A ‘living’ tribute to former mayor
It won’t have surround sound or a flat-screen television, but Newmarket’s downtown is getting a living room.
It is the town’s tribute to former mayor Tony Van Bynen who committed himself to meeting residents for a chat, coining the term “Mayor in the Square,” who often referred to Newmarket’s downtown core as the town’s “living room.”
The artist’s renderings show a concrete sofa, two chairs, a round table with a bronzed plaque and a coat rack with a bronzed black leather Beatlesstyle hat such as the one Van Bynen often wears.
Two bronzed cellphones and a joke book will also be included in the art installation.
All is to be installed in Riverwalk Commons near Water Street.
“It is the perfect place as Riverwalk (Commons) is the conversation and gathering place in town,” Van Bynen said.
“It is a unique approach to a tribute and I have to say I was quite surprised and honoured when they announced it.” The announcement was made during a sold-out tribute event at Old Town Hall on Botsford Street in Newmarket.
Councillors who served alongside Van Bynen; members of the business community, local organizations, and the general public attended to wish him all the best as he steps aside from politics.
David McLennan, Ian Proudfoot and Jackie Playter had kind words.
They noted Van Bynen’s 12 years as mayor and his many accomplishments, including the revitalization of Main Street, the creation of Riverwalk Commons and his support for arts and culture in the community.
A 10-minute play written by 10-minute play festival founder Michael Halfin debuted. Van Bynen said it was “out of this world.”
Retired Newmarket mayor Tony Van Bynen laughs with Steve Hinder, left, and ex-mayor Tom Taylor at his retirement party.