Bob Wade, the Ancaster politician who made the jump to become the first Mayor of the newly amalgamated city of Hamilton in 2000 has died at age 89. Wade who had a lengthy career in insurance, was a long-time mayor of Ancaster when he announced his candidacy to run for mayor of the new amalgamated City of Hamilton in 2000. Initially, the general wisdom was that Bob Morrow, who had been Hamilton mayor for 18 years was unbeatable. From the time of his election in 1982, Morrow had never been seriously challenged and easily won re-election several times often capturing more than 75 percent of the vote.
However, support from the five former suburbs coalesced around Wade, who was the only suburban candidate in the race. Also in the running were former MPP John Munro and former councillor Fred Eisenberger who all tended to draw support from the old city of Hamilton as did Morrow. In addition, Wade attracted more financial support from donors than his opponents, which allowed him to reach voters through television advertising, which was new for Hamilton politicians. On election night Wade won by a comfortable margin.
Wade’s term as mayor was marked with some controversy, not of his making but due to political tensions brought about by the amalgamation. The city manager who had been hired by the outgoing council and who had assembled the senior bureaucracy got offside with the mayor and council and was dismissed.
In his time as mayor of Ancaster and his years on Regional Council followed by his term as mayor, Bob Wade always exhibited a calm demeanor, unfailingly polite, in contrast to several of his city colleagues. As mayor, he quickly gained the admiration of the Hamilton business community, many of whom had supported his candidacy.
In a statement Mayor Horwath said, “I want to express our sincere condolences to the family and friends … neighbors and the broader community has lost somebody that was very historic in our city and who contributed a great deal to Hamilton.”
Said former Regional Chair Terry Cooke who supported Wade’s candidacy, “Bob Wade was a dear friend & colleague. He was more than anything else a gentleman who lent a calm dignity to public service. Bob’s legacy as the last Mayor of Ancaster & 1st Mayor of the new City of Hamilton will endure. Our condolences to Ida and the entire Wade family.”
A book of condolences is being organized at City Hall – 71 Main Street West, 2nd floor, outside the Mayor’s Office, for the community to sign beginning on the morning of Monday May 8th
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