Longtime area residents Mary and Wally Cook were honoured with Carleton Place’s Lifetime Achievement Award at a regular council meeting held on March 27th in recognition for their outstanding leadership and tireless community contributions. Mary, a well known former CBC broadcaster and prolific author and her husband Wally, a former town councilor were joined by family members and enthusiastic audience for the occasion. Their accomplishments for and in support of the community would fill volumes and even an abbreviated list took some time to review at the meeting. Mayor Louis Antonakos listed the following as examples of their giving nature…
For 12 years they sponsored the swim program at Riverside Park by paying for the lifeguard and instructors.
Together they started 4 branches of the Canadian Cancer Society in Lanark County.
They donated the upstairs of their Bridge St. store for the Cancer Society to hold their meetings.
Wally acted as Finance Chairman for local branch the Cancer Society.
Mary received the highest award from the Cancer Society for starting 12 branches in Essex County.
Wally co-chaired many successful blood donor campaigns in Carleton Place.
Wally served as a Town Councilor and was Co-Chair of the Industrial Commission that brought 9 major industries to Carleton Place, including Leigh Instruments and Digital.
Wally was Eastern Ontario Development Association Man of the Year in the 70’s.
Both Wally and Mary owned and worked at Cook’s downtown store in Carleton Place for 37 years.
Mary ran junior deportment classes for young women for more than 10 years upstairs at their store – women learned poise, self-improvement, community development skills etc.
Cook’s store hosted and ran many fashion shows at the Town Hall to raise money for a variety of Carleton Place causes.
For the 1967 Centennial Celebrations, Mary and Wally brought 6 outstanding Canadian speakers to Carleton Place to raise money for the Town’s Arena. Speakers included such people as Senator Jose Quart, Lady Henrietta Banting the wife of Frederick Banting, the editor from Chatelaine Magazine (Doris Anderson), Federal MP Flora MacDonald and others.
Since the mid 70’s both Wally and Mary have donated science and creative writing scholarships to Carleton Place High School.
Both Mary and Wally were also active members of the Presbyterian Church for many years – both served on committees and also on the board of managers for the church.
Mary has been a writer and broadcaster for CBC radio for many years and brought positive publicity to the Town of Carleton Place.
Mary has been an active member for the IODE for 60 years.
Wally is a member of the Collingwood Sports Hall of Fame for his participation in track and field during his teens and early adult years.
Mary has won several medals: Queen’s Jubilee, Ontario Bicentennial and Canada’s 125 commemorative medals.
In bestowing the award, Mayor Louis Antonakos commented that, “Wally and Mary, because of these and many other efforts and contributions you have made, both of you have earned the respect and gratitude of those for whom and with whom you have served. Your leadership, guidance and unselfish contributions towards the Town of Carleton Place will always be remembered.”