When it came time to look at who should be featured on the landmark 200th episode of the Guelph Politicast, there was really only one answer. It’s been almost 20 years since Norm Jary left city council, and it’s been almost 35 years since he left the mayor’s office, but it’s hard to deny that the 37th Mayor of the City of Guelph still enjoys high approval ratings.
Why? This is what a 2010 Guelph Historical Society article had to say about Mayor Norm Jary’s nearly 16 years in office as mayor:
“Mayor Jary’s political success can be attributed to his belief in open, democratic civic municipal government that represents all the people in the community. His dedication to accepting a wide array of invitations to participate in local events gave the City a mayor that met local residents and heard their needs face-to-face. This practice enabled him to promote his belief that a mayor should serve the broad spectrum of the municipal population, not just special interests.”
Aside from those first principles of governance, Jary oversaw a decade of tremendous growth and change in the Royal City, from the construction of the Hanlon Expressway, the revitalization of downtown with the Eaton Centre, the restoration of the Wellington Hotel, the establishment of the Civic Museum and the Art Gallery of Guelph, and the opening of Stone Road Mall. We look at this tremendous slate of accomplishments from a time when we’re still talking about whether or not a new main library is a need or a want after 18 years of trying.
This week on the podcast, Jary will discuss how we was able to get so much done as mayor, and how he was able to engender trust and civility as both mayor and the news director of CJOY at the same time. We also talk about his unusual rise to the mayoralty and the factors that contributed to his success in the political arena. And we talk about the practicalities of leadership, how he balanced his two hats, managed controversy, and the ways the political discourse in his day compares to the discourse in ours. (Hint: It hasn’t gotten better.)
So let’s talk about the past and the present, and maybe the future, with former Guelph Mayor Norm Jary on this week’s 200th edition of the Guelph Politicast!
If you’d like to read more about Norm Jary, and his political career, you can click here to see Dr. Debra Nash-Chambers’s article at Guelph Historical Society website. Perhaps over the holiday break, you can visit Norm Jary Park, which is at 22 Shelldale Crescent west of Dawson Road.
Also, when you subscribe to the Guelph Politicast channel and you will also get an episode of Open Sources Guelph every Monday, and an episode of End Credits every Friday.
Photo Credit: Mayor Jary at the re-opening of the Victoria Road Recreation Centre in Summer 2017.