The South Dumfries Community Centre was filled with over a hundred well-wishers on May 11th, as the big sign reveal celebrated the Nixon family for their contributions in provincial and federal politics in Brant over 70 years and three generations.
Harry Nixon served in the Mitchell/Hepburn provincial legislatures starting in 1919 and he became Ontario Premier in 1943.
Robert (Bob) Nixon won his first provincial by-election in 1962 shortly after his father’s death and retired in 1992.
Part of his legacy was as Treasurer for Ontario and leader of the Liberal Party for Ontario with over 20 years of balanced budgets. After politics, Bob went on to become Chairman of the Board for Atomic Energy Canada.
Jane Stewart, Bob’s daughter, Won her first election in 1993 and became Ministers for: National Revenue; Northern and Indian Affairs; and Human Resources Development retiring in 2004.
She went on to become Executive Director of the International Labour Organizations with the United Nations in New York City.
The Event to reveal the sign was hosted by Brant Mayor Ron Eddy and Councillor John Wheat.
Mayor Eddy shared the Nixon family history back to the Charles Nixon family arrival in the area in 1850, then the Township of Dumfries.
Also, Eddy proudly recognized the famous St. George historical home, Sunnyside, currently owned by David Bailey, was opened by Harry Nixon’s wife Alice as the Township offices of South Dumfries.
Councillor Wheat gave credit to a group he referred to as ‘Those in the sandbox’ who were the seminal initiative to seek this recognition including Dave Levac, Steve Paiken, Mark Littell, , Howard Brown, Paul Randorf, Henry Stolp, and Mike Hancock.
They approached Wheat, and the County of Brant senior administration responded willingly and expediently to make this event possible. Many attending had stories when Bob was a teacher at Pauline Johnson CVI in Brantford before he was convinced to run for provincial politics. All still feel a kinship with the family on so many levels.
Bob’s kids, John, Jane, Sara, Harry and were there with him to accept the honour.
Even Jane’s Grandson Grandson, Nixon, (shown with Dad, Bobby and Mom, Laura), managed a little attention greeting family and strangers, perhaps foreboding or auditioning for the next Nixon in politics.
Bob Nixon is understandably proud of his United Empire Loyalist roots. Scottish and Irish stock, Charles Nixon and family arrived in Grimsby from the New Jersey colony in 1839 and then moved by horse drawn carriage to Brant in 1850. The massive stone homestead, Woodview Farm, was built by Charles and is still a focal point of the family legacy on Hwy 5. Seven generations have been and continue today as committed advocates for the community, province and the country. The Nixon Family will forever be fondly recognized by friends, family, neighbours and colleagues for many generations to come.