A Tribute to Mayor Dennis Flynn

Toby The Village of Islington 12 Comments

NATHAN PHILLIPS SQUARE, TORONTO, ONTARIO, CANADA – 2015/05/23: The Modernist architecture of the New City Hall in Nathan Phillips Square in day light afternoon
Toronto new city hall perspective view against the backdrop of bright blue sky and buildings, with a distant view of people walking at ground level in the foreground and a fluttering canadian national flag. (Photo by Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images)

War Hero, University Graduate, Politician and Member of the Order of Ontario
By Terry Reardon
Denis Christopher O’Flynn, was born in Rathcormac, County Cork, in Ireland on December 17, 1923, and immigrated here with his family when he was two years of age. The family surname was changed to Flynn, and the future politician amended his first name to Dennis.
Dennis enlisted in the Toronto Scottish Regiment in 1938 when just 15 years of age. With the commencement of World War ll, he volunteered for overseas service, and in 1943 was transferred to the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, and saw action in the D-Day landings, where he was wounded. After recovery he rejoined his regiment during the operation to cross the Rhine River in Germany. He was wounded again, and walked with a cane for the rest of his life.
After leaving the war effort, Dennis attended the University of Toronto, and then joined the City of Toronto Clerk’s Department. He was unsuccessful in his first attempt in 1969 to become Mayor of Etobicoke, but was elected three years later. He continued in that capacity until 1984, when he became the Chairman of Metropolitan Toronto. He lost in the election of 1988, but continued to represent Kingsway-Humber until 1997, when the Metro Council was abolished.
In his later years Dennis and his Wife moved into Barclay Terrace, rather ironic because he had opposed the density of the building when it came before Etobicoke Council. In 2001 his opposition to the development came when asked by the Islington Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association to speak at an Ontario Municipal Board Meeting, in the Etobicoke Civic Centre, on the original St Andrew on the Green, two building development. He agreed, and when he approached the speaking table the Chairwomen, who actually resided in Pickering, asked him what occupation he had held in his working life – he responded, “I sat in the chair you are occupying for twelve years.” This resulted in loud laughter from the audience – the bashful Chairwomen commented, “I’m obviously the only person here who doesn’t know who you are.”
Dennis’s contribution undoubtedly was a factor in the O.M.B. decision to decline the application.
In 2001 he was awarded the Order of Ontario for his distinguished public service, and the following year was awarded the Queen Elizabeth ll Golden Jubilee medal.
Dennis continued his military connection as Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel of the Toronto Scottish Regiment. In 2003 while visiting the regiment at CFB Petawawa he suffered a heart attack and died.

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