When Gary Baynes decided to run for council five years ago, he was determined to win the hearts of the community in Ward 2, and he has the scar to prove it.
“It was my first time. I didn’t know what to expect,” he said. “I worked the hardest — I knocked on every door.”
He knocked on so many doors that he developed a small callus on the top of his knuckle, which will always serve as a reminder of all his commitment to making the town a great place to live.
And his hard work paid off. He was elected as the Ward 2 councillor in 2014 — representing the section east of Barrie Street in between 6th and 8th lines — and was re-elected this past fall for the 2018-2022 council term.
Baynes is a Bradford West Gwillimbury native, born and raised on his parents’ dairy and beef farm on the 5th Line. When he got married, his father severed the lot and gave a piece to Baynes and his wife to live on, which is where he still lives today.
“It’s a real mix now of small town and bigger town,” he said, reflecting on Bradford’s growth.
He has fond memories of growing up and playing sports, including basketball, soccer, volleyball, badminton, and track and field.
But his absolute favourite was fastball, which he played competitively for Bradford’s Queen’s Hotel team, among a few others in the area. To this day he still follows the sport and even travelled to Whitehorse, Yukon, in 2017 to watch the international fastball tournament.
Back in Bradford, Baynes has been part of many new developments, including the two new senior residences in town, The Elden and Holland Gardens.
As the past co-chair of the active transportation committee, he said he is proud of the Walk n’ Wheel Wednesday campaign, which encourages students and parents to walk and ride their bikes to school in an effort to be more physically active and alleviate traffic congestion.
Last year, 11 local elementary schools participated in the one-day blitz, and Baynes handed out ribbons to students participating in the event.
His hope is to do another event this fall when the school year starts.
Baynes is part of many other committees in town, such as the Downtown Revitalization Committee and Economic Development Advisory Committee.
As a former information technology executive with TD Bank, he is the self-proclaimed “math guy” on the council team. Baynes enjoys working with numbers and budgets and analyzing issues from various angles.
“I do work hard, I do read everything. I come prepared. I think outside the box,” he explained about his role on council. “I’m proud that I can dig so quickly into things.”
With York-Simcoe MPP Caroline Mulroney recently being appointed as the Ontario Minister of Transportation, Baynes is hoping the much anticipated Highway 400-404 Connecting Link will get more government attention.
Baynes has two adult daughters: Ashley, who owns a CrossFit gym in Barrie, and Alysha, who lives and works in Tiverton, Ont.
He is proud of his personal and professional accomplishments to-date and said it is important to always try your best, in everything that you do.
“You got to be proud of your accomplishments, especially if you tried hard. I try hard at what I do,” he said.