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'I made it': Beloved Newmarket volunteer marks 90th birthday with pandemic porch party

Maureen Huismans celebrated her occasion surrounded by her family, friends, neighbours

Longtime Newmarket volunteer Maureen Huismans celebrated the grand occasion of her 90th birthday in true pandemic fashion with a porch party on Aug. 19. 

She sat on her porch while a parade of well-wishers dropped by with cupcakes, cards, flowers, and gifts throughout the afternoon. 

“I made it,” she said with a smile. “I never thought I’d get to be this old.” 

The longtime resident who is well known for her generosity and many volunteer activities has lived at her downtown heritage home for at least three decades. 

Many of the guests who attended the porch party were neighbours, who Huismans said all live within three blocks. 

One of the attendees was local ward Councillor Bob Kwapis.

“Maureen is an ideal, textbook example of what a great Newmarket resident is all about,” he said. “Maureen’s contributions through her whole life have been through raising kids to ensure that they contribute to the community and being a good strong community leader and an example to many.”

She sings with the Keynotes senior choir, is past president of the PROBUS Canada club and the Newmarket Seniors' Meeting Place, and has been very involved with the Newmarket Food Pantry throughout her time in town. 

In 2020, Huismans made a splash when she won $250,000 playing the instant crossword and said she would donate part of her winnings to the food bank. 

On Thursday afternoon, Kwapis presented Huismans with a Newmarket-opoly game, as well as a certificate from Mayor John Taylor and the Town of Newmarket commemorating the occasion.

The councillor said he was happy to attend. 

“It’s a community celebration! It just goes to show you how valuable somebody like this is to the community but also goes to show you how residents value someone like Maureen,” Kwapis said. 

He, like many others who came by, said they will continue to wave at Maureen as they are out walking past her house.


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Elizabeth Keith

About the Author: Elizabeth Keith

Elizabeth Keith is a general assignment reporter. She graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2017. Elizabeth is passionate about telling local stories and creating community.
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