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Community Advocate
Nominees for this award will have demonstrated through words and actions they have championed a cause or activity that has
improved Muskoka and/or the lives of its residents.
how watershed councils were some-
thing that was happening across
North America,” he recalls. “I was
struck by the fact that Muskoka had
never had a conservation authority.
We had no official way of protecting
Ken Black
the environment.”
Building on already existing pro-
As a former MPP and provincial
grams such as the district/Muskoka
cabinet minister, Ken Black is well
Lakes Association water-testing pro-
known in Muskoka. Born in 1932,
gram and the Muskoka Heritage
he graduated from the University of
Foundation’s stewardship programs,
Toronto in 1955 and became a
Black put together a proposal.
teacher at Bracebridge and Muskoka
“It was a little bit unique in that it
Lakes Secondary School in 1958. He
brought together elected people,
was promoted to principal, vice-
environmentalists, representatives of
principal and ultimately superin-
business, industry and tourism,
tendent with the Muskoka Board of
working in a co-operative rather
Education in 1980.
than confrontational way,” he says.
Black entered politics in 1987,
“We all recognized how essential the
serving as member of the Provincial
environment is to the economy.
Legislature for Muskoka-Georgian
Without the lakes and trees and
Bay for three years, including a one-
rivers there wouldn’t be a tourism
year stint as Minister of Tourism and
Recreation. After completing a
Black’s family roots go back three
Ken Black has long been a champion of Muskoka’s waterways. The Muskoka
report on the use of illegal drugs in
Watershed Council was Black’s brainchild.
generations; his father’s side settled
Ontario, he was appointed special
in the Vankoughnet area in the
advisor to the Premier, and took
development and tourism, but has Woodchester Villa Restoration 1870s, his mother’s north of Utter-
responsibility for the provincial anti-
also volunteered on many boards Committee, the Bracebridge Recre- son.
drug strategy.
and community organizations in ation Committee, Muskoka Algo- “I’ve lived here most of my life,”
“I’m really proud of the fact that
Muskoka. He has served with the nquin Health Care, and the Musko- he says. “I like the people, I like the
the people of Muskoka, at least once,
Muskoka Training Advisory Com- ka Heritage Foundation. climate, I like the natural scenic
trusted me to represent them at
mittee, and served either as president The Muskoka Watershed Council, beauty, the lakes, the wetlands; it’s
Queen’s Park, and I had some suc-
or chair of the Bracebridge Rotary founded in 2001, was Black’s brain- home for me. I feel I have a lot to be
cess there,” Black says.
Club, Muskoka Family and Chil- child. appreciative of and thankful for, and
Since then Black has worked as a
dren’s Services, the Bracebridge “I had done some writing for the so giving back what I can to Musko-
consultant in education, community
Minor Hockey Association, the local newspapers and talked about ka is important to me.”
Community Advocate Nominees
Carolyn Bray was a visionary leader strong, owing to Bray’s determination the North Simcoe Muskoka Local
loved by many and forgotten by no and connections in the community. Health Integration Network Board.
one. The former executive director of “Her heart led the way and she held A social activist, Bray wasn’t afraid to
YWCA Muskoka touched the lives of true to her values,” says YWCA shed light on the underbelly of
many individuals in a positive way. Muskoka president Virginia Hastings. Muskoka, revealing economic and
Her zest for life and energetic person- “When people are given the tools they social issues such as unemployment,
ality made her a positive, and vocal, need to live their lives with dignity, lack of affordable housing, child wel-
advocate and role model for women doing work they love, the result is fare, abuse and addiction. She chose to
and children in Muskoka. healthier, happier individuals and fam- tackle difficult issues like health pro-
Starting her career as a broadcast ilies, and these benefits last for genera- motion and economic development
journalist after graduating from Dal- tions.” with her boundless energy.
housie University, Bray was appointed During her career she worked in “Carolyn encouraged everyone to
as YWCA Muskoka’s executive direc- health promotion, community and remove blame and shame from the
tor in 2002. Under her stewardship, economic development in rural equation and start making plans,
Carolyn Bray
the Y expanded its presence in Musko- Ontario, serving as a provincial con- believing that your dreams are possi-
ka, taking programing to the next sultant promoting healthy communi- ble,” says the Y’s acting executive
(Dec. 11, 1962 to March 14, 2009)
level. Even in tough times, it remained ties, and as an appointed director of director Lynda Hutt.
10 The Muskoka Awards 2009
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