Book Launch at Victoria Hall

Newly elected Deputy Mayor Suzanne Séguin operates a publishing business with her husband Gerry Brown and Gerry has now written a book focusing on stories about the Cobourg boys who went to fight in World War I. These are stories of individuals told from the perspective of Arthur Gerson, a fictitious observer living at the time who was not eligible to fight himself. Inspired by the recently finished Armistice 18 project, Gerry has collected some human interest stories of these men. The book is called Memories from a Grey Wooden Box, Cobourg Stories from the Great War and it was launched today in the Lobby of Victoria Hall in front of the plaque dedicated to WWI soldiers from Cobourg who made the ultimate sacrifice. (I hadn’t noticed the plaque before – it was created in 1919).

Gerry Brown signing his book
Gerry Brown signing his book

Gerry has been interested in History since he was 8 and had a career as a History teacher.  Deeply interested in the War of 1812, this is his first story of the 20th Century. Covering the years from 1900 to 1929, the book includes many photos from the time and it should appeal to anyone interested in the History of Cobourg as its sons marched off to the Great War to defend the British Empire.

After covering costs, proceeds from the book will be donated to the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign – partly in recognition of the help they provided with stories. 

As Judith Goulin says:

Through the genius of Gerry Brown, we see with Arthur’s eyes his strange fascination with World War 1 and how he tries to make sense of it all: the battles, the mud, the barbed wire, the boys he knew who didn’t make it home and the ones who did that were never the same.

The second part of the book includes a list of almost 600 volunteers from Cobourg (and only Cobourg) and a special tribute to Gunner Henry Ivy from Cobourg.

The book sells for $15 (incl HST).  For more information contact Suzanne Séguin at 905-372-3984 or by email at

I guess because this was a commercial event, I saw no celebrities at the launch – although the Mayor etc. often go to Grand Openings.  I wonder how they decide which “commercial events” to support?  There were also no speeches.


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Wally Keeler

“After covering costs, proceeds from the book will be donated to the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign – partly in recognition of the help they provided with stories.”

Total non-profit. Not only has Gerry Brown volunteered hours at his own expense to acquire the many stories and photos, he has also composed a full book, proof read it, several times no doubt, and did all the other necessary things to make it a great product that benefits the community at large — he did it for free. He risked his money to print it with the hope that the printing costs only would be covered and all the rest go the Salvation Army. Very good altruistic act.

So tell me how Suzanne Séguin earns a commercial benefit that constitutes a conflict of interest?


Wally – more simply stated IMO the optics of a newly elected official and her husband, representing their company and selling/signing his book, in Victoria Hall aren’t good. I think this was a poorly conceived idea because it creates ambiguity and raises questions. This isn’t to suggest the cause isn’t worthy and the act is not kind…

I hope the freshly minted DM will exercise better judgement and more discretion in her future decisions. #commonsense

Wally Keeler

optics optics, These are shallow cosmetic concerns. How it looks. Check hair, fingernails, etc, tie not crooked, tie appropriate. No profit made. No conflict of interest. No concern.

Oh yes, I get it. Politicians of all stripes should steer clear of “ambiguity” and especially avoid “raising questions”. The horror.

Insofar as Suzanne’s “better judgement” is concerned I praise her damn good judgement in all things that she participated in to make the Armistice 100 the success it became. I think it quite rich that you would dump on Suzanne with her extensive municipal governance experience, and in that regard, perhaps, you should exercise you own better judgement.

Wally Keeler

Suzanne wrote: “We chose the lobby of Victoria Hall as the plaque listing the names of the young men who paid the ultimate sacrifice is there.”

This is optics, Rob; this is what you failed to see. The location of the book signing was carefully selected to enhance the ambiance around the book.. Now that is positive optics, compared to your negative optics.

I do hope very much that you will exercise better judgement concerning optics and more discretion in your future decisions regarding negative imputations.


Wally – On this issue we will have to agree to disagree. This isn’t hair and fingernails so give your head shake fella – intentional oversimplification of an issue, no problem as I’ve seen this from you before …. And in terms of my negative imputations I’m far from a negative contributor on this blog. In fact I said the cause was worthy and the act was kind however throwing some form of personal insult is often part of your MO – excuse me while I yawn #oldhat. All this said, I hope your holidays are merry and bright, I get the impression you may need it WK.

Wally Keeler

You asserted negative optics about the book launch. I happened to see full positive optics.

I hope your holidays are merry and bright,

A phony display of contrived positive optics.


Thank you for rephrasing and restating that we agree to disagree just in case it wasn’t clear enough when I said it…I like your way of saying it better.

Cheers WK!

Old Sailor


You are right. Good governance includes optics for sure. If someone does not have inherent good governance they should go to the library and find out what good governance in public office should entail.

Wally Keeler

“however throwing some form of personal insult is often part of your MO – excuse me while I yawn”

I made zero personal insult to you, Rob. Regarding Ms Seguin you suggested she “exercise better judgement and more discretion.” In return I replied to your negative comments and suggested that you should, “exercise you (sic) own better judgement”. Where is the “personal insult?” I am weary of your subtle attempts to smear my character by accusing me of personal insults towards you. Quite the reverse Rob, quite the reverse. Get with the Christmas spirit.


WK – I believed I ended our thread discussion in a positive and light hearted manner however you just can’t seem to get out of your own way. Agreeing to disagree simply isn’t enough I guess. No mas Wally. Lets find something less controversial to discuss…9/11 inside job??!!

Or better yet how about we go along our Merry (Christmas) way, drink some egg nog and watch It’s a Wonderful Life. 🙂


On this one Wally, I support your opinion 100%


Well, I saw the Mayor at Canadian Tire Saturday am manning the Sslvation Christmas Kettle and from there he was off to flip pancakes for a YMCA fundraiser. He was asked to attend the NHH Foundation Christmas Tree Fundrsiser at Spry Farms as well but simply couldn’t get there, too!

I’m sure, under the circumstances, he felt comfortable with Deputy Mayor Seguin wearing two hats – representing Town Council as well as contributing to Cobourg’s 100th Armistice celebrations.


Using the above photo as reference, I’d say she was wearing the Lighthouse Publishing hat, not the DM or Member of Town Council or Armistice 100 hats. Looks like she was manning the cash box while selling books.
Can anybody rent the lobby of Victoria Hall for their commercial endeavours? Did Lighthouse pay for that privilege or could she slide in as a perk of being the DM?


Hi Frenchy, As a matter of fact, yes anyone can rent the lobby of Victoria Hall for their commercial endeavour. Lighthouse Press paid the bill today to rent our little corner of the lobby for two hours. We chose the lobby of Victoria Hall as the plaque listing the names of the young men who paid the ultimate sacrifice is there. The total cost was $45.20 which is the normal cost for this rental. I would never ‘slide in this as a perk of being the DM’ because there are no perks, just long hours. We do not anticipate ever breaking even on this book as we did it to bring forward the story of Cobourg’s involvement in WWI and will be donating $500 to the Salvation Army Christmas Kettle Campaign because we feel that it is a very worthy cause for people in need.


Good questions Frenchy. As we all should know Perception=Reality in politics. The Mayor should have thought of this when off-to-China he went. Good response from Suzanne below.

Old Sailor

Holding the event for Mr. Brown at Victoria Hall and saying “For more information contact Suzanne Séguin”, Mr. Brown’s wife and now our Deputy Mayor, strikes me as a conflict of interest situation. The event could have been held at the Library or another neutral location.


No Cobourg Celebrities or political speeches? What a great event.