Orillia’s 2023 Citizen Of The Year Named

By John Swartz

Derick Lehmann is Orillia’s 2023 Citizen of the Year, as named at a special presentation during the Council meeting on Feb. 12, 2024.

Orillia Mayor Don McIsaac presenting the 2023 Citizen of the Year award to Derick Lehmann

“On behalf of Orillia City Council and the Citizen of the Year selection panel, I’d like to congratulate Derick Lehmann on being named the 2023 Citizen of the Year,” said Mayor Don McIsaac. “Derick’s efforts in supporting community organizations have significantly benefited the residents of Orillia. His ability to rally citizens through various events, generating donations that go back into supporting the community, highlight his contributions in 2023.”

Lehmann was described by his nominators as generous of his time, contributing his knowledge and skills to the betterment of the community. Nominators also pointed to Lehmann’s continued dedication throughout the year with organizing multiple events such as the Back to the 90s Video Dance Parties, Trunk or Treat, and an Ugly Christmas Sweater Bowling Party. His generosity has supported The Sharing Place Food Centre and local Christmas toy drives.

His fundraising work has also benefitted the Orillia Youth Centre and he is directly involved with the Roots North Music Festival. In 2023, Derick’s efforts raised $37,000.

After receiving the award Lehmann was asked what excuse did City Hall give him to be in the council chambers today.

“They called me and said I was a finalist a week ago” Lehmann said.

“I was pretty floored because I know there’s some other big names that have won this award and I didn’t think I was at that level quite yet. It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s also a great opportunity to encourage others to volunteer,’ he said.

He came up with the idea to hold the 90s Video Dance Party at ODAS Park in July and December this year. The first one raised $11,000 for the Sharing Place and the second raised $14,000 for a toy drive.

The Ugly Sweater Bowling Party has been running at Orillia Bowl for 9 years.

Derick Lehmann

“I don’t want misquote but it’s got to be approaching $28,000 (raised in total). We did $4,000 this year.”

“This year, as soon as it went on sale, 34 minutes later the last lane was booked. Next year I might have to do two nights.”

Lehmann’s projects tend to benefit the Sharing Place Food Centre most often.

“Their books are real lean and they support a lot of people. When I was first coming up with who I should give proceeds to at the first Ugly Sweater Bowling Party I wanted to have maximum impact to the widest amount of people. Unfortunately that’s the Food Bank, and I say that because they’d rather not exist. I love giving them money because I know it goes a long way.”

Trunk or Treat is an event born out the pandemic for kids to do Halloween safely. It was not intended as a fundraiser, but any money left over after expenses Lehman donates to the Orillia Youth Centre because the manager, Kevin Gangloff, helps organize the event. Lehmann is also the president of the successful Roots North Music Festival.

The 2023 Citizen of the Year selection panel included former winners Cam Davidson, Marci Csumrik, Fred Larsen, and Stan Mathewson, as well as OrilliaMatters editor Dave Dawson, Pure Country 106 morning host Carey Moran, and Orillia Chamber of Commerce Past President Nathan Housser.

(Photos by Swartz- SUNonline/Orillia; Images Supplied) Main: 2023 Orillia Citizen of the Year, Derick Lehmann.


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