Ontario PGA Member Wilson Paterson Named Outstanding Citizen of the Year in Whitby

12/8/2009

Story written by Parvaneh Pessian of newsdurhamregion.com

(Whitby, Ont.,)
  -- The shock of hearing his name called may have left Wilson Paterson momentarily speechless, but he knew exactly what to say when accepting the 2009 Peter Perry Award.

"It's not hard to say a few words when you actually live and breathe what you're trying to do," said the founder and owner of Royal Ashburn Golf Club, located in north Whitby.

And golf is one thing the 76 year old is deeply passionate about.

The prestigious award, named after one of Whitby's early founders, is handed out every year by the Whitby Chamber of Commerce to recognize a resident who has made an exceptional contribution to the community.

Mr. Paterson's business career began with a dream to "build a golf course and make it as fine as I could make it," he told hundreds of guests gathered at a ceremony on Thursday night at Heydenshore Pavilion.

Over the years, he has managed to surpass that vision tenfold with the Ashburn facility he runs with his wife Sandra and sons David and Scott. The club has gained national acclaim since its opening in 1962.

"The hardest part was sticking with it regardless of how long it took and how much money we needed," said Mr. Paterson, recalling the early years when he had only his love for the game and the desire to share it with others to keep him going.

"It's about staying with a project until you finish it."

Today, the Royal Ashburn Golf Club is ranked among the top 50 public golf courses in Canada and the top ranked golf course in the Durham Region.

In September, the club unveiled an innovative wetlands conservation area on site that will function as a sustainable habitat for hundreds of species of plants and animals. The initiative -- the first of its kind undertaken by a golf course -- was launched through partnerships with the Central Lake Ontario Conservation Authority, Ducks Unlimited Canada and Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters. Students from area schools will have the opportunity to use the space for a first-hand look at the vital role that wetlands play in the ecosystem.

"While building an extremely successful business in our community, his love for teaching was never far away," said Chamber president Kim Copetti, praising Mr. Paterson for his efforts in adding an educational component to the project. "Youth education is to be a large component of the project and the wetlands will provide high quality programming and outdoor experiences throughout Durham Region."

Mr. Paterson was also praised for his long-time support of various community and charitable organizations such as the Oshawa hospital, the Humane Society of Durham Region, Ontario March of Dimes and the Whitby Sports Hall of Fame.

"My whole life has been wrapped up in this community and everything that's gone on here over the years, just looking for places where I can help out," said Mr. Paterson, adding that he's been guided to areas of need through his passions and encourages others to do the same.

"You can't do it for everybody but you do it for as many people and as much as you can, and you just keep plugging along."

Congratulations to Wilson Paterson!

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