Skip to content

Bradford community mourns death of Coun. Gary Baynes (16 photos)

Bradford community remembers Ward 2 Councillor Gary Baynes

Gary Baynes didn’t have to step up to run for a seat on Bradford West Gwillimbury Council. 

He already had a career, a high-powered career in finance with the TD Bank. He was Assistant Vice President in Information Technology, with experience in managing an annual budget of $30 million. 

It was a desire to bring his expertise to municipal governance that led him to step up, and once elected as the representative for Ward 2, to serve as a watchdog for the residents, especially at budget time. 

In his two terms on council, Baynes persuaded fellow councillors to put more money aside for road and sidewalk infrastructure in the older parts of town; to curb the reliance on outside consultants and studies; and to cut back on the Special Capital Levy, when residents were facing heavy tax hikes. 

As Baynes noted in his last campaign, “As a lifetime resident of Bradford West Gwillimbury, I am determined to make every tax dollar count.”

He grew up in rural West Gwillimbury on a dairy farm, and in his youth, was a force to be reckoned with in competitive fastball.  

Chair of the Active Transportation Committee, he encouraged the ‘Walk ‘n Wheel Wednesdays’ at local elementary schools, and community hikes on the municipal trails. Always hands-on, he participated in the events and encouraged others to do the same. 

Baynes has also been a member of the Traffic Committee, chair of the Downtown Revitalization Committee, and a member of the Holland Marsh Drainage Board. 

Known for his quick wit and math smarts, Baynes was not one to shy away from speaking out if he felt something wasn’t right,  ensuring accuracy and fairness in all his decision making. 

“He was proud of the community he lived in and residents he served,” noted Ward 1 councillor Raj Sandhu. “Gary and I sat side by side at council and shared many stories and laughs.” 

“I always called him ‘Friendly Giant.’ He will be missed by his colleagues and our community. I am glad I have gotten to know Gary since he became a councillor. Rest in peace my friend.”

Deputy Mayor James Leduc expressed his condolences and shared some fond memories he had with Baynes while serving on council. 

“Councillor Baynes was an absolute gem on council,” he shared. “He always worked very hard for his residents. He used his humour in times when council needed a moment of relief after a long hard day of work.”

“He loved his job as a councillor and treated every resident like they were a family member. He will be sorely missed and always remembered.”

On her Facebook page, MPP Caroline Mulroney shared a photo of herself and daughter Miranda with Baynes, along with her heartfelt condolences to the family.  

"Gary was a champion for the residents of Bradford West Gwillimbury and made our community brighter," she said. "My children always had fun when Gary was around, especially Miranda, with whom he would joke around and had a special bond."

“Gary was a huge part of our council team and his contributions will be greatly missed,” said Mayor Rob Keffer. “On behalf of council and staff of the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, we offer our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends. Gary touched so many lives and he will be missed by all of us.” 

Flags will be flown at half-mast at town facilities for the duration of this week. 

A celebration of life will be held at a later date. In his memory, donations can be made to the Gary Baynes Memorial Sports Fund to assist underprivileged kids to participate in sports (Please make cheques payable to The Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, memo line Gary Baynes Memorial Sports Fund and mail to the funeral home, P.O. Box 318, Bradford, ON L3Z 2A9).