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'Sweet' Comox Valley remains home for Kim Cattrall

She sang with students, answered questions, and even revealed what it was like dating "a very attentive" Pierre Trudeau.
ACTOR KIM CATTRALL shares an upbeat moment with Comox Valley Walk of Achievement committee member Jackie Green during an assembly at G.P. Vanier Secondary School.

She sang with students, answered questions, and even revealed what it was like dating "a very attentive" Pierre Trudeau.For actress and producer Kim Cattrall, it was a homecoming.Wednesday morning, the Sex and the City star returned to G.P. Vanier as part of nearly a week-long celebration honouring the star, who will have a plaque dedicated to her as part of the Comox Valley Walk of Achievement ceremony Saturday afternoon.In front of a packed gym, Cattrall presented a bursary to Jean Paul Jesse Polito, a Grade 12 drama student, in her name."I thought it's time for me to give back at this time in my life and I've been so lucky and successful. Yes, I've worked hard, but I feel that ... it's really the moment for me to make a significant contribution to the next generation to Canadian artists," she noted in an interview following the event."I was very excited to see the students. Not having kids of my own, it's very important to me nurturing and mentoring young people, especially right now in British Columbia with the lack of funding for the arts. "I think it's really important to bring attention to and show support to young people who want to make a similar journey to what I have made, and without that funding, I don't think it would have been possible."Returning to the school that she attended for years, the Golden Globe Award-winning actress was presented with a 10-minute skit from the school's drama department highlighting her career in television, film and theatre."I really didn't expect anything," she said. "Usually, when I'm in mentoring situations, it's something on a much smaller scale. But the kids are so talented and imaginative and was really taken aback. "And some of things they were quoting, I was thinking, 'Hey, I kind of agree with that.' I like that I said that. Or, 'That was an embarrassing moment.' "In addition to the assembly, Cattrall had lunch with staff and toured the school's drama department."We didn't have a drama department at the time, so we did plays and had local community theatre people come in and help us and direct us. It was more done as a hobby as opposed to a course," she explained.Cattrall said at a very early age, the drive she had to pursue acting was something unusual, yet was strongly supported by the school."I think that was noted in the teachers and the students and I was treated with a lot of respect and care," she added.Reflecting upon the changes to both the school and her friends and peers from her graduating class, Cattrall noted her best memories were those formed with her friends."(Vanier) was a relatively a new school, and it was very exciting. There was all these facilities, some of it was still under construction and there was talk of a swimming pool, which seemed so incredibly exotic. It had an excitement of being new and different for the Comox Valley. But what I remember most are my friendships and a lot of support in school."Cattrall told students she continues to work in theatre productions in England, and is also working on films through her company, Fertile Ground Productions. Although she splits her time in New York and England, Cattrall said no matter where she is, the Comox Valley remains her home."When I get off the plane at CFB Comox I take a breath in and I call it sweet air," she noted. "There's a sweetness in the air that you just don't have in Vancouver. For me, it's just Vancouver Island, and I know I'm home."• • •Cattrall will be inducted onto the Comox Valley Walk of Achievement this Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Native Sons Hall or the nearby plaza at the Sid Williams Theatre, depending on the weather. The plaque will be unveiled at the Sid plaza following the ceremony.

Erin Haluschak

About the Author: Erin Haluschak

Erin Haluschak is a journalist with the Comox Valley Record since 2008. She is also the editor of Trio Magazine...
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