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Profile 3 - Greg Tilson

.By Christine Hamelin with photography by Bernard Clark

Greg Tilson’s life changed forever when he arrived in Kingston in 2004. He discovered a captivating community with a lively arts scene, and he never looked back. Since then, he has devoted himself to strengthening and invigorating his community and celebrating its artists.

Greg and his older sister, Janet, grew up in a beautiful rural area north of Toronto, “where the Hockley Valley meets the Bruce Trail.” He was never very interested in school; in high school, he spent most of his time thinking about sports, especially basketball and volleyball. But the Tilsons’ home life was quite stimulating. “I grew up in a house of extremely divided party politics,” Greg explains. His father, David, was a lifelong politician at all levels, ranging from being a school board trustee to being the Conservative MP for Dufferin-Caledon from 2004 until 2019. In contrast, his mother, Ellen Clare, who died of cancer in 2004, “was this left-leaning liberal feminist. He was quite right-wing, so you can imagine what the conversations were like around the dinner table.”

Greg’s parents joked about their political differences, but “there were definitely debates, which was positive.” Greg remembers one period when his mother was the campaign manager for the Liberal MPP candidate; . . .


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