Kingston honours former CAO Gerard Hunt with new park

Representatives from the City of Kingston, local school boards, and the family of former City of Kingston CAO Gerard Hunt unveil the sign marking Gerard Hunt Memorial Park.
Pictured are (L to R): Michel Charron, School Board Trustee, le Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est; Marc Bertrand, Director of Education and Secretary-Treasurer, le Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est; Kim Brown, wife of Gerard Hunt; Mayor Bryan Paterson; City Councillor Jimmy Hassan; and Stéphane Vachon, Director of Education, Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario.
Photo by Cris Vilela/Kingstonist.

The City of Kingston officially opened the Gerard Hunt Memorial Park, on Wheathill Street, on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 9, 2023. The park was named to honour the City’s long-time Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), who passed away in March of 2020 at the age of 62 due to cancer.

Rob Hosier, Organizational Change Manager for the City of Kingston, welcomed everyone attending the opening ceremonies, noting that the park will be a lasting legacy for a beloved member of the Kingston community. “Gerard Hunt was a thoughtful and dedicated leader who served our community for 20 years, including 10 years as the City’s Chief Administrative Officer. His unwavering leadership, mentorship and commitment to the well being of Kingston residents make this park naming a fitting tribute to his remarkable legacy.”

Construction for the park started in 2021, Hosier noted, stating that it had been thoughtfully designed with community benefit in mind, including neighbouring schools École secondaire catholique Sainte-Marie-Rivier and École secondaire publique Mille-Îles. “This wonderful park is connected to the schools, and will provide students and neighbours with access to a playground, splashpad, shade, shelter, and amphitheater, with potential space for a future community garden and community operated skating rink.”


The ribbon is cut, marking the grand opening of the Gerard Hunt Memorial Park in Kingston.
Pictured here (L to R): Marc Bertrand, Director of Education and Secretary-Treasurer, le Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est; Michel Charron, School Board Trustee, le Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est; Stéphane Vachon, Director of Education, Conseil des écoles publiques de l’Est de l’Ontario; Mayor Bryan Paterson; City Councillor Jimmy Hassan; and MP Mark Gerretsen. Photo by Cris Vilela/Kingstonist.

Mayor Bryan Paterson noted that the community members present at the opening celebration were “a testament to just how many people Gerard touched in his life.”

“I know he would have been so proud to see a space where people could gather together and enjoy time together as families and friends here in this beautiful new space,” Paterson said. “One of the things that excited Gerard the most was community partnerships. He would always just love projects where different aspects and different parts of the community would all work together on a on a common vision, and of course, this park is an example of that.”

Kim Brown, wife of the late Gerard Hunt, speaks as Rob Hosier, a City of Kingston representative, looks on. Photo by Cris Vilela/Kingstonist.


Member of Parliament (MP) Mark Gerretsen also reflected on Hunt’s passion for his work in the City of Kingston. “It’s really tough to to to talk about Gerard without thinking about many of the experiences that I had with him throughout the years I was a City Councillor… Gerard had the ability to bring out the best in everybody, he genuinely did. Gerard knew always knew exactly what to say, and how to phrase things to bring people together, to make our community a better place.”

Gerretsen added that Hunt was devoted to his family. “He was so incredibly proud of his family. He used to tell me of the trips that he would go on snowmobiling with his sons… He was a good, kind, human being that wanted the best in our community and he knew exactly how to bring people together to do that.”

Kim Brown, widow of Gerard Hunt, gave a warm thank-you on behalf of her whole family. “I want to thank everyone for coming today to celebrate with us the opening of this beautiful park. Mayor Paterson, thank you for bringing the motion to council, and [thank you to] all members of council for recognizing Gerard’s contributions… with this wonderful space. Our family is truly touched by this honour… I think he would be very humbled by this moment and honoured. Being recognized by his employer for doing what he loves is truly a magnificent [tribute].”

The speeches and ribbon-cutting took place surrounded by the sounds of children laughing and enjoying the park space, which Mayor Paterson happily noted was exactly as it should be. “This is an amazing space that will be enjoyed by the community for years to come, and I can see it’s already being tested out and getting the stamp of approval already by many young Kingstonians, so that’s amazing to see.”

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