Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2018 at 4 p.m.
Tearful thanks at Mayor Barton’s retirement soirée
A surprise retirement party Tuesday evening for Champlain Township’s Mayor Gary Barton saw the guest of honour reduced to tears at the microphone before he could say even one word of thanks.
“I didn’t get involved in politics to get any recognition,” Mayor Barton said, after regaining his composure. “I did it because there were things I really felt needed to be done.”
Barton has been involved in local politics for almost four decades, starting as a councillor for the Village of Vankleek Hill prior to 1998 when the then-Progressive Conservative provincial government forced amalgamation upon many of Ontario’s rural and urban municipalities. The villages of Vankleek Hill, L’Orignal, Longueil and the Township of West Hawkesbury became unified as the Township of Champlain.
With his wife, Jean Barton, at his side, the retiring mayor of Champlain Township credited “the hardworking staff” of the municipality and the members of council “who’ve been supportive over the years” with helping him achieve his goals for the community during the 20 years he has been the municipality’s first mayor since its incorporation in 1998.
“We started out with a bang with the (1998) ice storm,” Barton said, “and it’s been onward and upward ever since.”
Close to a hundred people, including municipal staff, fellow council members, and officials from neighbouring municipalities and the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, family and friends gathered at the Vankleek Hill Community Centre to wish Barton well on his retirement and enjoy a relaxed convivial party atmosphere, including taking turns posing with a life-size photo double of Mayor Barton (see photo) which had been making the rounds of the community for several weeks now, posing for a series of humourous tribute souvenir photos which will be part of a retirement tribute album presented to Barton by municipal staff.