The designation of Linden King as this year’s Mississauga Citizen of the Year was a special moment for his family and friends, who attended the city’s annual civic awards reception last week.
“I am so proud of my son,” said an elated Lynette King. “He’s a hard worker, very helpful and always wants to be number one.”
Born in Guyana, King – who migrated with his family 43 years ago – thanked his family for moulding him into a more than useful citizen.
“Without a doubt, my parents have to take credit for the man I am today,” he said. “My dad (Leslie ‘Romeo’ King) was a ship captain in Guyana and he gave that up to come here to give us a better life. He’s my best friend and role model and I adore both him and my mom.”
For the past 25 years, the prestigious Gordon S. Shipp Memorial Award has been presented to a resident who voluntarily dedicates time and energy to the betterment of the community. The award is named for Shipp, a developer, visionary and community member who helped build the city. It is presented by The Mississauga News and the Mississauga Real Estate Board.
“This is one of the city’s highest awards and I am humbled to be chosen as this year’s winner,” said King, whose list of volunteer and community accomplishments are outstanding.
A Mississauga Arts Council, Safe City Mississauga, Mississauga Youth Games and CBW non-profit housing board member, King also is a member of the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Halton-Peel grant review team that chooses organizations for funding.
Previously, he collected and donated hundreds of pounds of food for the Eden Community Food Bank, coached the city’s Warriors Football Club and North Baseball Association teams and was a Peel Multicultural Council adviser and a member of the City of Mississauga Cycling Advisory Committee.
The city that welcomed King in 1972 is quite different than the one that exists today with a population that has almost quadrupled.
“Most of this city was farmland with rolling fields,” he said. “I have seen the evolution that has made Mississauga modern, diverse and safe for parents to raise families. Having a large airport nearby is also appealing.”
A candidate for school board trustee in the last two municipal elections, King completed high school at Thomas L. Kennedy Secondary and graduated from Ryerson University with telecommunications management credentials, Humber College with an electrical engineering & industrial instrumentation diploma and Sheridan College with an Ontario Management Development Leadership certification.
King, who plans to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration, spent 10 years each with Toronto Hydro and Oracle before joining Bell Canada seven years ago as a senior manager responsible for contact centre operations.
When he’s not busy working or volunteering in Mississauga, King spends time during the summer in mas’ camps designing costumes for the annual carnival.
The multi-faceted 50-year-old was bandleader Arnold Hughes & Associates’ King of the Band representative in 2000 and 2004. His eldest daughter – Cyrese King, who is the godchild of Hughes’ daughter Kathleen – is also a designer who has played mas’.
King and his wife, Peel District School Board elementary teacher, Diane Pounall-King, have four children.