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Resident bangs the (soprano) drum on history, hospital and heritage

People of Collingwood: Margaret Mooy, recipient of the 2021 Order of Collingwood

Heritage is one of many passions for Margaret Mooy, which has led to her taking a leading role on Collingwood’s Heritage Committee as well as donating her time to causes such as the Collingwood General and Marine Hospital and preserving the Collingwood Grain Terminals.

For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Mooy, 75, recent winner of the Order of Collingwood.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I grew up in Etobicoke, in the west end of Toronto.

Q: Can you please provide some background on yourself? For example, where did you go to school, and for what? What jobs have you held? What led you down those paths?

A: I went to elementary school and high school in Etobicoke before training to be a teacher at Lakeshore Teachers’ College.

I taught all grades from kindergarten to Grade 8, as well as adults at different times of my career. I also taught one year in the north of Scotland.

It wasn’t until I stayed home with our three children that I pursued finishing my degree in sociology, then later a second degree in education. I later earned specialties in special education and in teaching English as a second language when I returned to my teaching career.

Before retiring, I became first a chairperson of an elementary school, then a vice principal. I was honoured to receive an award of excellence.

In the spirit of life-long learning, I learned how to play soprano drum in a steel-drum band. We played at a variety of events as well as playing one year in the Toronto Caribana Parade and travelling with the band to Trinidad and Tobago.

Q: What circumstances brought you to Collingwood?

A: My husband and I moved here in 2004, after our three children were working on their own careers and no longer lived in the family home. We became tired of the busy streets and never-ending traffic for my husband’s commute to work.

We knew that we wanted to move north, closer to our island cottage on Georgian Bay near Parry Sound. We began exploring the towns along the south and west shore of the bay until we found what we both wanted in Collingwood.

We wanted a smaller community and the availability of an active lifestyle.

Q: Are you currently still working, or are you retired?

A: I retired just before moving here, although my husband continued to work at York University for a couple more years.

Q: Many of your volunteer activities revolve around heritage. In your opinion, why is heritage so important?

A: It wasn’t until I moved here that I became so interested in heritage; both culturally and architecturally.

I had many mentors that helped me to understand and to recognize the architectural features of heritage properties and the importance of having a recognized Heritage District as well as individual heritage properties outside the district.

I also learned of the many stories of families and individuals who lived and worked in Collingwood.

I learned of the importance of protecting our unique heritage community that gives our residents a sense of identity and a sense of place.

Q: Is there any one specific thing you've been able to accomplish in your volunteer career which stands out to you as something of which you are most proud? What is it, and why?

A: Our heritage bylaws, along with supporting incentive programs are very important.

Working with members of the Heritage Committee in 2016, I am proud of the two programs that we researched and presented to council that were later enacted into bylaws: the Major Restoration bylaw and Heritage Tax Rebate bylaw.

I am also proud of the community co-operation with the Heritage Committee to research and compile the four Heritage Walking Tours that are now available both in digital form and as a paper copy.

Q: This year you've been given the Order of Collingwood. How did you first hear you were being given the award, and can you describe your feelings when you first heard?

I was honoured to receive notification from the mayor’s office that I was selected to receive the Order of Collingwood for 2021.

I feel that this honour also recognizes the strength of the various committees and boards with which I am associated.

Those who sit on the Heritage Committee, the Collingwood Terminals and Harbour Action Group and the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario all work towards the best interest of Collingwood.

Q: Looking forward, do you have any long-term goals when it comes to local heritage, or any other philanthropic endeavours?

Looking forward, I encourage community members to have a voice in preserving and in protecting this wonderful community.

There are many opportunities for participating on a wide variety of committees. Participation produces so many rewards; much more than an individual gives.

For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email