Bracebridge council honoured long-time former Mayor Graydon Smith and Councillor Mark Quemby Wednesday for their years of service.
Smith was first elected in 2006 as a district councillor and four years later was elected as mayor. He held that position until 2022 when he won a seat at Queen’s Park representing Parry Sound-Muskoka as its MPP.
Quemby represented Bracebridge’s Monck/Muskoka Ward for 12 years. He was unsuccessful in winning a fourth term in the municipal election in Oct. 2022
Both received certificates of appreciation from Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Scott Aitchison and the Town of Bracebridge.
“The great thing I value about Mark’s friendship is we can differ on opinions and different things, but at the end of the day it was always ‘yup, all done here, let’s look at the next item on the agenda,” said Maloney. He credited Quemby for having a “deep-hearted, deep-rooted interest” is bettering the community.
Maloney credited Quemby with helping to spearhead the Muskoka Lumber Community Centre (MLCC) project. “Mark came to a meeting, chaired by Graydon, to talk about the need for a new arena in the community,” explained Maloney. At the time, he was a community appointee to the Culture and Recreation Committee.
“When you finish your term on council you don’t usually get a chance to come back and thank everyone,” joked Quemby.
He thanked staff for “knowing answers before being asked,” the community, and his council colleagues, past and present.
He mentioned the aforementioned MLCC project, the creation of the Fire and Ice Festival, Bracebridge Transit and Mobility, and the revitalization of Annie Williams Memorial Park as a few of the projects that were done during his 12 years on council.
“We were looking for commercial growth in our first two terms and dealing with rapid growth in our final term,” he said.
Maloney says from “day one” Smith has been a respected politician locally. He added that his 12 years serving as deputy mayor to Smith were a “highlight.”
“Not just Bracebridge, not Muskoka, but as we’re now finding out the province has benefited from his meeting with the clerk back in 2006 and starting his political career,” said Maloney.
Maloney says the town benefited from Smith’s leadership during the flooding crisis in 2019. He credits Smith with helping to bring the community together during his nearly decade-and-a-half with the town.
Smith’s thank yous started with his wife, Melissa, who joined him for Wednesday’s meeting. “She’s the partner in my life that makes it worth living,” he said.
Smith spent much of his speech thanking staff and his fellow councillors, past and present. “There were a lot of people I had a lot of conversations with,” he said. Notably, he thanked Lori McDonald, director of corporate services/clerk, who Smith said he has a close relationship with to this day. He said he affectionately called her “clerky”
Smith said he appreciates the hard work the many staff members he’s worked with over the years have put in.
“I’m not going to say I left (Bracebridge) better than I found it because it was pretty damn great when I found it,” said Smith. “Thank you to the people of Bracebridge, thank you to the staff, thank you to council, and thank you to my family.”
Maloney said former Coun. Chris Wilson and Coun. Steve Clement will receive similar honours at a later date.