The responsibility that accompanies being a member of government is immense, in that you are tasked with the challenge of representing constituents in many different decisions, conflicts and challenges. I often wonder why anyone undertakes the task, but am glad that a handful of individuals choose to do this often thankless job.
One such individual is Councillor Bobbie Drew, the regional representative for Scugog Township, who has served the public and represented the Township of Scugog, in matters pertaining to the Region of Durham for nearly thirty years.
Bobbie Drew, born Roberta Beamish, was raised in the Bluffs area of Scarborough. Her father worked for the Scarborough Board of education and her mom, although a stay at home mother, was heavily involved in the local church, as well as operating a catering business as a hobby.
During the summer months, Bobbie helped out at the family owned restaurant in Woodland Beach and, while attending R.H. King, she worked at a local convenience store. She also had a part-time job, shampooing heads at a local salon, during Christmas vacation. She met a hairdresser, during her stint at the beauty salon, and took a fancy to him. Rick Drew, must have noticed the young assistant, as they started dating soon afterward.
Bobbie’s first full time job was at Garrett Hodson, a direct mail firm, where she had her first taste of travel, by winning a trip to Texas. Unfortunately, the company sold to a larger conglomerate which meant a move for Bobbie. Instead, she decided to change careers and joined Columbia Records, as the assistant manager of advertising, and later, executive assistant to the VP of Marketing.
Bobbie and Rick were married, and the following year started a family, with the birth of their daughter Korin. They decided that Scarborough was not the place the Drew's wanted to raise a family, and Rick, who had visited Port Perry to go fishing when he first came to Canada from the U.K., suggested the town as a possible relocation destination.
“I thought the town was beautiful. That’s what inspired me first,” Bobbie explained.
After a visit, both Bobbie and Rick decided they wanted to move here, and Rick opened a beauty salon on Queen Street, while they lived in a small apartment in the back. Bobbie was a stay at home mom, raising their daughter and two sons Brett and Landon, while Rick operated the salon. It was not long until the couple became immersed in the Port Perry way of life, and Rick became involved in the Chamber of Commerce, and Bobbie served as Secretary/Treasurer for nine years.
Bobbie was involved in volunteer work at R.H. Cornish elementary school, and worked a number of jobs with the YMCA, which allowed her to bring her youngest along. Both Bobbie and husband Rick were involved in the ‘Western Weekend’, a Chamber event, which is still talked about today. The event was always well attended, and was a financial success for the Chamber, local businesses, and service groups involved.
In 1985 Bobbie ran for school trustee. The outcome was unsuccessful for the up and coming politician, as she lost by seven votes. Three years later, she ran again and this time was voted in by a large majority.
I asked Bobbie how she became involved in politics. “I was encouraged with my involvement in the school community, to run for trustee.”
She continued looking after the issues of education for twelve years. Bobbie ran for Ward 2 Councillor, and in 2003 joined the council. Working with Mayor Marilyn Pierce and council, was both challenging and rewarding, and the feeling of accomplishment proved to be quite satisfying, Mrs. drew conveyed.
In 2010, Bobbie decided to take her political career one step further and ran for Regional Councillor, representing Scugog in all matters of the region.
During the nearly thirty years of her political career, Bobbie has been involved in countless events and projects. Among them were the library expansion, the traffic circle, and phase one of the waterfront expansion. Bobbie was also involved in the sale of hydro, which gave the Township some much needed reserves for future projects and unforeseen emergencies. It gave the Township the ability to lend itself money for road repair and construction, all of which was paid back, and still left enough money to assist with projects, such as the expansion of the hospital.
“I love working with the people of Scugog, as well as finding solutions with staff,” Bobbie said, summing up her love of the job.
In the last council, Bobbie Drew acted as deputy Mayor and oversaw many committees. During her seven years on council, she has chaired Parks and Recreation, Budget, Healthy Lake Scugog and Canada Day Palmer Park committees. She has spent eight years on the Public Arts Committee, as well as the Scugog Council for the Arts, and numerous other committees and boards. One of her most enjoyable tasks is serving on the Police Services Board, which gives her great insight into law and order.
Preparing for meetings takes up 40% of her time, and she loves to sing, evidence of which is in the archives of the Scugog Choral Society. The Township of Scugog is fortunate to have Bobbie Drew as part of the team. Her experience and leadership has served our community well.
Jonathan van Bilsen is a photographer, published author, columnist and keynote speaker. Follow his adventures at photosNtravel.com
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Jonathan van Bilsen
Join Jonathan van Bilsen in the Standard as he begins a series of feature articles on prominent residents of North Durham in his new column, The Story Behind The Person.