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NewsJames Naismith would have been proud!

James Naismith would have been proud!

by Noreen Young

   It was a perfect morning for the dedication of James Naismith’s new statue and many turned out for the unveiling of Almonte’s beloved son: the inventor of basketball. The statue depicts an older Dr. Naismith holding a basketball over two peach baskets, the original basketball baskets as introduced in the first games in 1891. The sculptor Eldon Tefft  said that he wanted to show him reflecting on his legacy.

   Hosted by CTV’s Leanne Cusack, the dedication ceremony offered words and reflections by dignitaries including our MP, Gordon O’Connor, Mississippi Mayor John Levi, Al Rae of the Naismith Basketball Foundation, and two Naismith grandsons, James and Stuart, who had journeyed from the USA to be at the dedication. James, who came the farthest from a town near Corpus Christi, Texas, said that having the same name as his grandfather was a wonderful key for him “It’s neat to have this name in this community. It certainly opens doors!”

Naismith grandsons Stuart and James Naismith, who are cousins, sit beside their famous relative.

Photo: copyright John T. Fowler   2011


The NaIsmith family and friends pose for a photo with the statue

Left to Right (front rown) Stuart Naismith, James Naismith, Beverly Naismith (Jame’s wife).

Left to Right (back row), Peggy Naismith (Stuart’s wife), Almonte lawyer Bill Chapman, Anne Naismith (Jim’s daughter), Mr. and Mrs. John Gosset and their child (John is the former head of the Naismith Foundation in Almonte and now works with the Cree Tribe).

Photo: copyright Merlyn Brown 2011


From a balcony overlooking the ceremony, Naismith’s puppet version (performed byStephen Brathwaite) contributed his comments – some of which were hilarious! The mini Naismith ended his appearance with the suggestion that he, Prince William and Kate Middleton register their team in the upcoming 3 on 3 basketball tournament on August 6th. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, in 2-D cardboard form, bowed their royal approval.

 James Naismith balcony puppet, created by Noreen Young comments on the proceedings. Puppeteer Stephen Brathwaite kept the crowd in stitches. 

Photo: copyright John T. Fowler 2011


Anne McRae, trustee of the Upper Canada District School Board poses with Naismith fans.

 Photo: copyright John T. Fowler 2011

After the ceremony and up the street, Sean Isaacs, of Alliance Coin & Banknote had an unveiling of his own: the presentation of the first-ever Mississippi Mills Trade Token. This James Naismith commemorative coin, worth $4.00, is negotiable at all participating merchants in Almonte. “The commemorative coin is a great collectible”, says Sean. “It has been in circulation since the 1950’s. It’s a very memorable way to celebrate community heros, events and festivals”.

Sean Isaacs presents the Naismith coin to Naismith’s grandson James Naismith.

Photo: copyright John T. Fowler 2011

   Sean’s coin includes a portrait of Naismith and the Mississippi Mills coat of arms. Mayor John Levi, who was the first to receive the handsome Naismith coin on behalf of Mississippi Mills Town Council, was delighted and plans to buy 20 more for his grandchildren.

Photo: copyright John T. Fowler 2011





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