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'Pickering honours outstanding citizens'

Date June 1, 2011 Author Jason Smith Categories RCO in the News

Jack McGinnis posthumously receives 2010 special citation awards

It was a standing ovation at the 2010 Civic Awards Monday for a man who sparked great environmental change across North America.

The late Jack McGinnis was honoured for his lifelong work in various environmental issues in Pickering, many of which reached across the continent. Mayor Dave Ryan handed out the civic awards in the City's bicentennial year on May 30 to acknowledge people, groups and businesses that have contributed greatly to Pickering.

Mr. McGinnis's wife Barb McGinnis and children accepted the special citation award on his behalf; he died of cancer at age 64 in January.

"He was an amazing person," said his tearful daughter, Shannon McGinnis, after the ceremony.

Mr. McGinnis founded Durham Sustain Ability and before that, started the fist multi-material curbside recycling program in 1974, and went on to establish the Recycling Council of Ontario. He led the design and development of Blue Box recycling, which is now used weekly by more than 70 million people across North America.

"It was a happy moment for all of us," Ms. McGinnis said of the standing ovation for her late husband.

Jason McGinnis said his father had high hopes for Pickering's journey to sustainability.

Other award categories included individual volunteer, youth leadership, economic development and amateur sports.

Brother and sister Jeremy Stott, 15, and Courtney Stott, 19, began rowing at the same time and the two champions both received amateur athlete awards.

"I'm glad we're getting it together," said Courtney, a sprint kayaker and University of Ottawa student. "That's pretty cool."

The two took home 10 medals combined from the Canadian Sprint Canoe-Kayak Championships in Regina last year. Courtney hopes to make the Canadian National Team, and Jeremy is focusing on the Junior Canoe Sprint World Championships that will be held in 2013.

Jeremy, a Saint Mary Catholic Secondary School student, said their father has been rowing for nearly 40 years and the siblings began rowing when Courtney was 12 and Jeremy was nine.

New this year was the heritage award, going to John Edmonds and John Sabean. Both sported period costumes at the awards ceremony, and in a gathering for the winners beforehand, Mr. Sabean gave a short history on the two men his 1830s costume represented: Ebenezer Birrell, an amateur artist, farmer and superintendent of schools, and Charles Fothergill, an artist and naturalist.

"They're two of my favourite characters in Pickering," he said.

This enthusiasm got him the award, along with his founding of the Pickering Township Historical Society, of which he's currently president, and chairing Heritage Pickering for many years. He also played a big role in revitalizing Pickering's waterfront and is chairman of the Pickering Library Board.

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