Pedestrian bridge renamed to celebrate Marianne Wilkinson’s public service and leadership

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The pedestrian bridge that connects north and south Kanata across Highway 417 has been renamed the Marianne Wilkinson Pedestrian Bridge, in honour of the long-time municipal politician and community leader. The new name was unveiled today by Mayor Jim Watson at a special ceremony attended by Ms. Wilkinson’s family, some Council colleagues and Kanata-Carleton MP-elect Jenna Sudds.

Ms. Wilkinson had a distinguished public service career, serving the residents in her Kanata community for more than 50 years. She was the first woman to run for March Township Council in 1970 and became the first woman Reeve of March Township in 1976.

As March Township Reeve, Ms. Wilkinson was involved with the amalgamation of the western townships that became the City of Kanata, where she was elected as its first mayor in 1978. When the amalgamated City of Ottawa formed in 2001, Marianne Wilkinson would continue to represent the interests of her residents as Councillor for Kanata North, until she left municipal politics in 2018.

Ms. Wilkinson’s commitment to her community went beyond the political service, as she was actively involved with many area charities and associations, including the Kanata Food Cupboard, the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre, and the Kanata Choral Association.

In addition to the wealth of knowledge and experience that she brought to the Council table, Ms. Wilkinson was instrumental in the construction of the Kanata pedestrian bridge, which now carries her name, and expanding the Beaverbrook community tradition of Give Away Week to the entire city.

Quotes

“Marianne has witnessed how our city has grown, evolved and changed over her 50-years of public service, and she has played a leadership role in that development. During that same time, she also inspired and witness changes for gender equity. Marianne served as a role model for young women to realize their potential and become strong leaders in politics and public service. The bridge is a fitting tribute to Marianne, as it is a concrete example of how she kept the community connected and served as a leader for others to follow in her footsteps.”

Mayor Jim Watson

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