Family, friends, donors, organizers, and Town staff and councillors mingle at last Wednesday's opening event. DON RICKERS

In the works for nearly a year, “Mike’s Place @Ciolfi Corner” opens

The servery located on the second floor of the Meridian Community Centre (MCC) has received a facelift, and with it, a new name: Mike’s Place @ Ciolfi’s Corner.

Dedicated last Wednesday night to the memory of Town Councillor Mike Ciolfi, who died in April of 2020 at age 51, the servery now projects a sports bar vibe, a transformation in keeping with Ciolfi’s vision, according to organizers.

Pelham Town Council approved a short-term working group in November of 2020, pursuant to a motion put forward by Councillor Lisa Haun, who noted that Ciolfi was proud of the MCC, and spent a lot of time there attending events. Haun’s committee was charged with advising on changes to the second-floor snack bar area at the MCC, with the intent of dedicating the servery to the late councillor.

Councillor Mike Ciolfi. SUPPLIED PHOTO

Other committee members included Ward 1 Councillor Marianne Stewart, Pelham’s Director of Recreation, Vickie vanRavenswaay, Ciolfi’s wife, Michele, and Patricia Shannon, Chair of the Hospitality Committee.

In her remarks to the assembled throng of friends and benefactors last Wednesday, Haun noted that the theme of the servery was Ciolfi’s.

“Mike would talk about his desire to give the servery a sports-pub feel to make it more inviting, a space where people would want to stay and visit, and watch the kids play,” she said. “Mike started this ball rolling, and we are so pleased and honoured to see Mike’s vision through to completion. We’re thankful for the generosity from local small businesses, resident donations, and those that have provided their services and products. As the saying goes, it really does ‘take a village.’”

Gayle Baltjes Chataway, of Gayle Louise Interiors, designed the servery to the committee’s specifications.

Michele Ciolfi thanked those involved in making the tribute to her husband come to life, and expressed her appreciation to Haun and Stewart for their efforts in gaining the project’s approval by Town Council.

“Mike was not only dedicated to the Town of Pelham and its residents, he also had a passion for the success of the MCC,” Ciolfi said. “He would be humbled by this dedication. Your kindness and generosity has touched me beyond words. I cannot begin to express how much I appreciate the time and effort put into this project. Although we’ve experienced some hurdles along the way, I think we can honestly say it was worth it. Thank you to everyone from the bottom of my heart.”

Wednesday’s event was not without controversy, after Councillor Lisa Haun told council at its previous meeting that neither they nor the Mayor were invited to attend. It later emerged that senior Town staff were likewise excluded. Only after objections were raised by Councillor John Wink, and by Mayor Junkin on behalf of staff, did Haun relent. Invitations were extended to council and staff at the eleventh hour.

All of council was in attendance, as were the Mayor and CAO David Cribbs.

“The event itself went smoothly, and it was clear that the Ciolfi family was very grateful for the Town naming the upstairs servery after Mike,” Junkin told the Voice later. “I think the processes leading up to the event could have been improved on.”

Mike’s Place @ Ciolfi’s Corner is the second tribute to the late councillor at the MCC. In October of 2020, a memorial stone was placed outside the south entrance, a private initiative by friends of the Ciolfi family, honouring Mike Ciolfi’s service to the community.

With files from Dave Burket