A GENTLEMAN AND A SCHOLAR
Cecil Raymond Dismont, was the second son of Albert and Ivy Dismont born December 7th. 1915. He gained his early education at Berkeley Preparatory School and the Excelsior Secondary School. He later attended the Ontario Business College. Upon his return home he joined his father in the family business, The Dismont Cycle Shop.’
Cecil was an avid sportsman and in addition to playing football he enjoyed bowling, gymnastics, bodybuilding and roller-skating he was also a member of the St. George’s Cricket Club where he served as Vice-captain of the team during the annual Cup Match Classic. He was an active game fisherman and spent many Sunday afternoons’ trolling the waters with his close friends. He loved Tennis and was the singles champion for three consecutive years. He and his brother Russell were also the champion doubles team for a number of years.
Cecil met his wife Leonie (Lee) Wingood a native of Boston who was visiting and started as his tennis partner they married on January 22nd. 1938 overseas in her home town they returned to Bermuda and resided in North Shore, of that union are three children. In 1952, Cecil and Lee opened their own business in the Dismont Building on Reid Street, known as Dismont Shoes and Accessories and they operated it for 21 years.
In 1958, he was elected to the Corporation of Hamilton, serving a total of 36 years, first as a Councillor, then as an Alderman. Cecil served as Deputy Mayor for 16 years under Mayor Graham Gibbons. In 1988, he made history by becoming the first Black Mayor of Hamilton and held that post for six years. During his tenure as Mayor, he guided the City of Hamilton through historic times, including its 200-year anniversary celebrations. He proudly helped to establish wheelchair access throughout the City of Hamilton. He was instrumental in launching the Sunday Concerts in the Park series. He also made sure that the town would have Christmas lights and extended it to include the Court Street area.
Cecil met several dignitaries during his tenure Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 ,former Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I, civil rights leader, Jesse Jackson and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He was honoured with the M.B.E. in 1976 for his service too the community and received the O.B.E. in 2002. He will be well remembered because ‘Dismont Drive’ next to City Hall was named in his honour in 2003.