Kingston, ON – Before there were tweets, texts, voicemails, phones, even microphones, if you wanted your message delivered, it came from the throat of the local town crier. It just so happens that Canada’s first Capital, Kingston, Ontario, is home to three-time world champion town crier, Chris Whyman. So it was only fitting that the 2018 Ontario Provincial Council of Machinists conference in Kingston be opened by a proclamation from the very best in the world.
For more than 34 years, Whyman has been the voice of everything Kingston. It doesn’t hurt that he is also the Manager of Visitor Services for Tourism Kingston. “I have voiced proclamations for the Queen and Prince Phillip, Dianna and Charles, local brides and grooms, local hockey games, even the 101st birthday of a local resident, it’s a very rewarding position within the community,” said Whyman with pride. Not bad for something he had to be talked into by a friend the night before his first competition.
So how did he come to be the opener for the 2018 OPCM in Kingston? “We wanted something to set us apart from other OPCM’s that I have attended in the past,” explained Ted McGrath, president of IAM Local Lodge 54, host of this year’s conference. “Normally we ask the president of the local labour council, or the mayor or local MP or MPP, but no one was available on the date in question. Then it dawned on me, why not someone who is Mr. Kingston, Chris Whyman was a no brainer and judging by the reaction of the delegates, he was a hit. He never disappoints.”