Born and raised in Stoney Creek a part of the Nelson/Warner family, Marie’s family has had a long history in the area as some of the original Loyalist settlers to come to Canada. She graduated from Saltfleet Highschool while balancing a part-time job at the Stoney Creek Dairy. Steeped in the values of community, hard work and service above self, Marie became a teacher and after several years of teaching in the city, moved on to teach First Nations children from the Kettle-Point Reserve.
Marie returned to Stoney Creek, to become a small business owner, founding Smith-McKay Florists in historic Squires Hall in downtown Stoney Creek (original home of the Stoney Chamber of Commerce and the Stoney Creek Newspaper) while juggling a degree program with McMaster University. As a longtime Rotarian and one of the founding members of the Jamesville BIA, Marie experienced first hand what a little bit of hard work and commitment to the community can accomplish. After many years of success in the business community, and the eventual expansion of Smith-McKay Florists across 11 locations in the Greater Hamilton Area, Marie opted for a change of pace and sold Smith-McKay Florists.
After a (short) vacation, she decided to return to teaching, this time as an English as a Second Language instructor, sharing her time between the St. Joseph’s Women’s Immigrant Centre, the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board and McMaster University. Combined with a heavy dose of community volunteering with St. Joseph’s Hospital, the Ontario Trillium Foundation and the Hamilton Conservation Authority, Marie began to feel that she could be doing more to give back.
Today, Marie wants to serve as your representative at Hamilton City Hall. A voice for our community.
For me, it is all about quality of life. With globalization making the world a ‘smaller’ place and giving people more options to live and work wherever they choose, what will keep our city growing and thriving is being able to ensure that residents of Hamilton have a good quality of life. Somehow City Council has lost sight of this goal, which should have always been fundamental to begin with, but now the economics are there to back it up. It’s been estimated that about 40% of all jobs in Canada will eventually use some degree of telecommuting, and there is no reason that these jobs cannot be located in Hamilton.
Improving the quality of life in Hamilton will attract residents to the city that will bring their jobs with them, which will further improve the quality of life in Hamilton by making new jobs for existing residents. No ‘grow your economy in 30 days or less’ schemes and no silver bullets. What the city needs is more of the things which have brought people here in droves already; affordable housing, tree-lined streets, culture, world-class educational institutions and good prospects for the future.
We can seize this opportunity by: investing wisely in infrastructure, protecting our green spaces and building new parks and paths, promoting our city’s history and natural attractions and by facilitating the growth of our community and acting as its voice at City Hall. These will be my priorities at City Hall.