Society.

Landriault was a member of the Vankleek Hill Bicentennial Committee which organized many activities for the double celebration of the 100th and 200th anniversary of the town. She also helped create the 1997 Vankleek Hill Calendar, which was filled with local historic images. Landriault became the first President of the Vankleek Hill & District Historical Society and later became its Treasurer for more than 20 years. Since the restoration of the Vankleek Hill Museum in 2009, Landriault has overseen the day-to-day management of the museum, developed exhibits, and is currently Co-chair of the museum’s Collections Committee.

In addition to being involved in various committees, Landriault has been involved in projects such as the Christmas Home Tour, content and design of the “Vankleek Hill Boys 1916” and coordinating the transportation of Syrian refugees locally for Opportunity Knocks. Landriault created the Vintage Vankleek Hill Facebook page and is currently President of the Champlain Library Board.