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Nancy Diamond named senior of the year posthumously

Suzie Diamond, the daughter of former regional and city councillor Nancy Diamond, accepts the Oshawa Senior Citizen Centres award for Senior of the Year from Mayor of Oshawa John Henry, awarded posthumously to her mother. (Photo by Joel Wittnebel).

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Hundreds of people gathered at Memorial Park took a minute away from music and dancing to pay homage to former Councillor Nancy Diamond as she was honoured posthumously as the Oshawa Senior Citizens Centres (OSCC) Senior of the Year.

Mayor John Henry presented the award to Diamond’s daughter Suzie, noting that her mother was a “strong community leader” and that she “left an imprint on this city.”

“I am so proud of what she’s done,” Henry said.

Diamond’s political career began when she was elected as a city councillor in 1988. It was the beginning of a career in municipal politics that would span nearly three decades, and see her serve as mayor for 12 years between 1991 and 2003. After taking a break from politics, she returned in 2010 when she was elected as a city and regional councillor.

She was also a dedicated community volunteer, earning the YWCA Woman of Distinction award, being named an honorary director of the Friends of Second Marsh, honorary member of the Durham Region Children’s Aid Society and honorary president of the IODE Golden Jubilee. She also spent several years on the OSCC Board from 1984 to 1987 and from 2011 until 2017.

Diamond passed away suddenly on Feb. 12.

“We’re very touched and I knew she would be as well,” Suzie Diamond said after accepting the award.

Speaking during the OSCC’s Swing into Summer event, Suzie said that over time, her mother became a strong activist for seniors in the community and worked to try and get people to confront their inner biases when it came to age.

“Agism is still rampant and it should not be acceptable,” Suzie said.

Also in attendance at the event were several of Diamond’s former fellow councillors and MPP Jennifer French.

“I have the opportunity as a woman in politics, not to stand in Nancy’s shadow, but in the patches of light that she created,” French said. “We have been very blessed in the City of Oshawa and we continue to be.”