Six Collingwood volunteers have been recognized for their work to make the community a better place as their names have been added to the Order of Collingwood
For the first time since the start of 2020, the City of Collingwood hosted an official gathering for the annual Mayoral Waiver and Order of Collingwood presentations on Sunday, February 27.
Under the theme “Meeting the Challenges of the Pandemic”, the sea wall event focused on the volunteer efforts of this year’s Collingwood Order inductees and Companion of the Order.
This year’s recipients have spent decades championing the voice of citizens in municipal politics, opening up opportunities for youth sports and activities, serving behind the scenes to support and nurture their communities, and advocating for strong environmental protections for Collingwood’s watersheds.
This year’s winners were Su Cook, Tim Cook, Christine Macfarlane, Ivy Martin, Margaret Mooy and Norman Wingrove.
Also as part of the ceremony, Mayor Brian Saunderson delivered a 2022 speech, which is likely his last as mayor as the next levee will be hosted by the mayor-elect in October. Saunderson is not running municipally, but will run for the Ontario Progressive Conservatives in the provincial election.
Saunderson thanked the community for rising to the pandemic and coming out “stronger” despite the disruptions and tragedies.
He returned to his campaign platform of “common unity creating community” to encourage people to work together.
“There have been divisions over the past two years, social media has reached a new level, probably new lows,” he said. “We have to cultivate our community and we can only do that together.”
He reminded citizens of the planned update of the community strategic plan during the next term of council and encouraged people to participate in its formation.
“The community strategic plan is a critical part of the council’s action plan, and that strategy is co-created with you,” Saunderson said. “I invite you to make your voice heard.”
Saunderson and the six other Collingwood councilors – Yvonne Hamlin, Mariane McLeod, Deb Doherty, Kathy Jeffery, Bob Madigan and Steve Berman – presented plaques and pins to recipients of the Order of Collingwood.
Tim and Su Cook
Tim Cook received an Order of Collingwood alongside his mother, Su Cook, both for their own respective volunteer efforts.
The simultaneous presentation was fitting in Tim’s mind, as he credits his parents for instilling in him a strong work ethic and willingness to volunteer.
“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my parents,” Tim said. “They taught me, if you can help someone, do it.”
Su Cook said she believed the notice she received letting her know she was receiving an Order of Collingwood was a hoax and she could not understand why she was even named. Although she was grateful for the award.
Presenting Su and Tim with their awards, councilor Mariane McLeod said Su is known for “doing things quietly”.
The Order of Collingwood was awarded to Su for her volunteer work at Trinity United Church, where she regularly works behind the scenes preparing food and helping to organize and support events and outreach.
Su and her late husband Ted donated the use of their land on Leslie Drive to Cook Community Gardens. Su and Ted’s son, Tim, received his award for his volunteer work at the community garden as well as Trinity United Church.
Tim takes care of the audiovisual equipment for the church’s summer Bible camps and regularly helps in the kitchen. He helps the gardeners at the Cook Community Garden and is also a regular volunteer with the Collingwood Curling Club.
Christine Macfarlane has been part of the local volunteer community for over five decades, including with the Girl Guides Association for 25 years. She helped lead 19 Collingwood guides on a trip to Katano, Japan, Collingwood’s sister city.
She volunteered at Mountain View Elementary School on the parent council and to help with fundraising while her children attended school, and led ceramic painting classes for students.
Macfarlane was also the first woman to sit on the board of the Collingwood Youth Soccer Association.
And for the past 24 years, she has volunteered as a Senior Buyer and Merchant for the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital Gift Shop.
Macfarlane thanked her family for their patience as they dedicated so much time to volunteer projects.
She said the Collingwood Order was not needed, but appreciated.
“I get so much personal satisfaction from volunteering,” Macfarlane said.
Margaret Mooy is a regular volunteer for several councils and organizations that focus on civic issues and municipal politics. His volunteer efforts and activism have focused on supporting Collingwood Hospital, protecting the town’s heritage buildings, preserving Collingwood’s terminals and creating Collingwood’s four heritage walking tours.
Councilor Deb Doherty, while presenting Mooy with her Order of Collingwood, said the town is special “because of the people who give selflessly”.
“You are one of those people,” Doherty said.
Mooy said she was fortunate to have many mentors who helped her understand the importance of citizen participation in municipal politics and decision-making, as well as the value of heritage buildings.
“I learned that residents have a voice,” Mooy said. “This award recognizes many people who have worked alongside me…a single person cannot be successful without a community and a family.”
She ended her acceptance speech with a quote from Margaret Mead, who said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed individuals can change the world. In fact, it’s the only thing that has never changed.”
Ivy Martin had a career as a rhythmic gymnast with the Canadian National Gymnastics Team and was inspired by a coach who challenged her to find ways to provide sporting opportunities for others after her retirement from sport.
She ran a gymnastics program and volunteered at the YMCA as well as local schools teaching gymnastics. She also worked with a group to form the Collingwood Girls Hockey Association. The local women’s hockey program has grown to include 170 players, 65 staff volunteers, 25 player volunteers, three rep teams, six local league travel teams and a development program.
“I hope this recognition will highlight all of the Women’s Hockey Association volunteers,” Martin said as she accepted her award. “I want our community to continue to create space (not just in sports) for our young people that leads to opportunities and activities.”
Martin said her volunteer work can sometimes be taxing on her and her family due to the long hours.
“On tough days, I only have to go to the rink and see the passion of the players…to know that giving a little of yourself means a lot to someone else,” said Martin.
Norman Wingrove received a Companion of the Order of Collingwood, which is awarded to a person who has received an Order of Collingwood and who continues to volunteer to better the community.
Wingrove was awarded the Order of Collingwood in 2010. Since then he has continued to volunteer with the Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation and the Bruce Trail Club. He has volunteered time to advocate for environmental protection in Collingwood and to promote development that does not negatively harm the Collingwood watershed.
He regularly organizes events for volunteers to eliminate invasive Phragmites and often comes to council to offer recommendations on how to better protect Collingwood’s environment.
Wingrove said he is motivated to do the job he does because he can see so many people around him doing great work too.
“The Blue Mountain Watershed Trust is blessed with incredible volunteers,” Wingrove said. “They were my inspiration and I’m grateful to them.”
You can watch the Collingwood Order presentations and the mayor’s levee online here.