Gary Mack is a lifelong resident of Thunder Bay, former executive director of Shelter House and owner of a thriving local business, Bay Village Coffee. Gary Mack has the experience we need to take back our city and make our neighbourhoods strong.
Gary and his partner, Alan Forbes, have been running Bay Village Coffee for the last 4 years. The duo have turned the previously fledgling coffee shop into a local sensation, with an expanding catering side and a growing staff. As a business owner, Gary recognizes the importance of innovation, hard work and creating an environment where local businesses can thrive. He’s also experienced his fair share of red tape and knows how to cut through the bureaucracy to make it affordable to run a business in Thunder Bay.
Gary knows that local business is the heart of the community and he’s made it a priority to give back. From sponsoring refugees, hosting charity events to raising tens of thousands of dollars for the hospital – Gary has made giving back a priority because he believes in building strong neighbourhoods. In recognition of his business skills and achievements Gary has been awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year award for Innovation by the Chronicle Journal, the Small Business Excellence Award from the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and received the City of Thunder Bay’s Respect Award for community involvement and leadership. Gary understands small business, the importance of investing in the local economy and supporting local business owners.
Before becoming an entrepreneur, Gary studied social work at Confederation College and achieved an honours degree in sociology from Lakehead University. He began his trailblazing social work career working in the City’s Social Services Department. Gary continued on to work in the Addiction Housing Program at Alpha Court Community Mental Health and then moved to a leadership role as the Director of Client Services with Elevate NWO.
From there Gary was hired as the Executive Director of Shelter House Thunder Bay. Gary turned Shelter House into one of the most innovative and recognized shelters in Canada by going beyond sheltering and feeding clients to helping them get more engaged with the community and back on their feet.
Gary was critical to the relaunch of the Street Outreach Services (SOS) program after its cancellation due to lack of funding. He built strong relationships with local businesses, unions and Indigenous people, including Nishnawbe Aski Nation and Matawa First Nation. Drawing on these successes, Gary received international attention and donations poured in, saving the SOS program. This achievement was recognized by our first responders as police and EMS acknowledged that the SOS program helps keep people off the streets and reduces the need for police and medical intervention. With Shelter House leading care for the homeless, first responders could focus on other critical emergency calls.
Throughout his career, Gary is known for his commitment to fighting homelessness. Gary’s innovative approach to working with the homeless was honoured with a nomination for the Premier’s Award. He knows what it takes from first hand experience and will end homelessness as our mayor.
Gary believes it is paramount to be open about the issues plaguing our city and to do hard work to address them. With first hand experience working on our streets and his achievements in business, he has the skills to get us to where we need to be. Gary knows that the way to build strong neighbourhoods is to make our neighbourhoods safe, to support local business, to end homelessness and to make our city affordable so we get value from our tax dollars.
In his free time Gary enjoys exploring the outdoors throughout our region and time with his family and grandchildren.
On October 24 vote for Gary Mack. Vote for strong neighbourhoods.