Local historian named Orangeville’s senior of the year

June 27, 2024   ·   0 Comments


Wayne Townsend has another feather in his cap.

The local historian and author added to his list of accolades during Orangeville council’s June 24 meeting when he was named Ontario’s Senior of the Year. The award is earned by an individual who has enriched the social, cultural, and civic life in the community.

Mayor Lisa Post said Townsend, a lifelong Orangeville resident, has contributed to the betterment of the town and Dufferin County. His community contributions have left a profound impact, she said.

Post said his long career at the Museum of Dufferin is “legendary” and he made the region’s history come alive for all the people who visited over the years. Before that, Townsend owned a restaurant that became a central gathering place in the municipality.

“Wayne’s dedication and passion have touched countless lives in Orangeville and the surrounding Dufferin County area,” Post said. “I can say without a doubt, if I have a question about the history of our community, Wayne is my first call.”

He won’t only provide the historical facts. Townsend will give the nuance and details that gives history a life resurrected.

His involvement in restoring historical buildings such as the Dufferin County offices is a testament to Townsend’s dedication and commitment to preservation.

“His role as a Fall Fair judge and his presence as an emcee at countless events have made him a cherished figured in the community,” Post said.

Sylvia Jones, the MPP for Dufferin-Caledon, also gave kudos to Townsend. She said people have noticed his contributions to the community and those contributions are appreciated.

“I know that many people when they finish their public service often take a break and just want to do their own thing,” Jones said. “And, Wayne, you have continued to give back.”

Townsend said the recognition is humbling.

“When Lisa told me about this honour tonight, I suggested to her that perhaps they should wait until I actually was a senior,” he said. “She quickly reminded me that perhaps I was actually over-qualified.”

He accepted the recognition on behalf of all Orangeville’s seniors.

“I know of many of our charities, churches, hospital, and social institutions could not exist without their hard work in many causes,” Townsend said. “Seniors are the unpaid backbone of Orangeville.”

He said he doesn’t like to focus on what he’s helped get done. Rather, he prefers to think ahead to all the causes and initiatives that need to be done.

“There’s still much to do for the homeless and for the LGBTQ2+ youth in our community,” he said. “There’s still many stories of Orangeville yet to be rediscovered and I want to bring them back to life.

“I still have to fulfill my life-long dream of becoming Orangeville’s first go-go boy.”

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