January 24, 2002

York Region becomes a Character Community


NEWMARKET York Regional Council today approved a resolution declaring York Region a Character Community the first regional municipality to do so in Canada.

A Character Community is one in which elected officials, community leaders, and citizens-at-large promote and recognize the importance of good character. It works best when the entire community endorses and promotes the development of positive attributes such as honesty, respect and integrity.

"York Region is not only a preferred place to live, work and play, it will be also be known as a community that embraces and endorses good character something for which we can all be proud," said Regional Chair Bill Fisch.

Last June, a steering committee chaired by Markham Mayor Don Cousens was established and included leaders from the community, school, police services, business and media sectors. The committee adopted a mission statement, drafted a list of character attributes and explored similar programs in other organizations.

"The tremendous enthusiastic support from the community, area municipalities, business and the media over the past seven months has convinced the steering committee that York Region would embrace and welcome a Character Community initiative," said Mayor Cousens.

Both the public and Catholic school boards in York Region are active promoters of character education. Boards have implemented the program throughout their elementary and high school curriculum in various forms, teaching students the importance of positive character attributes.

Public input is crucial to the initiative. York Region residents are asked to choose 10 character attributes from approximately 20 that will be published in this weekend's editions of Metroland's York Region community newspapers (The Era-Banner, The Liberal, Vaughan Citizen, Markham Economist & Sun, Stouffville Tribune and Georgina Advocate). Residents can also vote on-line at www.yorkregion.com.

The top 10 chosen attributes will be announced at a launch of York Region's Character Community initiative to take place on February 12, 2002 at 11:00 a.m. in the Great Hall of the York Region Administrative Centre in Newmarket. The event will include the unveiling of a York Region Character Community logo and a roll-out plan to make York Region a Character Community. A Character Council to implement this initiative will also be announced.

In addition to the regional resolution, the area municipalities will be requested to also approve a resolution to officially declare their municipality a Character Community.

Members of the York Region Steering Committee for Character Communities include:

Mayor Don Cousens, Markham (Chair)

Regional Chair Bill Fisch (ex-officio)

Mayor Tim Jones, Aurora

Regional Councillor Tony Wong, Markham

Stephen Chait, Markham

Brian Dodd, Rogers Television

Carol Felepchuk, IBM

Dr. Avis Glaze, York Region District School Board (YRDSB)

John Havercroft, York Region District School Board

Susan LaRosa, York Region Catholic School Board (YRCSB)

Brenda Larson, York Region Newspaper Group

Nadia Magarelli, Weston Downs Ratepayers Association

Bob McCulloch, Community Alliance for York Region Education

Chief Robert Middaugh, York Regional Police

Karen Powell, Magna International

Liz Tobin, YRDSB student

Lois Tori, Royal Bank of Canada

Christy Wei, CWPR Marketing

Peter Wightman, YRCSB student

Alan Wells, CAO, Region of York

Susan Taylor, Region of York

Ghislaine Boulianne, Region of York

The Regional Municipality of York provides many essential services, including Police Services, Ambulance, Health Services, Regional Roads, Transit, Solid Waste Disposal, Water and Wastewater, Regional Planning and Growth Management, Social Assistance, Family and Children's Services, and Housing. York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities: Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville. For more information, visit our Web site at: www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Wendy Lewis, Corporate Communications Services, York Region

The Regional Municipality of York is committed to providing cost-effective, quality services that respond to the needs of our rapidly growing communities.  York Region is comprised of the following nine area municipalities:  Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and Whitchurch-Stouffville.  For more information, visit our Web site at:  www.region.york.on.ca

Contact: Patrick Casey, Senior Media Relations Specialist, York Region

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