Some local residents got quite a surprise Thursday night, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stopped at Webers for a burger and to greet those who also were at the iconic Highway 11 eatery.
Famous burgers and even better company at stops heading south to Barrie tonight. See you tomorrow morning in Bradford - a big day for families and the Canada Child Benefit. pic.twitter.com/jWtTyEFnnD— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) 20 July 2018
The PM, who was travelling through the region after a visit to the Tim Hortons Memorial Camp in Parry Sound, chatted with staff including Orillia's Mike McParland, known as The Key Man for his critical role in keeping the flow of food moving at the busy restaurant. He has been flipping burgers at Webers since it opened in 1963.
The PM continued to sample the region's hotspots Friday morning when he stopped at Caldense Bakery in Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Accompanied by several security guards, Trudeau had a meet-and-greet with the bakery’s owner and staff and everyone else inside.
Bakery owner Alex Bournazakis said he got a call to inform him about the visit 15 minutes before Trudeau arrived.
“You don’t expect the prime minister of your nation to walk into a small bakery in Bradford. Pretty darn exciting if you ask me,” he said.
“(It was) chaos. Good feelings he wanted to come into my establishment. He shook hands with everyone, kissing babies… just the ordinary stuff I think for him.”
Bournazakis, along with many others there, took selfies with the prime minister, who also visited Barnstormer Brewing and Distilling Co. in Barrie Thursday.
After leaving, he was on his way to Markham, said BWG Coun. Raj Sandhu, who was at the bakery for the 30-minute visit.
“(I’m) just proud that our prime minister of Canada decided to stop in Bradford,” he said. “I’ve met other prime ministers in my life, but he doesn’t rush, especially when it comes to babies and seniors.”
Sandhu’s 12-year-old daughter, Simran, took a photo with Trudeau.
“It was cool because I also want to be prime minister one day,” she said.
Her cousin, Harvir Sandhu, 12, also got to meet the prime minister.
“(It was) really cool and exciting because he’s so special in Canada. Meeting him was an honour,” he said.
BWG residents Anne Cordes and Debbie Duhamel said they heard about the visit shortly beforehand and got there in time to talk to Trudeau.
“We were told (the surprise visitor) attended the G7, he had nice hair, and he was born in Christmas Day. We thought, ‘Justin Trudeau!’” said Cordes.
Plenty of people took photos with the prime minister and got his autograph, she said.
“He’s got an infectious smile.”
Duhamel said she asked Trudeau how his mom is doing.
“He is so down to earth. He is very endearing. He is very accommodating, gracious, he takes his time,” she said.
But after visiting a Bradford bakery known for its Portuguese custard tarts — did he take any treats for the road?
“About 20 agents bought (an assortment of) Portuguese pastries,” Bournazakis said, with a laugh.