Bracebridge’s Mary Lou Chuter is one of 22 people that have been awarded the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship.
It’s the second-highest award for civilians who have made a lasting impact on their communities, according to provincial officials. The award is normally handed out yearly, but the past two year’s ceremonies were postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The honourees from 2019 and 2020 were a part of a virtual ceremony Wednesday.
“I was very surprised,” Chuter tells the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom. “I thought other people were far more qualified and had done things more than I have.”
“(Chuter) has brought the gift of music to so many people in the various communities that she has called home,” a write-up from the province reads. “From her years leading large musical productions with the Clarkson Music Theatre, to volunteering in Bracebridge with the Rene Caisse Theatre, South Muskoka Memorial Hospital or Bracebridge United Church choir, Mary Lou has uplifted and inspired many others.”
At 84, Chuter says she is slowing down with her volunteer efforts but has no plans of stopping. She previously directed the church’s choir but recently stopped. Chuter says she hopes to continue playing with them once they return to the stage.
Chuter was one of the 11 honourees from 2019.
“The Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship recognizes exceptional long-term contributions to our province,” said Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. “We have learned throughout the COVID-19 pandemic that the most simple and obvious actions can be exceptional. The intention, kindness, and commitment to community demonstrated by the 2019 and 2020 medal recipients inspire me and so many fellow Ontarians. I am pleased to be able to thank them, on behalf of a grateful province, for their meaningful and vital service.”
This isn’t the first time Chuter has been honoured for her work in the community. In 2019, she was given the Bracebridge Good Citizenship Award. She was nominated for the award by the South Muskoka Memorial Hospital Auxiliary, Rene M. Caisse Memorial Theatre, Bracebridge Probus Club, and the Bracebridge United Church.