McCloskey’s adding daytime café and charting new ‘Arts and Entertainment’ path in 2019

The historic McCloskey Hotel, 22 Victoria Street, Chesterville. Zandbergen photo, Nation Valley News

Collaboration with ‘A Bunch of People’ organization

CHESTERVILLE — McCloskey’s will add a daytime café this April — among many other things brewing at the historic Chesterville venue in 2019.  

The upcoming initiatives mark no less than “a new path” for the 22 Victoria Street establishment,  one focused on Arts and Entertainment events in support of the community and charitable giving, according to a press release from the principals involved in this year’s renewal.  

Working with A Bunch of People, a new arts and events organization in SD&G, McCloskey Hotel manager Dan Riitano is putting into motion the dream of the McCloskey Project: a collective endeavour to foster, support, and promote music, art, and culture within the local and surrounding communities.  

The collaboration started in December 2018, with two nights of a four course dinner theatre and a Christmas show.  These series of events are part of the Troubadour Collective, which hosts all sorts of occasions that include food, drink, and wonderful live music, and days filled with drawing, painting, writing and enlightening discourse. The Troubadour Collective includes both public and invitation-only events.

“Our focus is on the community and 10 percent of all profits from A Bunch of People and the McCloskey Project for these events will be given to charities and families in need within SD&G,” said Riitano, while sitting in the hotel’s ornate and timelessly beautiful Salon.

The stunning mural on the Salon wall is one of Riitano’s own creations and clearly signifies his love of creativity.  “We want to provide a space where we promote Chesterville as an artist-friendly village and McCloskey’s as a place for local nonprofits and charities to hold their fundraising events,” added the manager, who’s also known to be as proficient in the kitchen as he is with a paint brush.

“If a local organization wants to put on a fundraising event, please come to us and we can help with paint nights, soirees with four course meals and / or entertainment,” Burger, of A Bunch of People, chimed in. “We also have this year’s line-up of differing events already scheduled and we have been working hard to make these exciting and eclectic.”

What are these plans?

Beer My Valentine

February 14th is the Beer My Valentine beer tasting dinner. Jay Killoran, a beer sommelier from Aleienated, and Riitano sat down last week, tasted the four beers and developed the four-course menu, with each course fashioned to complement the beer’s aroma and taste. This event will also have Killoran providing a Beer Tasting 101 as the participants savour each new beer. Cost for the night is only $45.

Writing in 150

March 16th will be the Writing in 150 writing competition that runs two and a half hours — with three age categories (10-14 yrs, 15-20 yrs, 21-plus years) and six writing genres (Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Short Play, Spoken Word/Slam Poetry and Song writing).  All written pieces will be done on the spot and must be written on a particular theme that is revealed only at the beginning of the competition.

This fast-paced and creative competition will be judged by quite the line-up of experienced local and non-local judges such as Murray Barkley, a well-known local historian; Alexandria Haber, a Montreal playwright whose work has been professionally produced throughout Canada, including at Winchester’s Old Town Hall in 2017, and a special local celebrity who will slowly be revealed through the video advertisements for this event.   

The event will start at 11 a.m., with judging beginning at 1:30 pm; the spoken word and song entrants will perform their pieces in front of the judges and this portion of the competition is open to the public. Winners will be presented in a locally published book which will include a CD of the winning spoken word/slam poetry and songs genres and it is only $20 to enter.

New café debuts in April

In April, a new café will open in the McCloskey’s dining room where locals will find cappuccino, lattés and regular coffee along with goodies of the traditional, gluten-free and vegan varieties. To make this even more exciting, local First Nations artist David Fadden from Cornwall Island will have a vernissage of his stunning paintings.


Fadden is well known for his many beautiful works of art that have been showcased all over North America. Signature works such as his stunning mosaic portraits have garnered so much attention. There is no fee to attend this event; it is for the love of art.

Sing it!

On May 18th, come join in the Sing it! event. Open to everyone, Sing It! consists of all attendees learning a three part harmony to a hit song, then performing it live and culminating in a YouTube video upload, all in only three (3) hours.   To participate only costs 5$ and again 10% of profits will go to the community.

More ideas are in the offing as the creative juices continue to flow.

See A Bunch of People’s website to register for the upcoming events and to learn more.

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