The former Lions Park in Port Credit (located at 20 Rosewood Avenue) was officially renamed Harold E. Kennedy Memorial Park in 2011 in honour of the long-serving and beloved City Councillor Harold Kennedy, who passed away in 2009.
For most of his 27 years on City Council, Harold Kennedy represented the residents of Ward 1 for 26 years, retiring in 1994. In 1997 he returned as an interim councillor for Ward 5 when Councillor Frank McKechnie passed away.
Harold Elgie Kennedy (or “Hal” as he was known to those close to him) was active in many facets of the community, and always looked to give back.
Seen as a grassroots councillor who was in touch with his constituents, Harold grew up knowing the value of hard work. Political service was something ingrained in the family – his father, John, was a Township Councillor and clerk; his uncle, T.L. Kennedy, was the long-serving Provincial Minister of Agriculture and briefly served as Premier; and his brother Doug was an MPP for 17 years.
Harold was born in 1926 on the family farm in Dixie, he was youngest of ten children of John and Evelyn Kennedy. Harold’s father passed away in 1931, leaving Evelyn with the unenviable task of raising a large family during the Great Depression.
In an effort to provide for her young family, and perhaps to give the children a creative outlet, Evelyn created “The Kennedy Kids”, a radio drama show on CBC Radio which she wrote and in which her children starred.
The popular show focused on the Kennedy family and community life around the family farm. After the outbreak of the Second World War, Evelyn also took a job with Dominion Small Arms Ltd. at the foot of Dixie Road in Lakeview.
She was also a teacher in two local one-room schoolhouses, ran a nursery school, and served as a missionary in her later years. Much of Harold’s demeanor was inspired by his mother. For more on the life of times of Evelyn Kennedy and the Kennedy family, we recommend When Lightning Strikes by Joyce Beaton.
Harold first ran for Councillor in 1967 and was elected to 10 consecutive terms. He was also a founding member of Air Cadet Squadron 845 and the Cadet Organization Police School.
He was active with the Credit Valley Lions Club, St. John Ambulance, Peel Children’s Centre, Peel Children’s Safety Village, the Mississauga District Boy Scouts of Canada, the Ontario Traffic Conference, Traffic Safety School Patrollers Program, Trinity Anglican Church in Port Credit, and was a lifetime member of the Mississauga Traffic Safety Council.
In 1992 he was elected as Chair of the Credit Valley Conservation Authority and was a driving force behind the creation of Lakefront Promenade Park and an avid and active supporter of Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens. Harold was also an honourary director with Heritage Mississauga from 1982 to 1985.
Harold was not flashy, and did not relish public speaking or political debate, but those who knew him and worked with him remembered Harold with words like “decency”, “gentleman”, “straightforward”, “honest”, “charming”, “generous”, “humble”, “caring”, and “principled”.
Remembered as a practical joker who lived life on his own schedule, Mississauga is a better place because of Harold’s remarkable career in public service. There are plaques commemorating his many contributions to life in our city both in Harold E. Kennedy Memorial Park and in his beloved Brueckner Rhododendron Gardens.