Robert Norman “Bob” Forhan — greatest often known as simply Bob round city — seemingly excelled at each facet of his life.
Born in Newmarket in March 1936, Forhan was an athlete, politician, instructor, diplomat and neighborhood chief.
My drawback is simply the way you seize the historical past of a gentleman who was the trendy equal of a Renaissance man.
A pure athlete, he appeared to like all sports activities — observe and discipline, tennis, squash, baseball, and golf, together with a ardour for our nationwide sport, hockey, at which he would excel.
Forhan would pack up his gear and head out of city on the tender age of 14 to pursue his love of the sport. He was a proficient proper winger who performed Jr. A hockey with the Weston Dukes, Guelph Biltmores and Sudbury Wolves, turning professional with the Greensboro Generals of the Japanese Hockey League and the Cleveland Barons of the American Hockey League whereas persevering with his training on the College of Waterloo.
It’s each younger individual’s dream to make it to the Olympics and he made two journeys, within the 1960 Olympics at Squaw Valley the place he would win a silver medal as a member of the Kitchener-Waterloo Dutchmen and the 1964 Olympics in Innsbruck, Austria the place his Canadian staff would end fourth.
It needs to be famous that individual Canadian staff marked the debut of a devoted nationwide program below the steerage of Father David Bauer and introduced collectively the very best newbie gamers from throughout the nation.
All of the whereas he continued his training on the College of British Columbia, ultimately graduating with a bachelor of bodily and well being training. After commencement, he moved again to Newmarket, his residence, educating at each Pickering School and Thornhill Secondary College.
Forhan additionally had an actual calling for politics, a occupation the place the flexibility to stay deal with and make the most of what the opposition offers you to attain your factors was in alignment with the sport of hockey.
He first made his title in politics when he efficiently ran for mayor of Newmarket, the 25th in our historical past, in 1978.
He moved on to grow to be chairman and chief administrative officer of York Area, retiring in 1995 after a profession in authorities that spanned from the 1970s to 1995, together with Newmarket city council (as councillor after which mayor from 1971 to 1978), Chair of York Area (1978-1984) and CAO of York Area from 1978 to 1995. His twenty years as York Area chairman and CAO have been pivotal moments in regional governance.
The city always remember Forhan’s sports activities exploits, naming him, in 2010, as one of many seven inaugural inductees to the Newmarket Sports activities Corridor of Fame. I’m sure that if there had been a corridor of fame for public service, he would have been elected to that establishment, as effectively. dThe Olympic-sized rink on the Magna Centre in Newmarket bears his title.
A avenue was named after him, alongside that of protégé Raymond Twinney, simply off Davis Drive southeast of Leslie Avenue.
There may be little doubt that municipal politics was the place he left an enduring mark as a frontrunner inside Newmarket and the area. York Area Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson in an announcement he launched upon Forhan’s passing on June 3, 2018 acknowledged, “Mr. Forhan’s contributions to the York Area neighborhood are immeasurable.”
“Starting along with his time as mayor of Newmarket within the early ‘70s, continuing by means of his time as Regional Chairman, and serving because the Area’s Chief Administrative Officer, his management helped York Area efficiently navigate a interval of serious development and alter.”
Emmerson went on to say, “His life is an instance of what may be achieved when a imaginative and prescient combines with dedication and the love of neighborhood.”
Everybody knew that Forhan’s success hinged on an previous hockey adage that to be good at what you do, you could learn to take what the opposite staff offers you and devise a plan primarily based in your strengths, utilizing the principles to seek out success.
As mayor, when the province created the regional governance mannequin, displacing York County, Forhan indicated that he was resigned to the truth that new, exterior forces would basically change the very nature of the city he beloved.
I wrote in my article on the annexation issue of 1971 how Mayor Forhan insisted on a brand new deal for the city, one permitting it to direct the expansion, and profit from the expansion.
Underneath his plan, which he referred to as the user- pay philosophy, builders have been mandated to construct and pay for roads, sidewalks, and sewers of their new subdivisions and make money contributions to the city’s coffers to fund new libraries, recreation services, and different companies deemed mandatory for the brand new residents of Newmarket.
His plan was ultimately adopted by the opposite cities within the area and whereas there have been some points through the years, his imaginative and prescient for development and learn how to fund and profit from it has been considered one of his many legacies.
Quickly after York Area had grow to be a actuality and annexation came about, Mayor Forham’s user- pay philosophy was put to the take a look at when the Quaker Hills subdivision, proposed by the Schickendanz Group, was being evaluated by council.
Underneath mayor Forhan’s plan, the developer would construct its personal streets and set up all the mandatory companies, all at their very own expense. You’ll keep in mind the developer additionally constructed a a lot wanted pool on William Roe Blvd. in 1973.
DelZotto Houses, the developer of a north-end subdivision close to the hospital, constructed the Frank Hollingsworth Area for the city in 1973 and contributed to different city services.
Whereas the developer floodgates appeared to have flown open, the sense was Forhan had all the pieces below management and the city would draw as many advantages because it might from this inevitable development spurt.
Forhan appeared to know effectively the principles by which the sport was now being performed and he instinctively tailored the city’s strategy to make the most of these guidelines, to the advantage of his city.
My reminiscence of Forhan’s time on our council was considered one of progress, adapting to altering occasions and getting on with the enterprise of operating a city within the curiosity of the city and with a watch each to our previous and to our unimaginable future.
When the previous politician and Canadian Olympian died on the age of 82, flags flew at half-mast all through the area to honour the passing of the previous Newmarket mayor and member of council, regional chair and CAO, Mr. Robert ‘Bobby’ Forhan.
Forhan loved a outstanding profession in two of Canada’s favorite pastimes – hockey and politics and he excelled at each.
Sources: The Newmarket Period; Newmarket – The Coronary heart of York Area by Robert Terrance Carter; Tribute on Roadhouse and Rose Web site; Press Launch – The Area of York.
NewmarketToday.ca brings you this weekly characteristic about our city’s historical past in partnership with Richard MacLeod, the Historical past Hound, an area historian for greater than 40 years. He conducts heritage lectures and strolling excursions of native curiosity, in addition to leads native oral historical past interviews. You possibly can contact the Historical past Hound at email@example.com.