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Former teacher spends time addressing food, housing insecurity

People of Collingwood: Mark Redmond, 2023 recipient of the Companion to the Order of Collingwood
Mark Redmond was one of the recipients of the 2023 Companion to the Order of Collingwood.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For the next several weeks, this column will feature this year’s recipients of the Order of Collingwood and the Companion to the Order of Collingwood.

A science teacher who spent years expanding the minds of Collingwood students later turned his attention to making sure all people have a roof over their heads and a warm meal.

For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Mark Redmond, recipient of the Companion to the Order of Collingwood.

Q: For how long have you lived in Collingwood? If you weren't born in Collingwood, when did you move here and why?

A: (My wife and I) moved to Collingwood in 2000.

I graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc. and a BEd. before starting my teaching career in 1972 at T. A. Blakelock High School in Oakville.

We then moved to St. Catharines where I taught at Beamsville District Secondary School.

We wanted to raise our family in a farming area, so we looked north, and in 1978 after our first son was born, I was hired to teach science at Collingwood Collegiate Institute.

We initially bought a house in Wasaga Beach and found a suitable farm near Maxwell where we moved to two years later.

We both had grown up on farms and wanted our children to experience farm life too.

While living in Osprey Township, I served on several committees, helped build the Feversham Arena and Community Centre, joined Kinsmen, coached baseball and served terms as a township councillor and mayor from 1994 to 2000.

We moved to Collingwood in 2000 when our last child left home for university and my term as mayor was up.

Q: Can you please outline your volunteer efforts, and your role within those efforts.

A: I have volunteered with the Georgian Good Food Box program, Habitat for Humanity, United Way and E3 Community Services Inc.

Overall, I have served on 11 various committees and boards in Collingwood since 2003.

Q: What made you choose to lend your time to these causes in particular? Why are they important to you?

A: Over the years, I have learned the intrinsic value in teamwork through a variety of teams, organizations, committees, and councils.

In each of my schools, I coached various teams, supervised many school clubs and contributed time and energy to many school and subject-related initiatives.

In every case, observing the growth of the students in my care on the field, the court and the classroom was the feedback that inspired me to continue to work on their behalf.

Parents, teachers, coaches, and other mentors can have a huge impact on students’ lives.

Problem-solving through teamwork is a life-long lesson.

When I retired from teaching at CCI in 2002, I was asked to join Mayor (Terry) Geddes’ Vision 2020 committee, and then through various contacts became active with the groups and committees.

I am happy to make time to help other volunteers to develop programs and initiatives to help others in our community.

Housing and food security are two areas that I saw both in my teaching career and assisting other organizations like our food banks, that continue to drive my interest supporting community organizations.

Meeting many wonderful people through volunteering is a great return on my time and energy.

Q: How did you learn you had been chosen as a recipient for the Companion to the Order of Collingwood? How did you feel when you heard you had been chosen?

A: I learned of the companion award via email from Mayor (Yvonne) Hamlin’s office and immediately felt humbled to be recognized for enjoying working with others for a common goal.

Every committee, board or group I have worked with has given back to me more satisfaction and good feelings than I could ever imagine. I still get goosebumps when I recall some of the work that I was a part of, the great volunteers and the people who we helped.

Q: Do you have other hobbies outside of your volunteer efforts, and what are they?

A: I keep busy reading, writing my memoir, wildlife photography and birding, genealogy, sharing family history, digitizing old photos and slides and communicating research with relatives mostly across Canada.

Q: What does the future hold for you?

A: Going forward, I would like to spend more time with our extended family.

For our feature People of Collingwood, we speak 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 runs on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone be featured in People of Collingwood, email

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Jessica Owen

About the Author: Jessica Owen

Jessica Owen brings 12 years of experience to her role as reporter for Village Media, primarily covering Collingwood, County of Simcoe and education.
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