President John Rolland and general manager Steve Pert surprised Kathleen McGregor with gifts for her dedication and hard work (left). McGregor (standing far right with former staff) has worked at the prestigious Kanawaki Golf Club for five decades, and now runs the Ritz at the club.
Fifty years is a long time and it’s also a huge accomplishment when a person has spent five decades working and doing what they love the most.
That’s exactly what Kathleen McGregor just celebrated last week at the Kanawaki Golf Club.
The club held a surprise celebration for McGregor for her 50 years of working at the golf course. “I was so surprised I couldn’t even talk, it was really nice. The people I work with are good people so it’s for that reason I come back,” she said.
The general manager of the club, Steve Pert, knew all year that there would be a celebration. “We surprised her. Our president John Rolland came and he and I presented her with a 50-inch, 4K TV, and flowers with a card signed by all the staff, who were there to congratulate her,” he said.
Pert also put up a celebratory note on the Kanawaki web page so club members would recognize her years and dedication to her job. McGregor said she has had club members come up and give her cards and congratulations over the past few days.
Although she spends most of her time working on a golf course, she doesn’t golf. “I tried it once and it didn’t work out. They told me to hit the ball hard, and I hit the ground, it was painful. I never did it again,’’ said McGregor.
Being at the golf club has been a family for her, both figuratively and literally.
“When I started here my sister-in-law Grace was hostess, my father-in-law, his brother, his three sons, and my kids when they got older – they both worked here, so it was like a second home,” she said.
Pert has been at the golf club for seven years. He said she is like a family member and huge part of the club. Pert said she also has a great wealth of knowledge, which he can rely on.
“She’s like a gatekeeper to the past and the future of this golf club.”
Over the years, McGregor has gotten to know everyone who comes to the golf club through the different jobs she has held.
“I started as a waitress, then a hostess, and then I went into the Ritz, (a restaurant at the nine and a half hole.)”
Community and club members aren’t the only people McGregor has come across at the golf club. She has also met her fair share of celebrities from rock stars, hockey players and politicians.
“I even met Pink Floyd, they came to play golf here years ago,” said McGregor.
Former prime minister Jean Chretien has been to the golf club on a few occasions.
“It was always a big secret thing but you know how things get out. There was always a lot of security, but he was a very nice person, though. He wasn’t on the job so he could be calm, cool and collected with everybody,” she said.
Bobby Orr, Frank and Peter Mahovlich and the late Jean Beliveau are just some of the hockey player names she remembers being there off the top of her head.
It’s Jean Beliveau that she remembers the most. He also seems to be her favourite. “When Jean Beliveau was here… that was it. He got up and shook my hand, when he did it seemed like his hand was my whole arm. I have a picture with him but I have so many pictures I can’t find it,” she said.
It’s the people she meets and the staff at the club that keep her coming back to work every season.
“It’s just like walking into Thanksgiving dinner, you meet so many people that you just get along with and deal with. I have no regrets,” said McGregor, who has no plans to retire anytime soon.