Peter Politis

The Volunteer

Peter stands behind the mantra – If you want there to be a difference in your world, sometimes you have to become that difference.

From recreation, to community sports, to search and rescue, and to being awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal for volunteerism, Peter is a tireless volunteer for the community having committed literally thousands of hours to recreation alone in recent years to do his part in making his community a better place to live.  This page clearly demonstrates his ties and commitment to the community he lives in and passionately believes in.

Sometimes We Sail With the Wind and Sometimes Against it

But Sail We Must!

Peter was and continues to be a key proponent to the resurrection of the recreation program in Cochrane, Ontario 
In April of 2007, Peter and the rest of the Committee embarked upon a courageous and bold new direction that saw the Town’s fledgling recreation program grow from a deficit position to building a net worth of $70,000 in cash and assets in under two years ($50k is a 1% tax increase), while resurrecting the fabled Winter Festival back to its regional status.  The newly evolved and innovative program is responsible for millions of dollars of non tax levy recreation investments, leading to Cochrane having five times more recreation assets than any other asset group (including education, medical and environmental) .  In its first decade, the unique approach to leveraging festival revenues (as opposed to tax levy) to drive recreation saw over $1 million dollars of recreation and waterfront development take place off the tax levy.   
The local Regional Constellation Economic Impact Model that was used by community leaders across the region to identify economic impact specific to Cochrane, estimates that when all is said and told the recreation campaign generated a community value of:
  • $6 million in gross sales,

  • $1.5 million in value added economies,

  • $1.5 million in wages and Salaries.

Note: This assessment was done prior to the impressive waterfront developments mentioned above.

As a member of the previous Recreation Committee in 2008, and then the newly organized Recreation Board created in 2012, Peter committed countless hours to helping create a recreation renaissance in the community that now sees Cochrane as a regional leader in social and recreational development, from planning to implementation.  Bringing his background in management and planning, Peter assisted in effectively detailing the ambitious goals and budgets for each exercise.  Together they made a concerted effort to re-energize the volunteer work force in the community from a sporadic handful, to a committed and vibrant force of over one hundred.  The following are some of the initiatives Peter was involved with in the recreation renaissance:
  • The Cochrane Winter Carnival Task Force; where Peter was nominated by the Recreation Committee to seek out a group of key men and woman from the community who would to take on the challenge of resurrecting the fabled Winter Carnival.  He was elected Chair of the task force by the new group who immediately begun to develop a winning strategy together.  With an aggressive marketing campaign and a mantra of empowering the community to determine for itself what it wanted to do and take direct charge for of driving the outcome for themselves, Peter and the Task Force resurrected the once fabled event.  Together they embarked on building upon each successive success.  Setting a goal to be one of the biggest Carnivals in Northern Ontario the group again initiated an aggressive marketing campaign, empowered the community to take charge and get involved, and invested the new resources accumulating in the recreation program to create one of the most successful Winter Carnivals in recent memory.  With over an estimated 7,000 people taking part and 90 plus amazing activities such as, world class ice sculpting, pond hockey, the polar bear dip, the smash up car derby, numerous club events, an outdoor dance on the Lake and fireworks, the Carnival Task Force successfully turned the previously struggling event into the second largest Winter Carnival in all of Ontario in just two years, while maintaining its status as the provinces oldest.  Cochrane and it’s Winter Carnival were clearly back on the map. 
  • The Summer Fest Task Force;  As part of the Recreation Committee initiative to create a signature summer festival in Cochrane that would be similar to the Winter Carnival, Peter was nominated by the Committee to spearhead the project.  He again sought out key members of the community while inviting others who were interested to join.  The Summer Fest Task Force consisted of fourteen committed community members.  Elected as the Chair, Peter and the Task Force researched, planned and created the “Live Like A Northerner” Summer Fest, which debuted in 2010.  Again through aggressive marketing and renewed interest in the community taking charge of its own affairs, the Summer Fest was a smash hit that not only show cased our northern way of life, but the beauty and potential of our community, while also giving everyone a chance to unwind before another long winter.  With an estimated 4,000 people taking part, including an incredible 1,500 on the Peninsula for the evening Beach Party, people from around the Region enjoyed traditional northern amenities like a Pickerel fish fry and corn roast, southern BBQ competition, horse shoes, an ATV Mud Bog, a live concerts, and the only Dragon Boat Races north of New Liskeard.
The Live Like A Northerner Summer Fest is now a staple community and regional celebration that now is the largest funding contributer to community recreation in the community.
  • The World Under 17 Hockey Challenge Task Force;  after the Recreation Committee successfully won a bid for Cochrane to be one of the partner venues with Timmins to host the World Under 17 Hockey Challenge, Peter was elected to Chair the World Under 17 Task Force.  The committee of seven charted a course to organize three games of international hockey right here in Cochrane involving many challenges and requirements.  With teams from around the world like Team Russia, Team Ontario, Team Czech Republic, Team Western Canada, Team Pacific, and Team Finland, competing right here in Cochrane, the community was treated to a very unique and memorable experience.  While giving up over 80% of the gate receipts to Timmins as the fee, and thanks once again to the dedicated volunteer workforce, the Task Force still managed to put on a world class event and generate a very healthy profit.  Hockey Canada and Timmins both expressed accolades toward Cochrane for how organized and well managed the event was, citing their interest to have Cochrane involved again if there is ever another opportunity.
  • The Commando Park Committee; Peter along with five other concerned and enthusiastic members of the community are currently working together to plan, organize and drive the development of Commando Park into a recreational and pleasure park capable of supporting Cochrane’s major festivals and recreational activities.  The group is working together to assess ideas like a Pavilion hosting a Canteen, Washrooms and an Interpretive Center; a Water Park; creative landscaping; mirradors, lit walking trails, sitting areas; power supply; and a picturesque photography area.  They have had a $10 million development plan architected and are in the process of fundraising to complete the project.

    By 2018, the major components of the plan, including a scenic board walk, lock-stone walkways, the development of the regions newest and most impressive entertainment pavilions, world class outdoor stage, public recreational watercraft, and beach amenities have been completed.  Total investment supported by 90% funding and resources outside of the local tax levy.

Some other volunteer recreation initiatives Peter was involved with include:
  • Landing and participating in the organizing of the Dudley-Hewitt Cup Central Canadian  Junior A Hockey Championships;
  • Spearheaded the development of the region’s most advanced and breathtaking outdoor entertainment pavilion located right on Lake Commando, leveraging an 80% funded build.
  • Re-Organizing the Events Center Canteen and turning a town run $30,000 / year deficit into a volunteer run $6,000 / year profit for the Town, while providing an additional $15,000 profit for the community recreational volunteer groups;
  • Establishing an outdoor hockey rink within one month of starting the new mandate at no cost to the community satisfying a long outstanding unrealized opportunity under the previous recreation regime;
  • Built a permanent water slide at the Beach;
  • Established the only bike share program in the North where unwanted bicycles are donated by the OPP and refurbished, while being made available for free to the public to encourage activity;
  • Purchased water craft for public use at the beach to also encourage activity;
  • developing a trail network plan for walking and biking that will tie the lake in the center of the community to lakes outside of the community creating both a local amenity and a tourist attraction.
  • Between 2012 and 2018, Peter led a volunteer fundraising group who have driven funding drives responsible for over $1 million of investment into the community’s waterfront, which has led to and additional $1.8 million in government funding, along with $800,000 in municipal and community investment.   The investment has led to a massive modernization and development of the community’s waterfront.  He continues to lead this group on initiatives throughout leading to development with new money outside of the municipal tax levy.

Community Recreation

Community Sports

As a father of an eleven year career hockey player, Peter has dedicated countless hours in the local arena and in other regional arenas, with many other kids and parents both supporting and coaching hockey.  He dedicated every weekend in that eleven year span to his son’s interest in hockey, while also being a mentor and role model for the many other children who he’s coached. 
Peter believes hockey is a great medium for teaching children the values and attributes that will serve them well in their development.  As a coach, Peter would frequently go above and beyond what was required, dedicating extra time to providing his players opportunities at spending time together away from the rink learning about and enjoying our outdoor northern way of life by frequently organizing outdoor BBQ’s and excursions.  
Peter was instrumental in bringing the World Under 17 Junior Hockey Championship held in Cochrane in 2010.  He chaired the tournament which saw Junior A Hockey teams from around the world participate in this world class event.
Peter also was instrumental in bringing the Dudley Hewitt Cup Junior A Hockey Championships to Cochrane for the first time.  The tournament saw the 2019 Ontario and Central Canadian Junior A Hockey Champion crowned.
As a member of the Ontario Search and Rescue Volunteer Association, Peter has dedicated a great deal of time and resources to training and certification programs like, survival training, first aid, health assessment, search and rescue techniques, mapping and navigation.  True to his cultural values rooted in the ancient Greek practice of philotimo, on his own time and cost, he’s effectively prepared himself to be in a position to offer assistance to the Police and other families in need.  

Search & Rescue

Paid Volunteer Projects

Through his company and at a reduced rate 1/4 his normal rate, Peter coordinated the Cochrane Community Adjustment Committee who studied Cochrane’s current social and economic state and drafted a report of some thirty-nine recommendations for adjustment to Mayor and Council. The CAC believes that the report recommendations are thoroughly supported by research and position the community well for the challenges ahead. 
The Cochrane Community Adjustment Committee (CAC) was a committee started in partnership with the Ministry of Training Colleges & Universities (MTCU), the Cochrane & Area Community Development Corporation, and the Town Of Cochrane.  It commenced in November of 2008 and was mandated to evaluate Cochrane’s social and economic condition, while making recommendations on how to make any necessary adjustments to prepare the community for the future.  Fourteen members of key sectors in our community participated on the Committee and worked tirelessly on developing the tools our leadership, citizens, and service groups can use to not only help Cochrane survive the current challenges of the day, but to position Cochrane well for the challenges of the next century.
Peter has not slowed down since his early years into volunteering.  Amidst running a private consulting practice, several entrepreneurial centers, his political life, and maintaining his hobby ranch in the country, he continues to take an active role in community recreation, special events and economic development.   Acting as Chair of the Recreation Board he championed a plethora of community legacy projects, he also participates on several other community Boards and Committees. 

Volunteer Portfolio