Out with the old and in with the new?
Not necessarily, according to Bradford West Gwillimbury Ward 4 Coun. Ron Orr.
With Bradford’s rapid growth over the years, Orr believes in creating a balance between both Bradford’s old, small-town charm and new industrial, suburban facet.
Orr identifies with old Bradford; he and his wife Christine have lived in the town their whole lives.
Both come from a farming background and met through 4-H Ontario, a popular non-profit organization for youth, with many of its members from the farming and agricultural community.
Together, they lived on his family’s fourth-generation dairy farm on the 5th Line where they raised their two sons, Brent and Jeff.
“We grew up here, and we know Bradford and we’re attached to Bradford,” he said.
This is Orr’s second term on council. He said he would have run even sooner, but never could find the time.
“People were asking me to run for years, but I was too busy,” he explained.
“This (being on council) is something where you, if you’re going to do it right, you have to have the time to do it.”
His passion for the town’s history shows in his role as chairman of the Bradford Heritage Committee. The goal of the committee is to identify all buildings in town that hold historical significance, and preserve their status in the community.
“We (the committee) got all the heritage homes listed in BWG. That just helps to know what’s here. We have a history log that people will know down the road what was here if those places do get torn down,” he explained about his work on the committee.
After selling their farm 13 years ago and moving just outside the Holland Marsh, Orr and his wife decided to go into business together opening up their own giftware and home decor wholesaling company.
“It was quite a change,” he said of switching careers.
Their company was successful, supplying retailers across Canada with housewares and gifts.
But once larger big box stores began invading the home décor retail space, they downsized their warehouse and eventually closed up shop.
From farming to wholesaling, Orr has an extensive business resume. In addition to his entrepreneurial ventures, he has sat on the board for Peel Mutual Insurance Company for 33 years. He was chairman of the board for 12 of those years, providing the company with guidance and advice and still sits on the board today.