Don McIsaac is Orillia’s new mayor after earning 57.28 percent of the ballots cast during the municipal election on Monday night.
McIsaac’s 4,861 votes topped two-term Ward 3 councillor Mason Ainsworth’s 3,345 votes (39.42 percent), and John Edward Maxwell’s 280 (3.30 percent).
"We showed up, we answered phone calls, we went to debates, we answered surveys, we knocked on doors, and we took the high road," McIsaac said. "The view is always better from the high road, and we won."
McIsaac admits this election campaign was “different” from most because of the heated debates and the serious allegations made by Ainsworth a few weeks ago (Click here to read that story.)
“My parents always taught me to do the right thing,” he said. “We took the high road and we won.”
If he had to go through the election process all over again, McIsaac says he wouldn’t do anything differently.
“To me and my team what’s gratifying is the relationships we made and the people we’ve met," he said. "They’ve been absolutely stunning and overwhelming for us."
McIsaac will be the fourth member of his family to be the mayor of the Sunshine City. His father, Burt, his mother, Pat, and his Uncle, John, have all served in the city's top political post.
“It’s kind of the family business,” he said. “For me, it’s not an entitlement. I’m honoured to have the trust of the voters of Orillia, and we are going to work real hard to make sure they aren’t disappointed.”
McIsaac, 66, says the biggest issues he heard about while canvassing included people's struggles to find a doctor, the high cost of living, and difficulty finding an affordable home. He also heard about homelessness, people suffering from drug and opioid addictions, and mental health issues.
In a speech at his election night party at Couchiching Golf and Country Club, McIsaac thanked his volunteers and supporters.
“We had a message, it resonated, we stuck to our moral values, and it worked,” he said.
Paul Cleary, a local real estate broker, was at McIsaac’s party on Monday night. McIsaac says Cleary was one of his biggest supporters during the campaign.
“After the first mayor debate at St. Paul’s Centre, I was so offended by how Mason (Ainsworth) attacked Don,” Cleary explained. “I went up to Don and said I will do whatever I can to help you out.”
Cleary says he canvassed for McIsaac nearly every day during the election campaign.
“During my conversations with Don I realized that he is a gentleman, and he has integrity,” he said. “Through the whole process, he said we take the high road on everything, and I appreciated that mindset.”
Cleary says he is "completely thrilled" with tonight’s results.
“I knew it was going to happen,” he said. “He’s an amazing man, a world-class businessman, and we are lucky to have him as the mayor of Orillia.”
McIsaac and the new council will be sworn in at a special meeting on Nov. 21. Their first council meeting will be Nov. 28.