Salon Chez Hélène celebrates 40 years in business

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Kate Aley

Hélène Belisle, owner of Salon Chez Hélène in Luskville, summarizes her work career as “forty years of doing what I like.”

Born and raised in Luskville, Belisle trained and gained work experience in Hull before opening her own salon in her home in 1978. However, her experience in hairdressing dates back to her childhood.

“It was natural to me and that was what my plan was as a kid,” she explained. “When I was in primary school, I did my teachers’ hair. I lived down below in the village and the teachers were from out of town. They had to stay at the school and on the weekend, I went over. At the time, [womens] hairstyles were backcombed and pinned and sprayed and it stayed for the week. I was good at it; it was a very natural thing.  I never had to bust my brain to become something… I just became what was natural to me.”

Although Belisle considered a career in journalism, music or literature, deep inside she knew hairstyling would become her life’s work.

“I never had any doubt, never questioned, when I was looking - like everyone else - at what to do. All kinds of things occurred, but I never had a doubt about being a hairdresser. In my profession, it answers every other interest I that have. I could be a kind of journalist in the way I communicate with customers. I [am] transmitting the proper information, making sure [people know] what is good and what happens in our community and anywhere. That is communication, making sure that information travels.”

Belisle continues to update her education in hairstyling to serve her customers. “Extra training and retraining is necessary for me and it benefits my clients so I can offer new trends and techniques and new products,” she said. “It’s a demand that is constantly in evolution. Companies are much more aware of what customers want: more natural ingredients: less chemicals, and this is closer to my values as well.”

In addition to running a successful small business for four decades, Belisle’s personal dedication to the Luskville area is exemplary. She served as municipal councilor from 1987 to 1997 and as a school board trustee with the Commission scolaire des Portages-de-l'Outaouais from 1998 to 2014.

She has coordinated the breakfast club at Notre Dame-de-la-Joie for 20 years, only  two years less than the Club des petits déjeuners has existed in Quebec.

“I am the second-longest volunteer in the Outaouais region. Pas mal,” she admits, with admirable restraint.

In fact, Belisle initially became a volunteer with the Club in order to find her way through a serious life challenge.

“At the time, I had stopped my business for a year because of my health,” she explained.  “[Working for the Club] helped me get back from having cancer. It gave me back the desire to do something for others in a different way. Children are the best ingredient for someone to return to life and to be a positive influence. I received more than I gave; that what the Club represents to me.”

Belisle looks forward to the future of Salon Chez Hélène.

“I think, for as long as I have pleasure to do my job and I am a useful member of the community and I have my health, then that is it.”

Her life and work philosophy is simple and profound.

“It is important to be proud of what you do, how you live your life, [of what you] have become in life. You have to be proud. It makes you do things the right way.”

Her advice for those considering opening a small business in their home community is similarly uncomplicated.

“A good thing to do before you open a business is to work for others and learn the business from their experience,” she said. “Learn from the mistakes they have made. There [must be] the connection with the client and yourself. There has to be connection and confidence for your customer.

“Don’t give up! Look at the right place for the right things, find the information, do things right. It starts with the desire to make your business successful. Be original. There are all kinds of possibilities. Use your common sense.”

Belisle knows from experience that operating a business in a small community goes beyond merely making money. “You are part of peoples’ lives in a daily basis,” she stated. “They are soliciting for your support for community, [looking for support] for events and also information about how things work and operate: that’s part of your responsibility as well. If you have your community at heart and you are proud of being in this community, then it can be done in such a way that your contribution has more impact.”

“I am very proud of my achievement and I hope that other people feel encouraged to have a business in a small town,” Belisle said. “If more people knew about the small businesses that exist [here] and what kind and for how long, I think it could be encouraging. It could be an incentive to a new entrepreneur to know what exists and what is missing to make this community better.”

Salon Chez Hélène

Open Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

819 455 2310

1992 route 148, Luskville.

 

 

 

 

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Pontiac Community Gym hopes to open by end of year

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by: 

Kate Aley

Despite some setbacks and delays, work continues on the building on Clarendon Street that will house the Pontiac Community Gym. Coordinator Rachelle Dinelle gave Pontiac2020.ca an update.

Dedicated volunteer recognized with Governor General's medal

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by: 

Kate Aley

Luskville's Hélène Belisle (above) has been an extraordinary force for good in the Pontiac for decades. She has served as councilor for the Municipality of Pontiac, as a school board commissioner for the Commission scolaire des portages-de-l'Outaouais (CSPO), instigated and still facilitates the breakfast club at Notre Dame-de-la-Joie in Luskville, all while operating her own small business, Salon Chez Hélène. On September 11, Belisle was awarded the Sovereign's Medal for Volunteers, which recognizes exceptional volunteer achievements of Canadians through the office of the Governor General of Canada.

Lacing up for the 2018 Terry Fox Run

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by: 

Kate Aley

September brings many things, among them cooler weather, fall fairs and the Terry Fox Run.

Regional coordinater John Petty is once again chasing the elusive goal of having 200 participants at this years run on Sunday, September 16.

Petty, along with his late wife Betty and legendary friend Rick Valin, has been facilitating the run practically since there was one.

The story of a story teller: the Joan Finnigan musical

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by: 

Kate Aley

Joan Finnigan, daughter of Shawville's Frank Finnigan, poet and author of 28 books, died in 2007. Now her legendary stories of life in the Ottawa Valley are brought to life in I Come From the Valley, a new musical by Stone Fence Theatre.

The cast of I Come From the Valley: standing from left, Phil Goden, Luna Nordholdt, Nigel Epps and Jocelyn Smith. Fran Pinkerton, seated, plays Joan Finnigan. Photo courtesy Stone Fence Theatre.

Exhibit featuring close-up paintings of Gatineau Park

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In collaboration with painter Ruby Ewen, we have organised an exhibit featuring close-up paintings of Gatineau Park!

Visiting the exhibit is free and, if you buy a painting, 50% of the proceeds will go to our Cameron-Purenne fund for research with which we fund scientific research in or about the Park!

Come and see these beautiful paintings inspired by our Park!

Where? At the Gatineau Park Visitor Centre.
When? During the Visitor Centre opening hours.

Exposition de peintures présentant le parc de la Gatineau en gros plans

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En collaboration avec l'artiste Ruby Ewen, nous avons mis sur pied une exposition de peintures présentant le parc de la Gatineau en gros plans!

Visiter l'exposition est gratuit et si vous achetez une peinture, 50% des revenues iront à notre fonds Cameron-Purenne avec lequel nous finançons des projets de recherche scientifique dans le Parc ou à propos du Parc!

Venez voir ces belles peintures inspirées par notre parc!

Online Survey: Benefiting from Nature in the Pontiac

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Do you spend time outside enjoying nature?  If so, McGill University PhD student Dalal Hanna would love to hear from you in an anonymous online survey.  She is conducting a research project on the diverse ways people living in the regions of Bristol and Pontiac benefit from nature, and how they would ideally like to benefit from nature in the future. Dalal does this research because it generates information that can help society come up with improved ways to manage the diverse benefits we get from nature. The project seeks to improve knowledge and is purely academic.

The summarized and anonymous findings of the project will also be shared with your community in December 2018 at a gathering, and made available publicly online and to local land use planners.  

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