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City fetes parade founder, longtime seniors volunteer

The Thorold Senior Citizens of the Year Awards were handed out Wednesday; the annual awards honour two older adults for their contributions to the community

It was a joyous Wednesday morning at the Thorold Seniors’ Centre as the official Thorold Senior Citizens of the Year Awards were handed out.

Every year, the awards ceremony aims to recognize two older adults for their contributions to the local community. Several city officials were on hand to honour this year’s recipients.

Tony Vandermaas was named 2022 Thorold Senior of the Year for all his volunteer work in Thorold for the past few decades.

Vandermaas was the founder of the Thorold Santa Claus Parade back in 1991—and he is the first and current town crier for the City of Thorold. He also sat on many city committees and has previously received an Ontario Volunteer Service Award for his work. He is currently chair of the city's library board.

“I do have to mention that no man is an island, as they say,” Vandermaas said in a speech. “I didn’t do any of this myself. It was all done with the help of a lot of great committee workers, staff at the library and I want to thank them. I couldn’t have done it by myself. ”

The 2022 Thorold Senior Citizens Association Senior of the Year went to Lora Vary, who won the award for her multiple achievements at the Thorold Seniors’ Centre.

Vary was the president of the Thorold Senior Citizens Association from 2016 until 2021 and she spearheaded many different initiatives during her tenure, such as the Seniors Information Fairs, Mother’s Day Tea, and fashion shows.

“This has got to be one of the friendliest seniors clubs anywhere,” Vary said, while receiving her award. “Communities need seniors and seniors need communities that offer safe, friendly places for gathering together and enjoying activities. I feel that Thorold and this group does a great job helping seniors stay involved and active.”