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Summerside's Basil Stewart named to Order of Canada

['Basil Stewart is doing something he hasn’t been able to do for decades — enjoy a mid-afternoon cup of coffee by the fireplace in the living room of his Coronation Avenue home. After 29 years as Summerside’s mayor, the 65-year-old is taking it easy, focusing on family although he didn’t discount a future in politics. ']
Basil Stewart. File photo

Basil Stewart is being inducted into the Order of Canada.

Governor General Julie Payette recently announced 125 new appointments to the order, including three Islanders.

Joining Stewart, Summerside’s former long-time mayor, are Allan Andrews, of Cornwall and Raymond Murphy, of Charlottetown.

According to the citation, Stewart received the appointment for “his contributions leading to the economic growth and development of his province, and for his commitment to a range of regional and national boards.”

Stewart said Monday that he is honoured by the recognition.

“I gave it my best shot as mayor over the years … somebody, someplace, across the country decided to say ‘thank you,’ and I appreciate it,” he said.  

About a month ago Stewart suffered a cardiac-related health emergency and is still recovering.

A date has not been announced yet for the induction ceremony, but Stewart expects it won’t be for a few months; he hopes to have recovered enough by then to attend the ceremony.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967 and is Canada’s highest civilian honour. More than 7,000 people have been inducted to date.

Stewart was mayor of Summerside from 1985 to 2014 and is a former president of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities. He has also been a member or chairman of a number of other organizations.

He is also currently a board member of the National Capital Commission, which is an organization responsible for managing public land and properties in the Ottawa area.

Stewart recently opened a Dixie Lee restaurant franchise in Downtown Summerside with his son Major.

During his time as mayor, Stewart presided over the community during the tumultuous early 1990s, which saw the closure of CFB Summerside in 1991 and the amalgamation of the Town of Summerside with its surrounding communities in 1995.

Stewart and the many councillors he worked with also helped bring significant infrastructure projects to the community, such as the Credit Union Place civic centre, the redevelopment of the old west-end sea wall into Green’s Shore, the city’s baywalk boardwalk and the city’s 12-megawatts wind power generating station.

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