Ray Bechard

Ray's main creative focus as a youth was music ... never really giving any thought to art. Starting with the accordion at 5 years old, next the guitar was added as a teenager, and eventually the piano, harmonicas, and various flutes. His love of music continues.

After a busy business life, semi-retirement provided opportunity for other creative pursuits.

In the spring of 2005, he had an interest in carving a totem pole. Research of the Haida people of the west coast of Canada helped to acquire a deeper understanding of the history of totem pole carving. In the summer of 2005, he designed the characters, purchased a set of wood carving chisels, and created an 8-1/2 foot (360 degrees) cedar totem pole with four characters. A couple of other pole carvings have been added, and another totem pole is in the plans as well.

Summer 2006 ... he took a step in another direction with sailing lessons on a one man Laser sailboat, and purchased his first boat. In the Fall 2010, a more family-friendly Wayfarer was added.

Summer 2008 ... the decision to become a sketch artist, working with pencil and sketch pad, drawing anything and everything. The challenge of drawing his children and grandchildren motivated him to work on portrait techniques.

The pencil sketching has now evolved to include color pencils as well and resulted in portraits of past Canadian Prime Ministers, entertainers, religious leaders, royalty, models, sports stars, and of course ... more sketches of his children and grandchildren.

Ray's volunteer community efforts focused on youth for many years. In 1982, he introduced the Hugh O'Brian Youth Foundation Leadership Seminars to Ontario. This program was designed to seek out, recognize and reward leadership potential in Grade 10 Secondary School students. The weekend program continues to this day with more than 16,000 students have participated in the weekend and one day programs since 1982.

Also, Ray has been a member of the Knights of Columbus since 1972, and has been very active in the expansion of this family fraternal service organization in Ontario.

He lives in Mississauga with Heather, his wife of more than 41 years.

Contact: ray_bechard@rogers.com