The City of Cold Lake will induct two new members to its Hall of Fame on January 13.
Tom Varughese (1950 – 2017), whose love of soccer inspired players, coaches, and children for years, will be inducted in the Builder category. Besides his passion for the sport, Varughese was a beloved educator.
René Richard (1895 – 1982) was a landscape artist who is recognized as a genuine Canadian master. He is most widely celebrated in Quebec, although he spent the first half of his career in Cold Lake.
Varughese came to Grand Centre in 1974. He had been introduced to soccer while studying in the UK, and was a standout on the University of Alberta Golden Bears team. Upon arriving in Grand Centre he began organizing and developing the sport locally, taking it to new levels.
As a player and as a coach, he led local teams to championships in different age groups. He was a founding member of the Kinosoo Strikers, a local side which won tournaments and provincial championships.
Varughese organized friendly matches against visiting RAF teams participating in fighter exercises at CFB Cold Lake. The locals held their own against the British, with a 5-3 win and a 3-3 come-from-behind draw.
In 1979, he was on the local indoor team that stunned top-level Edmonton squads in winning the prestigious NAIT tournament.
René Richard moved to Cold Lake in 1911, at the age of 14. Originally from Switzerland, he was enchanted by the Canadian wilderness. He travelled extensively throughout western and northern Canada as a trapper, along with his two cousins Charlie and Dick Demeyriez.
While in the bush, he would busy himself with sketching and drawing. He went to Paris to study at two prestigious art schools, but returned to Cold Lake and resumed his trapping life. He continued to draw and paint.
He finally settled in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, and gained a reputation as n important artist and something of a folk hero. He was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1974.
The Cold Lake Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be at the Lakeland Inn on January 13, 2024. Tickets are available through the City of Cold Lake.