Skip to content

Wayne Brown remembered as supporter of Burlington, friend to many

He was a master organizer of a series of Christmas dinners that fed more than 300 people in the community, and a teacher who touched many lives. Wayne Brown died on Jan. 13; he was 76.

He was a master organizer of a series of Christmas dinners that fed more than 300 people in the community, and a teacher who touched many lives. Wayne Brown died on Jan. 13; he was 76.

Last night a celebration of life was held for Brown, a father and a well-known supporter of local causes, businesses and community events.

Brown taught at Sheridan College, was an instrumental component at Liaison College (Culinary Arts) and was one of the organizers of the Appleby Line Street Festival.

The respect for Brown was obvious at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre (BPAC) lobby, which was filled for a tribute of the man who was described as selflessly thinking of others, always for the good of the community.

Not everyone can bring together politicians of all political stripes, people from academia, leaders of the business community, donors and owners, supporters and players, makers, shakers and doers. 

Brown used his charm for good, so that others could have a Christmas dinner with toys for children (outlined in a recent Burlington Today article) and he did so much more. 

There was praise yesterday for Brown, as many spoke highly of the man who, once you knew him, you became a solid friend, even if he was twisting your arm to contribute to one of his pet projects.

2024-01-25-waynetwoinsidelhHe was bursting with dreams for the community, some of them practical, most of them thoughtful, and a few of them larger-than-life such as the idea of rotating the Santa Claus Parade each year to a different ward in the city, or seeing a giant ferris wheel in Spencer Smith Park. He would advocate and delegate yet let others take credit for many a good deed.

His delight in making sure that children in suburban Burlington could ride a pony along a major street was infectious, and the novel idea is now a mainstay of the Appleby Line Street Festival. 

Quick with a joke, a contagious enthusiasm, a genuine concern to make the city he called home better, kinder, and inclusive, he would share his thoughts and then bring in others to turn those ideas into reality, speakers said.

Brown didn’t do things so that he could say, “look at me, look at what I’ve done.” He did them so that others could say, “when we work together, look at what can be done.”

Here’s some of the thoughts shared at the event

Mike Wallace (former MP and Burlington Councillor): “Wayne always had lots of fantastic ideas and was really good at getting people motivated to do things. He taught entrepreneurship at Sheridan and turned that spirit of entrepreneurship onto the larger community.”

Dan Lawrie (businessman): “Wayne and I saw each other so many times on the street because he would be out there involved in so many things. He was the most giving person I think I’ve ever met in Burlington.”

Bill Cunningham (friend): “Going back 25 years or more we were golfing buddies, however I didn’t know much about all the great work he did more recently, things that we heard about tonight. He was an awful golfer but a great friend.”

Brian Dickie (another golfing friend): “I knew he organized a (craft) beer festival fundraiser, and about his enthusiasm for the Teen Tour Band.”

David Vandenberg (community builder): “Wayne was a great supporter of the Burlington Teen Tour Band. I remember when I was in the band and he arranged to have walking canes made (by the Burlington Woodcarvers Guild) to commemorate veterans and we took some of them to a D-Day ceremony (in France)”

Jamie Myers (proprietor of Jake’s Grill and Oyster House): “He was the kind of guy that collected friends. I asked him how he got people to do so much. He said, ‘I just tell stories’. Wayne never wanted to talk about himself, he wanted to talk about anything else but himself.”

Derek Hebb (Conservative riding association): “I think the key with Wayne was good communication. He had a very giving nature to him and was very good at bringing people together for a common cause and having fun doing so.”

Angelo Bentivegna (Ward 6 Councillor): “If you asked everyone here how many people had a lunch with Wayne, they’d all put up their hands. At the same time he got the message out about what was happening with everyone (without a councillor’s newsletter).”

Mark Carr (former Burlington Councillor): “Like so many people, I can’t remember when I first met Wayne, he was just always around, usually with a new idea. He would ask things like, ‘what do you think about moving the Santa Claus parade around town?’, and you would go – great idea.” 

Brian Dean (Burlington Downtown Business Association.): “Wayne was one of the first people I met when I started as executive director. He was affiliated with a variety of organizations and events and Liaison College. I’ve come to understand Wayne as an impresario (for the arts) and an ambassador for Burlington.”

Tammy Fox (Executive Director of BPAC): “I was introduced to Wayne because he was always a great community connector. He was a huge supporter of BPAC, bought tickets, was a platinum level member. He always, always had phenomenal ideas on how to engage the community. It’s all he wanted to do was support the community.”

Emily Brown (Sheridan College colleague and Conservative candidate): “We would get together and talk about things that happened at Sherida, but the more I got to know Wayne, the more things I realized that he was involved with. One man can sometimes be replaced by another, but I feel that Wayne will need to be replaced by five, six, even seven people.”

Paul Sharman (Ward 5 Councillor): “The thing I remember most about Wayne was his strong desire to engage us and have us all participate. He was way ahead of the rest of us. He was always thinking about community.”

Rick Burgess (Former BPAC Board Chair): “Wayne Brown was everyone’s friend. He always listened to your thoughts. He would ask if you might have an idea that would improve, help, enhance or advance the success of a project. You always knew that he valued you and your contributions as important.”

Wayne Brown’s obituary notice can be read here



What's next?

Reader Feedback

Lawson Hunter

About the Author: Lawson Hunter

Lawson Hunter has been a freelance writer for more than 30 years. His articles on technology, the environment, and business have been published in local and national newspapers, magazines and trade publications
Read more
push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks