By Mike Anderson
The Town of Georgina officially opened Julia Munro Park on Friday, November 19.
The park, originally the Sutton Community Park, was renamed to honour the memory of Julia Munro, MPP for York-Simcoe, from 2007 to 2018, who passed away in June 2019.
Munro, a former history teacher, was the longest-serving female MPP in Ontario history, first elected in 1995 to represent the former riding of Durham-York.
Munro, affectionately referred to as “Lady Munro” at Queen’s Park because of her polite nature and non-partisan approach, served as Parliamentary Assistant to Premier Mike Harris, Deputy Opposition House Leader and Deputy House Speaker.
Town employees, dignitaries, family and friends braved a chilly afternoon to hear opening remarks from Mayor Margaret Quirk, Ward 4 Councillor Frank Sebo, MP Scot Davidson, and written remarks by MPP Caroline Mulroney, who was unable to attend.
“Julia was a trailblazer. Her warmth and dedication to public service touched so many lives in our community, as she worked tirelessly to represent the people of York-Simcoe,” read Mayor Quirk, on behalf of MPP Mulroney.
“She was an inspiration and a role model for many. Through this dedication, we will never forget Julia’s impact, and we’ll continue to honour her legacy.”
After the remarks, Mayor Quirk and John Munro, Julia’s husband of 54 years, unveiled the Julia Munro Park sign and participated in an official ribbon-cutting ceremony, joined by council, Town staff and MP Davidson.
John Munro was grateful to the Town for dedicating the park to his wife.
“I want to thank the Town for naming this park after Julia because she worked very hard, and diligently, and was polite to everybody she talked to, which isn’t always the political way. So hopefully, people will take a look at what she did and say, oh, I can do that too,” he said.
Ward 1 Councillor Mike Waddington, who put forward a motion to rename the park in Munro’s honour, also hopes it may inspire others.
“I’m thrilled that this park will be a fitting memory to the wonderful person Julia was. Having this park named in her honour will be a reminder to her family and friends of her character and introduce her legacy to future generations,” he said.
Genevieve Munro, John and Julia’s daughter, also expressed her appreciation.
“This park is a wonderful way to honour my mother’s memory,” she said.
“I think she would have loved it. She would be happy to know children can play here, and it’s a place that people can come and walk their dogs because she loved dogs.”
The 12-acre (5 hectares) park, which cost more than $2 million to build – 90 per cent paid by development charges – is located on Timberbank Square within the Lakeside Meadows subdivision in Sutton.
It features a playground, splash pad, a multi-use hard-court for basketball and winter skating, and adult outdoor fitness equipment.
There is also a walking trail, which connects the park to the Hodgson Trail.
To learn more, visit georgina.ca/JuliaMunroPark.
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