Mayor's Inaugural Address 2014
"Foundation for Our Future – Celebrating Markham’s 220th Anniversary"
Inaugural Address by Mayor Frank Scarpitti
Inaugural Meeting of the 2014-2018 Council of Markham
Monday December 1, 2014 - 7:00 PM
Flato Markham Theatre
Good evening Justice Diner, Consuls General, Father Marcos, Members of Council, former Members of Council, special guests, friends and family. And when I speak of family, I want to introduce those who have both supported and inspired me – my wife Nancy, my three children Alessandra, Michael and Daniel, and my brother Paul.
I want to thank Del Silvestri, my Campaign Chair, for his dedication and commitment along with my entire campaign team.
Tonight, we celebrate the 220th anniversary of the founding of Markham. This is a celebration of our rich past, our vibrant present, and our dynamic future. I believe, and have always believed, that the support of the people is the foundation of public service. I stand before you tonight honoured and humbled by your overwhelming support for my leadership. You have given your help. You have given your hearts. And, I thank you for both. In political life, one has opponents, one has detractors, one has non-believers. Not to mention the whims of the media. Some of them would have you believe the odds are against you. However, they really don’t know Markham. They don’t know us, they don’t know you. And they most certainly don’t know me.
Together, we stayed positive. We remained strong. We kept the faith. We won the day.
My inspiration to stay the course and keep the faith came from my parents, Antonio and Lucia. I thank them for the strong foundation they provided for me and for my brother Paul. Earlier this year, we lost our mother, Lucia. I want to dedicate this victory to her. She was, and remains, an inspiration to all of us. She is a shining example. Never give up. See things through with determination, courage and a positive attitude.
Markham Then and Now
My other source of inspiration is William Berczy and his group of settlers. They embarked on a journey to make a new home. In a place called Markham. With voices telling them to turn back, to give in, to give up, they persevered. Berczy never gave in, never gave up. They faced adversity, they faced hardship. They faced disappointment. They saw many dark nights, before they saw a bright day. They didn't give up. They tried hard, did their best, and eventually succeeded. This positive attitude sets the foundation for Markham today. That's the Markham spirit. That's the Markham way.
Tonight, I am pleased to announce I have secured a generous donation for a bronze statue of William Berczy. It will be a monument to Markham's living history. It will commemorate Markham’s 220th Anniversary and the 270th Anniversary of William Berczy’s birth. Located at the northeast corner of Kennedy Road and 16th Avenue, the area will be named Berczy Square. As the sculptor Marlene Hilton Moore notes, Berczy was a protector and mentor to his fellow pioneers. He was also recognized, in his own time, as one of Canada’s finest painters. The bronze of William Berczy stands with authority, on a seven-foot high cantilevered bronze base, overlooking the place he founded. The bronze base, and two separate bronze columns, will feature etched replicas of Berczy’s most famous paintings. In Berczy Square, Markham history comes alive.In Berczy Square, people will walk with the man who started it all, right here in Markham.
Just as William Berczy came to Markham to realize the dream of a better life, together we will continue to unleash the extraordinary potential of Markham. I will ask the new Council to update our Strategic Plan – Building Markham’s Future Together. I want Markham Council to build on our strong foundations:
Together, we will continue to strengthen fiscal stewardship. We will maintain competitive tax rates. We will continue to run an effective and efficient administration. We will continue to make sure you get value for your tax dollars. Together, we will champion environmental sustainability. Climate change is a reality. We must face it. We will continue to be leaders in energy and water conservation. We will protect our heritage, wetlands, and urban forest. We will help make the Rouge Urban National Park a reality. Together, we will create liveable neighbourhoods and vibrant urban centres encompassing high quality design.
Together, we will build on our leadership enhancing community engagement and our customer experience through our improvements in technology and service delivery. The economic success of the Greater Toronto Area has created an infrastructure deficit. Together, we will work with our neighbouring municipalities, and all levels of government, to integrate rapid transit and improve our road network. Together, we will continue to be an inclusive community – a community for everyone, of all ages and all abilities. A community that we just don’t call home, but is home; Home to peace, order and good government.
Together, we will welcome the world into our homes during the Pan Am Games. The Pan Am/Para Pan Games will create lasting sports and cultural legacies. Together, we will bring York University to Markham Centre.
In closing, I would like to thank the staff of Markham for your passion and dedication to public service. Your professionalism will guide this community for many years to come. Thank you all for being here to celebrate our history and our future. William Berczy came to Markham with hope and optimism. He had a vision. He had a plan. We each come to Markham with our own hopes and dreams; for ourselves and for our children. We are all connected to Berczy’s original journey. We all have our own journey in this wonderful place we call Markham. We seek a brighter future, as Berczy did – one of prosperity, one of harmony, one of hope, one of belonging to something bigger than ourselves.
We need everyone here tonight . . . every child, every adult, and every senior in every neighbourhood to help create the Markham of the future. Let’s continue our journey together. William Berczy could not imagine what Markham would look like in 200 years. Like Berczy, we are on a journey. Like Berczy, we are on a mission.
Let's have passion.
Let's have energy.
Let's have courage.
Together, let's make Markham happen.