“A champion of the city.”
That was the consensus from colleagues of Mike Anthony, who passed away at the age of 52 on Wednesday. Fire crews, police officers, city staff and councillors all stood outside North Bay City Hall on Thursday sharing stories of Anthony’s character. The flags outside city hall were lowered to half-mast.
Anthony was the longest-serving member of North Bay’s city council, first being elected in 2001. Anthony was originally from New Brunswick, moving to the North Bay area in the 1990s.
Council members took turns on Thursday remembering Anthony and his role within the community.
Deputy Mayor Tanya Vrebosch, who served 13 years on council alongside Anthony said that she didn’t look at him as a colleague, she looked at him as family.
Johanne Brousseau said that she will remember Anthony’s style. “No other member of council looked as good as you wearing vibrant colour shirts,” she said with a smile.
Councillor Chris Mayne remembered how dedicated Anthony was to his job, but he had one true passion in life. “We would talk about his family, which was the most important thing to him. Second to family, being a city councillor was most important to him.”
Mark King says that he and Anthony motioned and seconded more motions at council meetings than any other duo on council. “I commend him over his political career for having the stamina and the strength to stand up for the thoughts he had,” King said.
First-time councillor Scott Robertson says that he will remember Anthony’s leadership. “After the most recent election when I was elected, he was the first person to contact me, saying congratulations and he served as a great mentor to me,” Robertson recalled.
Councillor Mac Bain will remember Anthony’s ability to condense his thoughts. “He could drill down to the importance of an issue and master that 8 second sound bite for the media. He was clear, concise, and to the point.” Bain remembers.
Councillor Dave Mendicino says that he and Anthony had been friends for 20 years. Mendicino recounted the time that he and Anthony met.
“When we met in 1999 when I was going through personal trouble, along came Mike. He really helped pull me up with his wit, his humour, and his friendship,” he said.
Mayor Al McDonald was elected to city council alongside Anthony in 2001. McDonald says that Anthony’s dedication to both his family and the city will be his lasting memory.
“He loved Tanya (his wife), he loved his family and he loved this city – in that order. But to be able to tell the difference between them was difficult because he had so much energy,” McDonald explained. “You can imagine the sheer amount of criticism that comes our way, he was just able to shake it off and keep performing our job.”
Anthony was involved in the North Bay media, studying broadcast journalism at Canadore College and working for different radio stations throughout the city.
As for the vacant seat on North Bay’s city council, more information will be made available in the coming days. McDonald said that there is a municipal process that will be followed, but added Thursday was about simply remembering Anthony.
The city plans on recognizing Anthony’s contributions but did not elaborate on how.