Bernie Pare retires after 30 years with City of Cornwall

Bernie Pare, an operator with Cornwall's Infrastructure and Municipal Works, celebrates his retirement on Tuesday, June 30, 2020 during a socially-distant celebration at the public works yard on Ontario Street. Pare held a number of positions within the department over his 30-year career. (Newswatch Group/Bill Kingston)

CORNWALL – From waterworks to concrete finishing to clearing sidewalks in the winter, Bernie Pare has held many positions in the City of Cornwall’s public works department over the last three decades.

The final page of his 30-year municipal career was written Tuesday as Pare was given well wishes by coworkers and management during a socially-distanced retirement celebration on Ontario Street.

“It’s feels good in a way,” the 61-year-old Pare told Cornwall Newswatch. “I feel that I’m due for it and I have so much stuff to do on my own and on my own time and enjoy the rest of my life.”

Pare started out in waterworks and sewers “but in winter I always came (back) to the sidewalk machines.” He also worked on outdoor swimming pools, concrete finishing, parks and roads. “Did all the department pretty well in public works.”

“I have some very good memories. It was enjoyable working here. We do a lot of work but I have a great time too,” Pare said.

While being a jack of all trades, Pare says he’s usually recognized outside of work for sidewalk snow clearing.

“I meet people somewhere and, even last week, (a woman) says ‘I know you, you do the sidewalk.’ Then one time I took a taxi to go somewhere to a party and then he said ‘Oh, I know you, you drive the sidewalk machine,’” Pare reflected.

Even with retirement, Pare says he’s going to miss work in some respects.

“I was anxious to go but at the end it makes you think. It’s going to be different. But I’ll get used to it. I’m the type of guy that’s got a lot of stuff to do so being that busy it’s going to help me (keep) going on…take some vacation…travelling a bit. We do a lot of biking, my wife and I.”

Bernie and his wife, Helene Hudon, have four children and four grandchildren.

He says it’s regrettable they have been losing time not being able to see the children and grandchildren during the pandemic. “Just can’t wait to get back to normal and be able to play with the grandchildren and do stuff with them.”

“I’d just like to thank the City of Cornwall for what they did for me. I’ve had some good times but now it’s time to move on to my last step of life there…the last semester,” Pare chuckled.