Bancroft running for mayor of Ottawa, raised in Brandon Bay

Brandon Bay was raised in Bancroft, but is now rising to the top position in municipal politics in Ottawa. Bey spoke to The Bancroft Times about growing up in Bancroft and his campaign to become mayor of the Canadian capital. His parents, Lee and Gary, also comment on how they feel about their son, who is competing to be mayor of Ottawa.

Brandon Bay moved with his family to Bancroft when he was about a year old, according to his mother, Lee. Lee, her now ex-husband Gary, and Brandon were living in Toronto, where Lee grew up, but decided the Bancroft was a better place to raise a family. He also had family ties to the area. Gary’s family had settled in Paudash and a cottage across from Paudash Lake, where Lee’s family had their own seasonal hut they had met.

Gary says that Brandon was at Bancroft throughout his childhood and he has fond memories of that time;

“Building a house in a cloak, playing guitar around the campfire, swimming in the lake, tobogganing on the driveway, four-wheeling through the woods, snowmobiling, family trips to Darien Lake, Myrtle Beach and the like, and the joys of just getting up in the country A family,” he says.

Brandon recalls that his childhood was filled with the stuff of standard rural childhood, such as ATVs and snowmobiles, catching sunfish in rowboats, performing school plays, trick-or-treating in snowsuits, or getting lost in the woods.

“I remember my first live concert, watching The Arrogant Worms perform at The Village Playhouse. The Santa Claus Parade in the 1990s is probably a surprise standout, but I can still watch like it was yesterday. Of course, in the arena Countless hockey games, from it curling across the street and playing football on the grounds of L’Amable. And my fondest memories are the nine incredible summers I spent at Camp Can Aqua. Bancroft was a wonderful place to grow up,” he says.

Lee says that Brandon grew up in canoeing, which he is still paddling around waterways in Ottawa and here at Bancroft. She recalls that he also led camping trips for younger campers in Algonquin Park.

Brandon attended preschool at Cardiff Elementary School and then went through grade four to the now-closed Paudash Public School. He then transferred to Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School and then to North Hastings High School.

“For extra-curricular, there was always something going on. When I was younger, I organized a garbage pickup along Hwy 28, I played House League hockey and soccer, and in high school I coached both sports. I was on the ski team briefly and I was on the student council in class 12,” he says.

After his grandmother moved into the Greenbree Cottage retirement home, Brandon says he began volunteering there to help with his entertainment program.

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“It evolved into a full program where I coordinated other volunteers and we went in groups of four to five to play games and swap stories with residents,” he says.

Lee says Brandon has always had a close relationship with superiors over the years.

“It was about making sure people have the best experience, whether they are seniors or whether they are their generation, what it really is like to be in the community minded,” she says.

Gary says that Brandon was largely a leader from his kindergarten time, with his high school and university leadership roles showing a political side. While he saw him as a leader or in a leadership environment, he said that he didn’t really raise him for politics.

“A natural at motivation and social networking, he was also on the cover of the University of Ottawa Recruitment Guide,” he says.

Lee recalls that Brandon told him at the age of nine that he was going to become Prime Minister of Canada someday. She says that she has always followed politics and is quite knowledgeable about politics in Canada. Brandon confirms this and says that he remembers visiting his mother when she voted in the 1999 Ontario election, being fascinated by the process, and seeing how, even in a small town like Bancroft, they lived in the country. can bring about change.

“My student council stint in high school led to a long career in student governance at the University of Ottawa, where I joined and eventually chaired the Computer Science Student Association, and held board seats in several other administrative and academic bodies. My first university co-op job was with the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now called Global Affairs), and I have since worked in community associations in Ottawa. However, from the very beginning, I felt It is believed that the best politicians are those who lead a non-political life before representing others. Live experience helps to keep them humble and in touch with what ordinary citizens want and need from their government So, I wanted to get that experience before considering running,” he says.

Brandon has called Ottawa home since 2006, when he went there to attend the University of Ottawa. He has lived in five mohallas in five different wards. Lee says Brandon wants to make Ottawa a place to love for the whole world.

“I really believe that even if this mayoral campaign doesn’t work, he’s going to be involved somehow in making sure people out there are happy,” she says.

After university, Brandon became a software developer, and now works at a company called Welby, which manages the software development team. Welby Invest is also a member of the Ottawa Accelerator Program. They build software for retirement communities that enables employees to spend more time helping residents than on administrative tasks. Early in this career Brandon credits his father, who runs Byte to Byte, a store that has sold and serviced computers at Bancroft since 1988, who kept them on a home computer until 1990.

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“Especially at Bancroft, this was unheard of. I grew up fascinated by computers, and got my start as a developer in my teens, building websites for local businesses and revising my favorite video games. Brian Poste in high school also deserves a mention, for helping make programming so much easier. Growing up, I had no other choice. I knew what I wanted to do,” he says.

Brandon’s wife Rachel works from home as a graphic designer for a large software company, and they live in Riverview Park with their dog, Timber. They originally met when Brandon worked in Boston for several years from 2014 to 2018.

Brandon says he wants to run for Ottawa mayor to address issues that matter to him and his generation; Housing affordability, the environment, rapprochement with Indigenous people, employment opportunities and how COVID-19 has changed them and the failures in transit and policing over the years need to be addressed.

“My top priority is to make the next city hall, no matter what, prioritize the right issues. If I am elected myself, I am looking forward to speeding up projects and leveraging technology in new and better ways. Ottawa’s new official plan sets a lot of good priorities but it’s not too early at all. The set deadlines make for a great Ottawa for the next generation, but they do little for it, which has been felt at best neglected by the government for our entire adult lives. My goal is to accelerate the development of affordable housing and meet 15-minute communities [part of Ottawa’s new official plan, these are compact, well-connected places with a clustering of diverse land uses such as housing, shops, services, etc., communities that support active transportation and transit, reduce car dependency and enable residents to live car free or car light-see www.engage.ottawa.ca for more information] and investing in and promoting local businesses. I will launch a centralized marketing platform where events and festivals are more discoverable and the city benefits quickly and directly from its tourism industry. I want to invest more money in smart sustainability issues. Ottawa Community Housing is leading the charge on overall community power and temperature control and we should make this model the first choice when building all communities through a combination of incentives and taxes,” he says.

Brandon feels that his mayor’s platform is built on the priorities of Ottawa’s citizens, and everyone he has spoken to has been warm and receptive.

“I have heard time and again that no politician has ever tried to listen to him before and I have felt the same way myself. I’m running the kind of campaign I’ve always wanted from politicians; Listening to people, supporting their needs and preferences, and not attacking other candidates or groups of people. Some warned me about the negativity of the internet and the dark side of politics, but this has been a really positive experience so far. On the day I filed my paperwork, I met some members of the media and they were kind and genuinely interested in talking to me. I have spoken to some voters who are standing behind other candidates and even they are happy to share their views, talk about issues and wish me all the best,” he says.

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Gary thinks that although he may be a little biased, he thinks that Brandon would make a great mayor.

“Ottawa will benefit from his drive, enthusiasm, dedication, intelligence and compassion. He is young, he is ambitious, very intelligent. It may just be time for the next generation to decide their own future!” He says.

Lee says Brandon still returns to Bancroft to see family and friends as often as his busy schedule allows.

“This past spring, he and his brothers and their wives both moved to Bancroft to spend the weekend. They like to go to Egan Chutes [Provincial Park] And explore around there,” she says.

Brandon confirms this, although the pandemic has made it more challenging over the years.

He says, “I visit my father as often as I get a chance and I’m trying to make up for the time I’ve lost, as well as show my wife, who is from Boston, my childhood. around the house,” he says.

In Brandon’s opinion, Bancroft hasn’t changed much, and he thinks it basically has the same cottage country charm it always has.

“Sure, the details are different; We have large grocery stores in different locations, we have five traffic lights instead of two and some of the businesses I used to frequent have been replaced by others. [However]it is bustling in summer and quiet in winter. [Rockhound] The Jamboree remains a huge attraction, the local theater is shining and our main street remains a great place to run a boutique business. If I ever find myself in the market for a cottage, or a quiet place to retire, I would look to Bancroft in the first place,” he says.

Although Ottawa is now his home, Brandon says Bancroft will always hold a special place in his heart.

“It’s a wonderful city full of wonderful people. If your readers want to learn more about my campaign from afar, they can do so at www.brandonbay.ca.”

Michael Riley, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, The Bancroft Times

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