Dufferin News Municipal

Grand Valley Commemorates Councillor Elizabeth Taylor


Grand Valley continues to mourn the passing of Councillor Elizabeth Taylor, which occurred on June 1. The unexpected news follows Taylor providing notice of resignation several weeks prior.

“Everywhere you look, Elizabeth’s fingerprints are there,” says Councillor Rick Taylor.

Before the Grand Valley Council meeting on June 8, 2021, Mayor Steve Soloman took the time to acknowledge Elizabeth Taylor’s passing. Mayor Soloman thanked Elizabeth Taylor’s family for ‘sharing her with them’ during her council years.

“She certainly will be missed in this room,” Soloman solemnly stated. “We have no one like her on our team.”

The mayor invited his colleagues to share memories and comments they had regarding the councillor.

Councillor Stephen Miles, appointed to council this term, shared how he hadn’t known Elizabeth Taylor as long as the rest of his peers had, but she was very welcoming to him when he joined. Furthermore, Miles explained how Taylor went out of her way to be a voice for communities such as the youth, the elderly, and the business people in town, in addition to institutions like the Grand Valley Food Bank.

“She took a real position in representing people that are not often represented in town,” asserted Miles. “She was a really great supporter of all of the different parts of our community.” 

Deputy Mayor Philip Rentsch explained how he had known Elizabeth Taylor ‘his whole life,’ stating how she had been the organist at the church he attended. 

Rentsch described the last time he spoke to Taylor one-on-one, saying it was after council passed the town’s budget. 

“She called me and thanked me for being here, for doing the budget,” retold Rentsch. “And I said, ‘Well I care about the budget. I’m glad you’re here because you care about everything else.'”

‘Everything else’ could be taken quite literally when it comes to Elizabeth Taylor’s work on Grand Valley’s council. During her three terms, she had represented the town on the following.

  • Grand Valley Business Improvement Association
  • Arts, Culture, and Tourism Committee
  • Grand Valley Economic Development Committee
  • Grand Valley Community Centre Board
  • Grand Valley Medical-Dental Care Board

And anybody familiar with Elizabeth Taylor knows she did not limit the extent of the community contributions to her time on council or the capacity of a councillor.

“Liz was not a person who sat on the sidelines and watched things happen. She was always involved,” stated Councillor Rick Taylor. “In fact, all the years she lived in Grand Valley, I don’t think she ever saw any parades in Grand Valley because she was always in them.”

Councillor Rick Taylor went on to say how she tackled everything with zeal and excitement, generally taking on leadership roles. Moreover, she did a lot of planning for the events that had taken place in town.

“Theres a big void and the town’s certainly different without her,” said Councillor Rick Taylor. 

Mayor Soloman too recognized Taylor for being a community leader and organizer, telling how she arranged the Christmas Tree lighting and the fireworks displays for July 1 events.

“She goes out and buys the fireworks for July 1,” recounts the mayor. “She’s done the heavy work, I am just there to do the lighting.”

Town Planner Mark Kluge also had a story to share about Elizabeth Taylor.

“In 30 years of public service, I’ve never had a councillor bake for me and get me Christmas greens for my urns on my porch,” commented Kluge, mentioning that this exchange was the last time he had seen her in person. 

The planner then took a more serious tone. “Working with her, it just far surpasses anything. She was a force to be reckoned with.” 

To commemorate Elizabeth Taylor and the vital additions she made over her fifty-plus years in Grand Valley, Councillor Rick Taylor proposed a motion to name the park at William Street and River Street, where the pavilion is, in honour of her. 

“She was the driving force behind getting that there,” expounded Councillor Rick Taylor. It was revealed that the councillor had already consulted Elizabeth Taylor’s family on whether they considered it appropriate. 

The matter was added to the agenda under new business to allow the council to consider it that night.

When it came time to vote, they decided on what to name the park to appropriately celebrate the life of Elizabeth Taylor and all that she brought to Grand Valley.

At first, the ‘Elizabeth Taylor Memorial Park’ was suggested as a name. The town’s Chief Administrative Officer Meghan Townsend advised simplifying it.

“I’m bringing my personal, not professional, opinion,” yielded Townsend. “That sounds a little more sad than she may have wanted it.”

Townsend instead recommended ‘Elizabeth Taylor Park.’ 

Grand Valley’s mayor agreed, saying Taylor was not a ‘memorial sort of person,’ and would likely rather the park’s name be ‘said with a smile.’ 

“And many, many years down the road, they’ll be thinking it’s Elizabeth Taylor the actress anyways,” teased Mayor Soloman.

Grand Valley’s council passed the motion to name the park at William Street and River Street, ‘Elizabeth Taylor Park.’ Updates are expected to be provided through the town’s social media accounts, website, and future council meetings. 

At the meeting, CAO Townsend shared how donations are being made to Grand Valley’s Business Improvement Area in the name of Elizabeth Taylor. One can obtain more details on contributing to the local BIA by contacting the Grand Valley municipal office. 

References – Grand Valley Commemorates Councillor Elizabeth Taylor

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