Board of Directors
PRESIDENT – ALEXANDER REFORD
Alexander Reford is the director of Les Jardins de Métis / Reford Gardens. He holds degrees in history from the University of Toronto and Oxford University and was awarded an honorary Ph.D from Bishop’s University in 2018. He held the position of Dean of College at St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto before leaving in 1995 to run Les Jardins de Métis (Reford Gardens). The great-grandson of Elsie Reford, creator of the Gardens, he was instrumental in creating the not for profit organization that purchased the Gardens from the Quebec government in 1995. Alexander Reford is a member of the board of directors of various local, provincial and national organizations committed to gardens, historic preservation and culture.
VICE-PRESIDENT – MICHELINE WILLIAMS
Micheline Villemaire-Williams was born Toronto, raised in Mississauga but has roots in the area. Her mother was born, raised and married in Price. They moved to Ontario, when the sawmill in Price burned down. The family returned yearly, to visit relatives, until they purchased a home on Leggatt’s Point in ‘71 for their retirement. In 2003, Micheline moved to Metis to care for her ailing mother and worked in the Wind Industry until 2016. She purchased the house from the estate in 2009. She comes to us with 6 year’s previous board experience from Oxford Child and Youth Centre in Woodstock, ON, (a Children’s Mental Health Centre). She was also their representative on the regional and provincial boards for Children’s Mental Health.
TREASURER – BRETT WILLIAMS
Brett Mitchell was born 1971 in Sydney, Australia, and he is proudly part-Australian Indigenous. He studied at Sydney University as a Mathematics and Computer Science teacher. He taught for 8 years at James Busby High in South-Western Sydney. Brett moved to Canada in 2001 after marrying a French Canadian from Matane with whom he now has 3 amazing children, 16, 14 and 10-years old. He has been working at Metis Beach School since 2001 and became principal in 2006. Brett has been involved with Heritage Lower Saint Lawrence since moving to Canada and became a board member in 2014.
SECRETARY – SANDI DE LA RONDE
Sandi de la Ronde was born and raised in Montreal. She came to Metis-sur-Mer in 1961, at which time she met her future husband, Erik Nowers. Sandi attended medical school at the University of Toronto and worked as an Obstetrician in Calgary, specializing in pregnancies in marginalized populations. Sandi also ran a Maternal Child clinic for Indigenous women at an Aboriginal Health Centre in Ottawa. When Sandi retired, they decided to make Metis their year-round residence. Sandi is president of the Regional Access Committee that advocates for improved access to English services in the CISSS. She was recently elected as a Director for the Board of the Quebec Community Group Network (QCGN).
ADMINISTRATOR – JOAN SULLIVAN
Joan Sullivan, documentary photographer, moved to the Lower Saint Lawrence in 2008, after having lived and worked in Africa for nearly two decades on the HIV epidemic. Her photographs of the energy transition have been exhibited in group and solo shows in Canada, Italy and the United Kingdom. She is co-owner of Ferme La Vallonneuse, an organic garlic farm in Saint-Valérien that has been selling garlic at the Rimouski farmers market since 2010. She is currently a student at the Université du Québec à Rimouski in a master’s seminar, the Study of Artistic Practice.
ADMINISTRATOR – JAMES DARLING
James Darling comes from western Canada, where at an early age, he was selected to participate as cellist in the Special Studies for Gifted Youth program at the prestigious Banff Centre. He has been a member of l’Orchestre symphonique de Québec. Since 2002, James Darling resides in Rimouski in Eastern Québec, where he is on the faculty of the Conservatoire de musique de Québec à Rimouski and teaches at the École de musique du Bas-Saint-Laurent. He is Artistic director of Concerts aux Îles du Bic and musical director of l’Orchestre des jeunes du Québec maritime, as well as wearing multiple hats as cellist with various ensembles in his region. An active father of four, he enjoys tennis, soccer and hiking with the family.
ADMINISTRATOR – TED SAVAGE
Ted Savage lives and works in Métis-sur-Mer where his family has a long history. Educated at McGill University and at advanced technical institutions in Switzerland, the USA and Québec, he has served on the National Council as a Director for the Coast Guard Auxiliary and presently commands volunteer marine Search & Rescue for Eastern Quebec. Ted devotes most of his energies to local emergency services as an Officer-Firefighter, EMT, Instructor, and Coast Guard rescue Commander. He can be counted on to help with almost any community project for the schools, music, sport or cultural efforts either locally or regionally. He is married to his wife Kirsten and they have a daughter Hailey who is based in New York City.