We can thank former Parks & Rec Director Bob Mills for our facilities – now a park honours him

(Bob Mills, Goulbourn Township’s former Parks and Recreation Director, was officially honoured on October 27, 2022, with a Stittsville park being named after him for his 24-year commitment and dedication to the former township. Photos: Stittsville Central)

Bob Mills was the former Goulbourn Township’s Parks and Recreation Director for 24 years. He was instrumental for bringing many of the facilities we use today to the communities of Glen Cairn, Richmond and Stittsville. Bob was consistently focused on the quality of the build and pristine maintenance conditions for all the recreation facilities he oversaw all for the betterment of the community.

Bob was responsible for such projects as the Richmond Lions Park that was constructed for $90,000; the Stittsville Community Centre (Johnny Leroux Arena); the Stittsville tennis courts; the Stittsville lawn bowling greens; the Alexander Grove Ball Diamond; the Glen Cairn Arena; the development of the pathway in Bell Park (Rotary W.J. Bell Peace Park) and ensured it was a passive park; he worked closely with the local school boards encouraging them to purchase the maintenance materials, but offered his team to perform the upgrades and maintenance on their ball diamonds and soccer fields; and, he was responsible for overseeing the development of the Goulbourn Recreation Complex (CARdel Recreation Complex-Goulbourn) – these are just a few of the projects that Bob managed. When the indoor arenas were built, Bob always ensured and strongly stipulated that time was donated for those with special needs to use the facilities.

For all of the years of dedication to our communities and to Goulbourn Township, it is only deserving that Bob be recognized in a meaningful way.

(Allan Ryan and Bob Mills met up with us in July of 2021 when work was still being completed on the Bob Mills Park.)

Allan Ryan, a former Goulbourn Councillor who worked closely with Bob Mills, could not let him go unnoticed. Last year, Ryan put forward the recommendation that a park be named in his honour. “I was always impressed by Bob. How he took his time, thought projects through and he always checked things out before decisions were made by Council. What really stood out for me, he was always keenly conscientious of the taxpayers’ money. You’d think it was his own!” stated Allan. “He is a dear friend and golf buddy. He always loved his job in Goulbourn and he is finally being honoured,” ended Ryan.

(At the official naming ceremony on October 27, 2022, Bob Mills enlightened the audience with many stories of his years working for Goulbourn Township. Mayor Jim Watson chuckles at just one of them.)

In a conversation or two, if you really know Bob there could have been more, he told us,I could not have done my work for 24 years without the support of the Council and the great team who worked with me.” He went on to acknowledge those who he had worked with over the years. People like Rory Bradley who overlooked and maintained the school grounds; Wendy Black his executive assistant for four years; then Wendy Wood his executive assistant for 20 years; Joe Duvall the programs director for the township – as well as a lead hand with Charlie Fraser at the Stittsville Arena; incidentally, Joe also convinced Bob to bring roller blading to Stittsville in the 80’s and early 90’s; Gary Murphy the program director from 1979-80 (with the restructuring of Goulbourn Township in 1979, the Hazeldean/Glen Cairn portion of the township became merged with Kanata); Bob Townend the CAO for the township; Martin Breebyk the township facilities manager in charge of the arenas; Charlie Fraser the facilities manager at the Stittsville Arena; Johnny Leroux who groomed the ball diamonds; Roger Griffiths who ensured there were changes in the rec facilities; Rick Raven the manager over at the Glen Cairn arena; Paul Donnelly who took over from Johnny Leroux and eventually became manager of the Stittsville Community Centre after Charlie Fraser; and, a special nod to Kevin Pretty who at 15 worked for over 10 years as the lead hand and assistant to the manager at the Stittsville Community Centre. “Those are the people who made my job easy and fun,” said an emotional Bob.

I recall that Council wanted to hire a picker to change the lightbulbs at the Richmond Community Centre and I went out and bought a ladder and said – we can do it ourselves,” chuckled Bob. “I must say though that one of my proudest moments was the day when Ian Colpitts, Sterling Warner and I handed the keys for the Stittsville Community Centre over to Mayor Ab Black. It cost $100,000 to build the arena and not a cent was owing when we gave those keys to the township,” said a proud Bob.

(Jean and Bob Mills smile as they stand alongside the plaque for the official naming of Bob Mills Park.)

Goulbourn did not have a big budget to work with, but we were successful in getting a lot done! I am so grateful to everyone I worked with and the friends made in the communities over the years and this honour is deeply appreciated. I am humbled. I had an excellent tenure and was treated well by Council and the residents. Back then, everyone contributed significantly as a team and we all had pride in our jobs,” ended Bob.

It wasn’t only facilities that Bob was responsible for. He helped to form the Sunshine Club for seniors in Stittsville. He worked on program planning and the terms of reference to establish the Goulbourn Museum (once owned by the Goulbourn Township Historical Society). He provided photographs to the Museum and performed the maintenance.

(Councillor Glen Gower, Mayor Jim Watson, Allan Ryan and Bob Mills at the official naming ceremony for Bob Mills Park in Stittsville on October 27, 2022)

I remember growing up we would shovel the ice on the outdoor rink as a give-back to the community prior to skating. Residents would volunteer to run the rinks, Council would pay for any new boards and shovels – Bob told me this cost was $1,500 per year for all 12 outdoor rinks. Those were great days!

Prior to arriving in Stittsville, Bob attended both Algonquin and Humber Colleges to study Parks and Recreation. He started his first job in Prescott as the Parks Director, then moved to Brockville as the Parks & Recreation Director for four years. He took a few positions in other townships before finding his home in Goulbourn Township as the Parks & Recreation Director. Bob was always an avid hockey fan and was involved in many of the local teams.

(The inscription on the Bob Mills Park plaque.)

After his retirement in 2001, due to amalgamation with Ottawa, Bob and Jean moved to Prescott, where Bob continues to coach minor hockey. For the important involvement in the hockey community, Bob was inducted into the ‘Sports Hall of Fame’ for the Brockville and area in 2017 as the founder of the Rideau-St. Lawrence Kings “AA” Midget Hockey Association. For the past 10 years Bob has been the Director of Player Development and Education for the Jr. ‘A’ Trenton Golden Hawks. He is responsible for marketing the players to receive scholarships to complete their education.

Mayor JIm Watson and Councillor Glen Gower officiated at the ceremony. Bob’s wife Jean, his daughter Kate and son Tim were also in attendance to celebrate this honour.

Bob Mills imparted so much of himself and his care of our communities and the people that it is such an honour to see his legacy continued with the naming of the Bob Mills Park located in Stittsville.


3 thoughts on “We can thank former Parks & Rec Director Bob Mills for our facilities – now a park honours him”

  1. What a fantastic recognition to such a great, hard working person such as Bob Mills. I was lucky to have had many interactions with him over the years due to my involvement in the sports community. Additionally with Allan Ryan, both of whom used common sense to get things done. And get thing done he did! Those were the days….

  2. congratulations to Bob but also to the people of goulbourn and Stittsville who raised the money for the Stittsville arena through many different money making ventures including a walkathon . He ma have been the lead but for the most part, it was the people themselves that provided the money and that was why there was no debt outstanding when it was built. But thanks again Bob for all of the work you did in Goulbourn.

  3. Just found this on the internet. Great job Bob. I played hockey in the 1960 ‘S for a team he coached. Always thought of him as a great person. Well done Bob. All the bests Brent Webley.

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