Victoria names council chambers after first mayor
Lloyd Clarke still involved in community events at age of 82
Lloyd Clarke sat in the Town of Victoria council chamber quiet and reserved late last month as some two-dozen people joined him.
The wind was howling outside, but that didn’t deter Clarke’s family, friends and many municipal leaders from coming along to celebrate a momentous event in his life.
With his wife by his side, it was formally announced the chamber, the same one he was sitting it, would be named in honour of the town’s first mayor.
One by one, current councillors, local MHA Sam Slade, church ministers and former council members stood up to congratulate him. He graciously nodded at each one.
The 82-year-old was part of a group that helped Victoria become an incorporated town in 1971. In September that same year, Clarke became mayor.
Coun. Kelly Loch said the idea of naming the chamber came a few months prior, and councillors were asked for suggestions.
“There was one person that came to light,” Loch said. “It was just so simple to say Mr. Lloyd Clarke.”
Mayor Barry Dooley added that with Clarke at the helm, Victoria took shape into the wonderful town it is today.
With all eyes on him, Clarke stood to speak about the recognition.
“The thing about being the first mayor and naming the chambers after (me), I want to thank you all,” he said.
He then proceeded to tell the crowd how the first meetings that took place for incorporating the town were held at someone’s house. And the council met at a chrome table with basic chairs.
“We never had those high back chairs when I was on council ,” Clarke joked.
He received a loud round of applause after his short speech, and he returned to his wife’s side in the front row.
Clarke was adamant that volunteers are the heart and soul of a community. The group that helped incorporate the town were all volunteers.
For the next four decades, Clarke would continue to volunteer for organizations and help with activities in the town. He would also keep up with town council.
“I noticed he was always interested in the town,” said Deputy Mayor Sharon Snooks, who was the town manager for over three decades.
While not volunteering with the local heritage society, Clarke has a few hobbies of his own. He enjoys old country music, and has a collection of vintage memorabilia from the past century.
In June of last year, Clarke volunteered with the Good Ol’ Carbonear Opry show, playing guitar and singing a few old tunes.
After the ceremony
When everyone finished congratulating Clarke, they moved into the main foyer of the town hall for the official unveiling of the name- plate. The small black rectangular plaque reads, “Lloyd Clarke Council Chambers; Victoria’s first mayor – 1971.”
After some photos and a snack, the current council invited Clarke back into the chamber to sit in the mayor’s chair.
Dooley removed his mayor’s Chain of Command, a medallion worn by the mayor for of ficial appearances, and placed it around Clarke’s neck. The rest of council joined him for a photo.
With the gavel in his hand for the first time, Clarke laughed and said, “We never had any of this in 1971.”
When it was all over, Clarke joined his family for snacks and refreshments, each one telling him how proud they were
And all councillors agreed that it was an honour to be able to follow in Clarke’s footsteps, and each one hopes to leave their own mark along the way.
The Town of Victoria’s first mayor, Lloyd Clarke (front row centre), sat in the mayor’s chair and wore the Chain of Office for the first time Jan. 25. Those on hand for a council photo were, front (l-r) — Deputy Mayor Sharon Snooks, Lloyd Clarke and Coun. Kelly Loch; back — Coun. Frankie Antle, Coun. Glenn Clarke, Mayor Barry Dooley and Coun. Aubrey Rose. Missing from photo is Coun. Jennifer Baker, who had to leave for another engagement.