Chris Purvis recalls ‘91 Junior Citizenship honour

Christopher Purvis and his family in Sudbury.

EDITOR’S NOTES: This year marks the 35th anniversary of the prestigious Junior Citizen of the Year awards. In coming weeks, this newspaper will be revisiting past Junior Citizens with a look at where they are today.

SUDBURY—Although he is now 35, Christopher Purvis still has vivid memories of that day 25 years ago when he pulled his best friend Dustin Woods from the clutches of a rain swollen stream near his Gore Bay home. It was Mr. Purvis’ heroic actions in saving his friend, and keeping his wits about him, that led to his nomination by our sister paper The Manitoulin Recorder and selection as a finalist of the Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Award in 1991.

His friend had attempted to jump the raging waters of the stream, but the leap proved to be too long and he slipped into the water. Mr. Purvis recalled that his friend managed to clutch the edge of a culvert as he was swept along.

“I did what I had to do,” said Mr. Purvis of his actions that day, but presence of mind he displayed and his quick actions speak volumes about the calibre of the 10-year-old young man who found himself standing in front of Ontario Lieutenant Governor Lincoln Alexander as one of the 12 1991 Ontario Junior Citizens of the Year.

“It was really something to be there,” he said, noting that the experience made a big impression on him.

Mr. Purvis is recalled by his fellow students as being a popular student while he was at Manitoulin Secondary School and, like many Islanders, he moved away for post-secondary schooling and work, residing for a time in North Bay, before seizing the opportunity to move closer to home.

Today, Mr. Purvis works for mining giant Vale at Garson Mine as a millwright and is married with two children of his own, both girls, Elyse age four and Charlotte age one. Mr. Purvis still maintains contact with his buddy Dustin Woods, who now lives in Val Caron.

The Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Awards are celebrating their 35th annual edition and are sponsored by the TD Bank Group and the Insurance Bureau of Canada, along with the Ontario Community Newspaper Association, of which this newspaper is a member.

The nomination deadline for the 2014 Ontario Junior Citizen of the Year Awards is November 30 and nomination forms are available at, by calling the OCNA at 905-639-8729, extension 221, or by contacting The Expositor at 705-368-2744.