‘Happy tears’: Friday marks 1st payday for reopened Sydney call centre

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Spirits were high at the Sydney Call Centre on Friday for the first payday under new management.

Hundreds of people were laid off just weeks before Christmas after their former employer, ServiCom, went bankrupt.

The call centre reopened on Jan. 2, after being purchased by Iowa businessman Anthony Marlowe, who was in Sydney, N.S., Friday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

For Sandra Bonnar, who was celebrating her birthday Friday, the paycheque was a much-appreciated present. It’s the first pay she’s received since Nov. 10.

« When I opened my bank account this morning, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is really happening … we’re back,' » she said.

Bonnar said she was one of the lucky ones because her husband has full-time work. Over the past several weeks, she did what she could to help out some of her co-workers who are single moms.

There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday marking the first payday at the reopened call centre. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Donna MacDonald said it was an « unbelievable relief » to return to work.

« There was tears, but they were happy tears today, » she said.

If the experience taught MacDonald anything, it’s that she can count on her co-workers and community for support.

« Whether it’s just a talk, or a cup of coffee, or [you] need somebody’s shoulder to cry on, everybody was there for everybody, » she said.

Sydney Call Centre owner Anthony Marlowe said he planned to treat his new employees to drinks on Friday night. (Holly Conners/CBC)

Marlowe is impressed by his new employees.

« It’s very touching the loyalty that the workers have had to their work family, » he said. « I’ve seen nothing like it. »

Marlowe hopes to grow that family. He’s signed a nine-year lease on the building and has plans to expand from the current 480 employees to as many as 700 in the future.

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‘There’s nothing left’: Massive fire tears down Domaine Eastman – Montreal

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An iconic landmark in Quebec’s Eastern Townships is no longer standing after an early afternoon fire ripped through Domaine Eastman.

The fire broke out around 1 p.m. on Monday at the spa building. When firefighters arrived at the location, the blaze had spread from the roof to the rest of the structure.

“There’s nothing left,” said Daniel Lefebvre, chief of the Eastman Fire Department. “Everything is on the ground.”

READ MORE: Two cars set on fire in Greenfield Park, police investigating

A total of 40 firefighters — including employees from the surrounding municipalities of Magog, Austin and Waterloo — were brought in to put out the flames, but the building is considered to be a complete loss.

Employees inside the building were forced to leave the famous spa when the fire started, but fortunately no one was injured.

The cause of the fire remains unknown, but Lefebvre said he doesn’t believe it is a criminal act.

READ MORE: Four-alarm fire tears through residential building in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve

“It’s probably more of an electrical or equipment issue inside the rooms,” he said.

Domaine Eastman posted on its Facebook page that the most important part is that everyone is safe.

“For those who have reservations, we will get back to you as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding,” the spa wrote.

—With files from the Canadian Press

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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