By Chad Ingram
Michael Fay was one of the first people I met when I began working in Minden nearly 12 years ago now, and at that time he was a driving force behind a number of arts-related things happening in the community.
Retired from a career at Toronto Public Health, in Minden Michael embraced his passion for writing, producing nearly half a dozen plays and publishing a number of short stories. One of those plays, Never Such Innocence Again, won a number of awards, and anyone who was present for one of the performances of Buck's Tavern at the cultural centre likely doesn't forget it. He had a knack for bringing local history to life in a colourful and entertaining fashion.
Creating the co-operative community theatre group Conjurors of County Town with wife Fay Martin, Michael revived deceased wordsmiths with meetings of the Dead Poets Society at the Dominion Hotel. There was Score!, a 20-hour marathon of poetry readings and music that also took place at the Dominion, and was a fundraiser for the arts council's Artists in the Schools program.
Michael dedicated his time and talents to a number of non-profit and arts-related organizations in the county, including but not limited to the Arts Council-Haliburton Highlands, of which he was a founder, the Haliburton Highlands Writers' and Editors' Network, the foundation for the Minden Hills Cultural Centre, and the Symposium for the Performing Arts in Rural Communities.
Then there were the parties. Michael and Fay's annual New Year's Eve day celebrations typically started some time in the afternoon, running until “whenever,” with guests coming and going throughout the day. I remember those occasions being full of interesting people, wine, and thought-provoking conversation.
I'll remember Michael as an incredibly kind man with a gentle spirit who was passionate about the arts, the environment and social justice. And while during the past few years he wasn't able to be as involved in the community as he once was, he certainly left his mark on it.
My condolences to Fay and the rest of Michael’s family.