LENNOX GAVAN (1992 Inductee)

Lennox Gavan was born June 2, 1911 in Chichester, Quebec (near Chapeau). He was the second youngest of 13 children born to Bridget Jennings and Martin Gavan. He married Marguerite Meilleur (sister of Fred Meilleur from the hotel in Chapeau), in 1946 and moved to Quyon, Quebec to start Gavan’s Hotel. It was there that they raised six children: Joan, Marie, Linda, Kerry, Danny and Gail. It was also there that the Gavans created a venue for live music of all kinds, but especially Country and Irish. Lennox’s love for live music was demonstrated in the way that he welcomed and encouraged musicians from all walks of life to come to his hotel to share their talent. With the strict Ontario liquor laws in the 1960’s, Gavan’s Hotel was the place to be on Saturday and Sunday to hear the music of Ottawa Valley Legends such as Mac Beattie, Ron McMunn, Ralph Carlson, Howard Hayes, Ward Allen, the CFRA Happy Wanderers, The Family Brown, Bob and Marie King, and hundreds of other musicians who filled the Shamrock Lounge with unforgettable music and memories. Because of this wonderful reputation of live music at Gavan’s, musicians from across Canada and around the world made the trip to Quyon when playing in the capital city. Liam Clancy of the famous Irish showband "The Clancy Brothers" came to Quyon for a day and stayed for a week simply because "it felt like home".

Lennox himself was a singer and story-teller who performed at many folk festivals in Quebec and Ontario so that he could share his knowledge of Traditional Irish Songs and the songs of the lumber Shanties. As many of these songs were never written down, Lennox and his brother Loy held a treasure of songs from this oral tradition that had been passed down to them. Lennox was also known for making sure that his beloved Irish culture was being preserved even in the province of French Quebec, every year without fail, by celebrating in a big way, St. Patrick’s Day. This event encouraged singers, fiddlers, step-dancers, and musicians of all kinds to "show their stuff" and be proud of it. The festivities often lasted an entire weekend.

Lennox sold Gavan’s Hotel in 1983 to Nick Matechcuk, who has kept the tradition of hiring live bands every weekend and the infamous St. Patrick’s Day party. Thanks to Nick and his will to keep Gavan’s Hotel going in this vane, it has now been serving patrons of the Ottawa Valley and travelling visitors from far and wide for, wait: 67 years! This has to be one of the longest running hotel/institutions in the Valley. Thank you Nick and family.

Lennox retired with his wife Marquerite in their home located behind the hotel. Lennox died on March 23, 1989, and Marquerite passed away on January 12, 2000.

"Thank you both for keeping the music and fun of the Ottawa Valley alive and May God hold you both in the palm of his hands".


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