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Sudbury mining humour forged in charity calendar

Classic cartoons from local artist to be featured in fundraising effort to help people in need
mining calendar
David Leblanc, a stroke survivor, is working to put together a calendar featuring cartoons poking fun at mining by Sudbury artist Doug Bonish to help raise funds for charity.

The humorous side of mining in Sudbury is coming to the surface in a calendar, featuring the work of Sudbury artist Doug Bonish, which is being put together to help raise funds for charity.

David Leblanc, a local fitness instructor, who's working to get the calendar made and sold, said he's motivated by all the people that he's come to know after surviving a stroke years ago and undergoing therapy.

“I came to know people who had fallen through the cracks of the system, and this is a way, I hope, for me to give back and help out others,” he said. “I'm hoping once we get this calendar together and selling I can collect a portion of the proceeds and have it in a fund to help people with whatever they need.”

He explained he's been working with Rebecca Bowes, regional stroke coordinator at ICAN-Independence Centre and Network, a group that helps people with disabilities and elderly, to coordinate fundraising.

But the proceeds will be made available to anyone in need.

“Even if ICAN doesn't need something right away, there is the hospice, the food bank; there are so many things we can do with the cash,” he said.

As a stroke survivor himself, Leblanc said he wants to give back after going through the process of recovery.

Leblanc met Bonish decades ago when he worked in mining and came to know his cartoon work.

He thought that with Sudbury's strong mining heritage and Bonish's talent, the calendar would be a hit.

The calendar itself features one-panel cartoons lampooning various aspects of mining jobs and life underground, from the various jobs and positions to lunch breaks and safety hazards.

Leblanc has a prototype but said some of the panels would be changed due to the nature of some of the subjects.

“They may not be considered politically correct. I want to be sure it makes people laugh and think about those days,” he said. “Most miners love them. They love to make fun of themselves, and laughter is the music of the soul.”

The inspiration for a calendar came from working at the Lo-Ellen Christmas Craft Show last year.

Leblanc and a few others were selling items like honey, prints and T-shirts for charity, and a miner stopped by, looked at the prints and mentioned it would look good in a calendar. As well, Bonish wanted to do a calendar years ago.

After years of volunteering to fundraise, he wanted to do it in a different way.

This will be a cooperative effort, he said, with Bonish getting paid for his work, and local businesses doing the work on the calendar.

“The consumer will be helping us help other people, and everyone in the circle will benefit from the endeavour,” Leblanc said.

To get the calendar to the press, Leblanc is seeking donations and sponsorships, and he's selling spaces for each month in the calendar.

Because it's a fundraiser for stroke victims, Leblanc said they will have an advertisement on the back in English and French, outlining the signs of a stroke and numbers to call in case of an emergency.

The calendar is slated to be ready by August. If this goes well, Leblanc said they might put together another calendar of Bonish's work with a hunting and fishing theme.

To inquire, contact Leblanc at 705-522-7838, or