2015 ended on a very sad note for our club, with the news that our highly respected President, Todd Bardes, passed away suddenly on New Year's Eve while on vacation in Costa Rica.
Todd was an inspiration to us all, and a true leader. He joined our club in 1994 and was an active volunteer for at least twenty years, a hike leader since 1996 and a member of our Board of Directors since 1999. He served as club President twice, from 2001 until 2003 and once again from 2012 until now. He filled other volunteer roles within the club too numerous to mention - almost every volunteer position we have at one time or another. At the Bruce Trail Conservancy, he was a member of the Board from 2011-2012, and also served as Chair of the Land Stewardship Committee, where he worked actively to protect the many properties that the BTC has acquired. Todd trained an entire generation of volunteer land stewards over a term of six years.
Outside the BTC, Todd was a passionate advocate for hiking through his role as President of Hike Ontario.
Todd managed to combine all this volunteer work with his active career at the Royal Bank of Canada and as a management consultant.
Todd had planned to retire from his position as President at our next Annual General Meeting. When I last spoke to him, just two weeks before his death, he was excited about moving on to the next stage in his volunteer career. He wanted to take his Bruce Trail stewardship experience and use it to help other environmental charities in Canada. It is a real tragedy that now all that experience and enthusiasm has been lost.
He told me once that the work he was most proud of at the club was leading hikes for disadvantaged young people. You could tell that he took real pleasure in helping these city kids get exposure to the outdoors. This tells you the kind of person he was.
For those of us who remain behind, the best way we can honour Todd is to redouble our own volunteer efforts and make him be proud of us.
Please join me in expressing our sympathy and support to Christina Bardes.