A ‘liv­ing’ trib­ute to for­mer mayor

Toronto Star - - GREATER TORONTO - TERESA LATCH­FORD YORKREGION.COM

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.”

SUSIE KOCKERSCHEIDT METROLAND

Re­tired New­mar­ket mayor Tony Van By­nen laughs with Steve Hin­der, left, and ex-mayor Tom Taylor at his re­tire­ment party.

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