2001 and beyond.
Our Beginnings: 2001-2015
The idea of York Region becoming a Character Community was initially conceived at an international Quest for Character Symposium hosted in April, 2001, by the York Region District School Board.
At that symposium, Town of Markham Mayor Don Cousens took on the challenge to host a forum about building cities of character.
June 7, 2001
York Regional Council approved the establishment of a Steering Committee to develop a proposal for a Character Community in York Region.
Enthusiastic support from a wide spectrum of members of area municipalities, business, educators, community organizations, and residents convinced the Steering Committee that a region-wide character community initiative would be welcomed in the Region.
January 24, 2002
York Regional Council approved a resolution declaring York Region to be a Character Community, the first regional municipality to do so in Canada.
February 12, 2002
The official launch of the York Region Character Community initiative took place with the unveiling of a logo, mission statement, vision statement and website. Within a few months, the 11 attributes were chosen, and retired NHL hockey player Wendel Clark was chosen to be the first Character Champion.
April 30, 2007
The Character Community initiative was granted charitable status as the first registered Character Community charity in Canada.
April 27, 2011
The launch of our 10th Anniversary Celebrations during the 5th Annual Character Community Awards.
November 2013 - February 2014
We renewed and updated our Mission and Vision after a Stategic Planning process.
We will being to roll out our rebranded materials and announce ways that we will celebrate our 15th anniversary.
Was a year of celebration at various events and activites as we remembered 15 years of Living with Character in York Region
On the Passing of Don Cousens.
From the Markham Economist & Sun, Simone Joseph
Former Markham mayor and member of York Region council Don Cousens died Feb. 23 at Markham Stouffville Hospital.
Cousens served as Markham mayor from 1994 to 2006.
“Don will be remembered for his commitment to public service and genuine ability to lead change,” said York Region chair and CEO Wayne Emmerson.
“As one of the founding members of the Character Community Foundation, his dedication and belief that good character makes a positive difference in building strong communities will live on.”
Cousens was 78.
“Don Cousens was a real force at the York Region District School Board, the Province of Ontario and here in Markham," said current Markham Mayor Frank Scarpitti.
An ordained Presbyterian minister, and an officer of the Canadian Forces, Cousens was also an executive at Honeywell Ltd., before entering politics in 1972.
Cousens was first elected to the Ontario Legislature in 1981. He was re-elected in 1985. His provincial career included postings as minister of Correctional Services, parliamentary assistant to the minister of Citizenship and Culture and deputy Speaker of the House.
As a member of York Region council, Cousens was chair of finance (1997 to 2002) and founding chair of the York Region Character Council. He was also past chair of World Vision Canada. Don was involved in the founding of the York Technology Network, now known as TechConnex.