||Willard L. Kinzie |
||25 Sep 1919
||Blair (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada
||25 Sep 1919
||Barrie, Simcoe Co., Ontario, Canada
|mayor of Barrie, Ontario |
|Eby ID Number
||4 Nov 2019 |
||Isaiah Kinzie, b. 23 Jun 1890, Blair (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada , d. 20 Aug 1981, Cambridge, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada (Age 91 years) |
||Sylvia Snyder, b. 22 Jan 1893, Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada , d. 4 Jul 1972, Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada (Age 79 years) |
||1 Feb 1916 
||Group Sheet | Family Chart
- Willard L. Kinzie (born September 19, 1919) is a businessman and former mayor of Barrie, Ontario. After serving as an Alderman, Willard was elected as mayor of the then town and served at the time that it reincorporated as a city. He played a central role in many of the issues affecting Barrie, such as various annexation reviews and the development of the waterfront. As a businessman, he ran a successful milk delivery business earning him the nickname 'The Milk Man'.
Willard Kinzie. (2017). En.wikipedia.org. Retrieved 9 September 2017, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Willard_Kinzie
At 95 years of age, former mayor hasn't lost interest in local politics
Ninety-five years in and Willard Kinzie is still looking ahead.
"I feel older. There's no question about that. I can't do what I used to do. Age is catching up to me in many ways," he said from his Shanty Bay Road home. "But somehow or other in life, you look up to what's in the future and it all looks good."
The former Barrie mayor (1957-1961) turned 95 years young on Friday, and he still pays attention to local politics \endash especially with a city election coming in October.
"I think in general we have one of the better councils, serving the people, on the whole," he said. "But there's always problems, there will always be complaints when you are there, there's always pros and cons. I certainly don't agree with everything they do."
One criticism is that city costs haven't been adequately controlled. Kinzie believes expenses should only increase as much as the annual assessment; that would keep taxes constant.
But he's the first to admit these are different times.
Kinzie was raised in a farm neighbourhood, between Cambridge and Kitchener, a friendly, helpful, competitive community.
"There was a real effort to improve the neighbourhood," he remembers.
His father and uncles were in the dairy business, and there were stories of great humour passed on to him.
"This made me want to go into the dairy business, rather than farming, because it seemed more fun," he said. "I found out it was more hard work."
This was during the Great Depression, times were tough and there was no medical care. His father spent all his money when his mother fell ill, and needed a series of operations.
"It took everything he had," Kinzie said.
But he found work, eventually went overseas, and came back with $3,000 in pay, plus a further $3,000 in gratuities from the government for his service, 1942-1945.
It gave him the capital to buy one broken-down dairy truck for one delivery route. In two years time he had three routes.
But it was all too small, so he sold the Guelph business and moved to Barrie, in 1947.
He immediately noticed one big difference here; Kempenfelt Bay.
"When I came to Barrie, this whole scene astounded me \endash the beauty of it," he said.
Kinzie purchased a Dunlop Street East dairy (Lakeview), lived there with his family in the house above it, with a view of Kempenfelt.
"We could look out over the water, and it was just amazing. The beauty of it astounded me," he said.
Kinzie purchased an empty Shanty Bay Road lot, overlooking the lake, and built his home there.
He soon joined the Chamber of Commerce, but was disappointed with the city's effort to bring in new industry and business.
"It seemed to me they were protecting the low-wage industries that we had in Barrie at that time, so I ran for council and got elected (1952-53)," he said. "My main objective was to get business and industry."
Once mayor, he travelled North America to achieve this goal.
"It was rather amazingly simple. If I heard of a prospect for industry in Canada \endash this was before free trade, so we had companies that we knew were practically forced to establish in Canada," he said, "I would go, unannounced.
"Go to the head office and ask to see the president and show my mayor's card. And amazingly enough I never had to wait more than 20 minutes to see the president of the company."
He said this resulted in many businesses and industries coming to the city.
"Barrie had started to grow, and we were able to offer employment to all of our younger people," he said.
Kinzie also began thinking about the head of Kempenfelt, and made the first motion on council, before he was mayor, to start filling in the bay and acquire property along the waterfront.
There were objections from environmentalists.
"There were people who said just leave it as it is," he said. "My version is that it should be open to the public to see and enjoy.
"The beauty of the bay still astounds me. I wake up in the morning and I see the bay."
He continues to walk the North Shore Trail, and spearheaded a project around the bay to tell Barrie's story.
The Heritage Trail is to eventually be a self-guided trail around the city's waterfront, depicting Barrie's history through signs and displays; it's to help educate the public, school groups and visitors. Work started on it this past summer.
So Willard Kinzie is still looking ahead.
All are welcome at Saturday's open house to celebrate his 95th birthday, from 1: 30-4 p.m. at 135 Shanty Bay Rd. His son Bob will be barbequing a pig.
A family dinner follows that evening, with an expected crowd of 35-40 people, with smoked trout all the way from British Columbia, delivered by his daughter Susan.
Kinzie keeping close watch. (2014). Barrie Examiner. Retrieved 9 September 2017, from https://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/2014/09/26/at-95-years-of-age-former-mayor-hasnt-lost-interest-in-local-politics
- [S2403] News - Unidentified Newspaper Obituary, Obituary of Elsie Groff - Snider - 1991.
- [S8] News - Gospel Herald, August 8, 1972 - Obituary of Sylvia Snyder.