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Appointee Biographies

Grant Review Team - Northwestern - Ontario Trillium Foundation


Edward Cridland was born in Toronto, raised in Fort Frances. He worked for Canada Safeway in Fort Frances and Toronto from 16 to 23 years old, then returned to Fort Frances to join his father in his business, Gillons Insurance Brokers. It is there that he met his wife grace (nee Esselink), and together they became the majority shareholders, growing the business both organically and through strategic acquisition from 9 to over 100 employees and multiple locations throughout Northwestern Ontario. In 2015, after 30 plus years each we sold the company internally to the next generation of Gillons’ employees and retired/shifted gears. In 2005, his sister, Donna and brother-in-law, Jack Esselink, purchased property on the Lower Manitou and opened a tourist resort- Manitou Weather Station. They have grown it to become a multi experience remote tourism operation employing 3-5 staff. In 2015, he also purchased vacant property on Scott Street in Fort Frances- renovated it and opened a casual-fine dining restaurant- Flint House employing 20+ young people. In January 2020, along with three American partners we opened Cantilever Distillery and Hotel, in Ranier, Minnesota. A brand new modern eclectic property. Their passion for the north has allowed them both to offer volunteerism and financial support to various charities and activities. Their Cridland/Esselink Charitable Foundation will support opportunities moving forward for many years. With three daughters and five grandchildren, they lived their entire lives in the north and have been and will continue to be involved helping to improve the northern lifestyles.


Rita Boutette was raised in Windsor, Ontario and moved to Kenora some 40 years ago to raise her family. She has worked as an Administrator for a local church and worked at the local credit union in the financial planning department before she retired. She is a Chair of the Board of the Muse in Kenora (art center and museum) and Chair of the board of Canadian Mental Association, Kenora. She is a patient advisor for Lake of the Woods District Hospital and a member of the hospital board and the patient advisor for the All Nations Ontario Health Team proposed for our area. She has served on the inaugural Patient and Family Advisory Committee for the Ministry of Health in the past. She has a strong commitment to community involvement.


Gillian Lunny has been a registered nurse for over 20 years and recently completed her Master of Nursing. Gillian has been working in public health at the Northwestern Health Unit since 2004 First as a Public Health Nurse and now as a Manager and Chief Nursing Officer. She is an advocate for health equity, and she works in her region to better the health outcomes of the most vulnerable populations. Gillian is a mother of two, she loves to travel and to spend time on the lake.


Suzanne Sterling is a Partner with Culture and Adaptive Leadership Canada. She is an online Instructor with Florida Institute of Technology's Cross-Cultural Management Program. She is also the Owner/Sole Proprietor of Cultural Overtones - a consultancy specializing in cultural competency. Her community involvement has included the Pathways to Reconciliation Conference, National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation Canada. Ms. Sterling holds a Bachelor of Recreation Studies from the University of Manitoba, and a Master of Arts in Organizational Change from Hawaii Pacific University.


Filomena Gregorash knows customer service, with over 33 years in the telecommunication industry managing, home telephone, wireless, digital TV, internet and security monitoring products. Her experience is in developing policy, strategic planning and practicing transformational leadership. Where she managed a team of 60 unionized employees during her tenure at Tbaytel. Filomena is an active board member for a respite agency in Thunder Bay and a past committee member for Thunder Bay Regional Health Science Centre, her educational background is in Business Management and Social Work.


Trevor Fitzgerald is a partner and CFO at Gillons Insurance Brokers Ltd. Gillons is headquartered in Fort Frances, in Northwestern Ontario and has 11 offices and over 90 employees. Trevor is currently on the board of directors for Northwestern Community Development Services, which provides Employment Ontario programs and services for the Rainy River District. He was previously Vice-President of the board of directors for the district’s children’s aid society, Family and Children Services. Trevor is married with four children and has volunteered in many activities in the region including Meals on Wheels, The Canadian Bass Championship, United Way, school breakfast program, and various youth sports organizations.