Mayor Jim Watson and Rideau-Goulbourn Ward Councillor Scott Moffatt presented a Mayor’s City Builder Award to Peter Ryan at today’s City Council meeting, recognizing his many years of generous volunteering in Ottawa.
Peter was a firefighter with the City of Ottawa before amalgamation, from 1957 to 1996, when he retired with the rank of District Chief.
In the almost 20 years since his retirement, he has devoted long hours to preserving and telling residents the history of the city’s fire services and the ways that fire, and firefighters, have shaped our community.
Despite his advancing years, he is an active and passionate volunteer with the Bytown Fire Brigade – a non-profit historical society – and is the current president of that organization. He serves on the board of the Ottawa Fire Fighters Memorial, and volunteers with the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services as a cook on the canteen truck, serving meals and water to firefighters, police and other rescue workers at emergency scenes.
He raises thousands of dollars for the Brigade and the memorial by auctioning seven-course gourmet dinners for up to 10 people, which he cooks and serves in his home. He also makes unique items from recycled, sustainable and exotic species of wood for fundraising events.
He drives antique fire apparatus and vehicles to area parades, community events and car shows.
Last year, he worked with City Archives staff to help mount the Ashes: A City Shaped By Fire exhibit, which ran for six months at the James Bartleman Centre.
The Mayor’s City Builder Award is a civic honour created to recognize an individual, group or organization that has, through outstanding volunteerism or exemplary action, demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to making our city a better place today and for the future. This may include lifelong service, outstanding acts of kindness, inspiring charitable work, community building or other exemplary achievements. Individuals, groups or organizations may be nominated by members of City Council or the public. The award is presented at the beginning of each City Council meeting.