by Morri Mostow


Knowlton Pub Changes Hands

Well-known local businessman Gerry Wood has sold the Knowlton Pub, which he built 26 years ago and developed into Knowlton’s favourite watering hole. “After so many years, giving up the Pub was a very emotional decision, but I felt it was time to turn it over to people with the energy and enthusiasm to keep the place hopping,” said Wood. The new owners — all four of them — are determined to do just that when they officially take over on October 1.

“Things are going so well that we don’t plan to make any major changes, just improve on what’s here,” explained Randy Wolak, one of the new owners, who recently sold his PetroCanada station in Toronto for a less hectic life in Knowlton. He is joined in this new venture by his sister-in-law Evelyne Rivard, who is moving to Knowlton with her husband as soon as their Pointe Claire home is sold; Linda Bremner, a friend and Pub patron who retired to Knowlton with her husband 10 years ago “but had a change of plans”; and Christine Mather, who has worked at the Pub since inception in different capacities, most recently as its office administrator. In addition to Mather, all of the owners have hospitality experience: Bremner and her husband once owned a poolroom and bar in Ville Lasalle, Rivard has worked in the food industry, and Wolak ran a food concession with his service station. All four will be working partners, so patrons will find at least one of them in the Pub at all times.

Everyone is invited to the farewell bash for Gerry Wood on Saturday, September 29. The food, music and decorations will be provided by Virgo Catering, which will continue its close association with the Knowlton Pub, including catering the popular Sunday brunch and Monday evening pasta bar and buffet. Pub patrons can look forward to another party in late October or early November, when the new owners hold their official opening.

Gerry Wood may have sold his beloved Pub but he certainly is not retiring. He retains ownership of the adjoining Knowlton Theatre and the strip mall facing the Pub, as well as his interest in Virgo Catering. He also plans to become more involved in Woodward Enterprises (the London-based company owned by his daughter Deborah and son-in-law David Ward), which owns the UK rights to the liquor-control system used in the Knowlton Pub. In October, Wood will head to Ireland to help install a system in a 2,000-seat sports pub.

The Knowlton Pub is at 267 Knowlton Road in downtown Knowlton. Telephone (450) 242-6862.


Coffee aficionados can now indulge their craving for an upscale brew at Virgo Catering, which just began offering a wide selection of specialty beans and ground coffee from Montreal importer Café Napoléon.

“We chose Café Napoléon because of the high quality of their coffee, which they roast on their premises,” said Virgo Romano, co-owner of Virgo Catering, whose brightly coloured shop offers a feast of locally produced delicacies like duck, wild boar, venison and maple products.

All the coffee is attractively displayed in a large wall rack equipped with coffee grinder. Shoppers can choose from nine different blends and roasts of beans ($9.50/lb.), each bearing an historically inspired name: Café Bonaparte for a medium roast, Café Guisseppe Garibaldi for an Italian espresso, and Café Charles II for a moka-java, regular-roast blend, and so on.

The Café Mozart line ($4.50/half-pound bag) offers pre-ground blends of flavoured coffee — chocolate/raspberry, vanilla/hazelnut — plus a breakfast, medium-body and Columbian blend. The Fair Trade line ($8.25/ half-pound bag) is certified organic coffee, marketed by small coffee growers at fair prices.

Virgo Catering is at 2558 Knowlton Road in downtown Knowlton. Telephone (450) 243-0834.


Five years of hard work have paid off for the historic Lakeview Inn in Knowlton. The Canadian and American Automobile Associations (CAA-AAA) have just awarded the Inn’s elegant 56-seat Sheffield’s dining room a coveted four diamonds, propelling it into the ranks of a very select group representing just 4% of the 12,400 restaurants rated each year.

A Four Diamond Award® attests to superior personal service, first-class amenities and impressive surroundings. This rating, which will appear in the Lakeview’s restaurant listing in the 2002 Quebec TourBook guide, is extremely important for business, since an establishment’s diamond rating is often the deciding factor when CAA-AAA members (now numbering over 43 million) choose a restaurant.

This new dining designation is yet another feather in the cap of owner Ronald Blair, who bought the derelict hotel in 1986, spent millions restoring it to its former Victorian glory, and has succeeded in turning it into one of the province’s top inns. Last year, during its 125th anniversary, the Lakeview won the prestigious Quebec Tourism Grand Prix Award for lodging, in the six-to-49 room category. This year and last, the Lakeview won a Four Star rating for lodging from Hébergement Québec, and was the cover story in the July 2001 issue of North American Country Inns.

The Auberge Lakeview Inn is at 50 Victoria in Knowlton. Telephone (450) 243-6183 or 1-800-661-6183.


Anyone who has seen inventor Winston MacKelvie whizzing around Brome County in his silver BMW Z3 Roadster might rightly conclude that he has hit the big time.

MacKelvie, well known around Knowlton for his participation in theatre, darts and Karaoke at Cedric’s Pub, has just struck the kind of deal that all struggling inventors dream about. A Canadian industrialist has just made MacKelvie a generous offer to purchase three of his patents, for a specific application.

The patents cover three related technologies invented by MacKelvie – a process, a tool and a method of making the tool. Together, they enable almost any surface to be roughened for vastly improved bonding.

“Think of it as a way of ‘Velcro™’izing’ a surface, leaving it with a forest of small hooks to which an adhesive or other moldable materials will firmly attach. This allows for a much stronger assembly of parts, whether for an aircraft or a shoe,” explained MacKelvie.

This deal is a stroke of good fortune for MacKelvie, who has been developing inventions full time in his pyramidal workshop in Knowlton for over 15 years. He has more than 20 inventions, many with issued patents for both Canada and the U.S. “Your first patent is really what defines you as an inventor,” says Winston, 60, who has been inventing things since launching rockets as a teenager.

Buoyed by his recent success, MacKelvie is actively seeking lucrative deals for his other inventions.

For a look at MacKelvie’s inventions, check out his web site at


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