The 2023 World Mayor Community Award given to
Tony Keats
Mayor of Dover, NL, Canada
Tony Keats, Mayor of Dover, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada has been given the 2023 World Mayor Community Award for his extraordinary service to his town and its people since 1996. He has shown that mayors from small communities can become role models for civic leaders everywhere

(Full list)

Commendation: “Mayor Tony Keats is the most humble and empathetic person I know. His love for his community goes beyond his family and home. His hometown residents are like family to him, and he treats everyone as such. If there is one thing that Mayor Keats is most passionate about it is politics, and what should be done for the betterment of his hometown, as well as communities in the local area, but his love of Newfoundland, where he was born and raised, extends to the whole island. Every community needs a mayor who will fight for their rights. Without a trusting politician, you have nothing.”

Commendation: “I’m a resident of this town and know Mayor Tony Keats well. He and his lovely wife are neighbours of ours. This man can be found every day doing his job as a Postmaster, talking to his constituents.  This is a small town with a big history and, thanks in a big part to Mayor Keats, a town with a big heart.”

Commendation: “I am the Deputy Mayor of the capital city of our province. I have had the incredible pleasure of working with Mayor Tony Keats on our provincial Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador board. Tony has proven himself to be a compassionate colleague and leader in the small town of Dover in our province. Aside from his incredible work in his hometown, he has brought his vision and care to larger populations right across Canada. He has heart and integrity and has served the people of his hometown for over two decades.” 

Commendation: “I'd like to cast my support for Mayor Keats in the 2023 World Mayor Project. I am a senior Municipal administrator and have had the privilege to witness Tony's style first-hand at conferences and workshops across Newfoundland and Labrador over the past 7 years. Above and beyond any excellence in his community of Dover, Tony is a real collaborator and can effortlessly establish common ground between groups of people from very different places of every geography and demographic. He serves on committees and boards representing the municipal sector, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, we are proud to have him working for us. Tony simply makes friendships happen in the municipal sector and he deserves every recognition possible for his commitment to serve communities and the greater public sector.”

Commendation: “Mayor Tony Keats is a phenomenal leader in how he engages his town, and other towns across the province, country and around the world. I have known Mayor Keats for about 13 years first being introduced to him as a young Deputy Mayor and then Mayor from the Town of Bird Cove at the time. He was first our Small Towns Director and then Vice President of Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador (MNL) and a mentor to so many.”

Commendation: “I have known Tony Keats of Dover for many years and one thing I know for sure is that the well-being and prosperity of the Town of Dover is a top prior for Mayor Keats. He has worked diligently to not only help his town of Dover but all municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Commendation: “As a proud Bolivian, I am thrilled to offer my heartfelt support for Tony Keats, the former President of Municipalities of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and the Mayor of Dover. His unwavering dedication and remarkable contributions to Bolivian municipalities, as well as the municipal system in Bolivia, have had a profound and lasting impact on communities both near and far.”

“Mayor Tony Keats has consistently demonstrated exceptional leadership qualities, advocating for the welfare of the people and working tirelessly to bring positive change to the region. His commitment to fostering strong connections between Canada and Bolivia is highly commendable. Under his guidance, we have witnessed a strengthened bond that transcends borders.” FULL LIST

Essay by Tony Keats
(Full essay)

From Mayor Keats’ essay: During my time spent in La Paz, Bolivia working on one of the many outstanding international programs with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, I saw first-hand women getting elected to councils but their terms would usually not see completion due to being forced out and replaced by men. This is wrong and should not happen. As a whole, we have worked very hard to make sure we drafted a good education and training plan toolkit so their association could move forward with knowledgeable planning, we helped them maintain and strengthen their municipal government systems, and we also made sure to bring in the better involvement of women, youth, and entrepreneurs for various travelling trade shows and fairs, this would not only allow them to bring in differences of expertise but this would also allow them to develop and strive for more professional and financial independence.

I believe that we all put our names forward on ballots to serve our communities for mostly the same reasons, and that is to make our communities a better place to live, work, and play. Those words are so cliché I know, but so very true for us all. While writing this I took the time to look back over the past 31 years of serving on our municipal council, with the past 27 of those being in the mayor’s chair. I can honestly say I have the same passion, the same love for our people, and our home, and the same feeling to make a positive difference for the betterment of all. I only hope that reading this essay and the many statements of support that were written on my behalf will leave you with the understanding that I believe in working hard and fighting for what matters. We are municipal. We are a community. We do this job because we want our communities to be better, and that is who I am. FULL ESSAY

In conversation
(Full conversation)

What inspired you to get into politics and why have you stayed in municipal politics for so many years? Has your role as mayor changed during the years of your tenure?

Mayor Keats replies:
What inspired you to get into politics and why have you stayed in municipal politics for so many years? Has your role as mayor changed during the years of your tenure?

My upbringing and having parents who instilled in me the importance of voting and getting involved in my community is what inspired me to get into politics. At a young age, I knew I had something to offer and contribute, I always wanted to make a difference and a positive impact in my community. When I first became a student advocate all of those years ago, I knew then this was what I was meant for. Now that all of those years have passed, I have come to realize that the satisfaction of knowing the small part I play in making a difference, not only in my community, but others throughout the province and country is most gratifying.

I have found that over the years my role as mayor has become more demanding. I am dealing with issues daily, issues that deal with and impact the lives of our residents that are becoming more of a concern than when I first started. Issues such as housing, climate change, and health and addiction just to name a few have become more prominent throughout the years.

Do you consider yourself a role model and mentor? What advice would you offer to encourage others to participate in municipal council life?
Mayor Keats replies: Yes, I do. Saying it took time to get to that point and knowing that I can help and mentor others is so satisfying. I always look back over the years to when I was told to make a difference in my life and others. I believe in the good that people can do and it is so important to promote and encourage others. Mentoring has also allowed me to learn from new and upcoming leaders within our municipal sector. Support, giving advice, and sharing experiences are a few of the many rewarding aspects of this role.

Being patient, staying true to you, and fighting for what you want while also not listening to the negatives along with knowing that you are bettering your community will be one of the most gratifying experiences.

What did you learn from your best practices mission to Bolivia to your municipality and others across NL and Canada?
Mayor Keats replies: The mission to Bolivia was an eye-opener and overall great experience. Learning how other municipalities in another country work and seeing first-hand how municipal leaders are so willing and excited to learn how we do things in our communities and country was very interesting. I have learned we take things for granted like the election process and the way our municipal government system is planned. There are so many differences between our practices and municipalities but by working together we drafted and created a good education and training plan toolkit. Through this collaboration, each municipality was left with more knowledge and a larger network for future challenges that can be worked on together. FULL CONVERSATION

Tony Keats' pages: Tony Keats wins World Mayor Award | Essay by Tony Keats | Commendations for Tony Keats | Conversation with Tony Keats |

The City Mayors Foundation
London SW1
Tel: +44 20 8439 7978
The World Mayor Project was conceived in 2004 by the City Mayors Foundation to raise the profile of mayors worldwide and honour those who have contributed exceptionally to local and urban affairs. Mayors must carry out their duties selflessly and beyond reproach. The Project has no association with any city or organisation and is run on philanthropic lines. Any kind of revenue is NOT sought and will be rejected if offered. DETAILS

Winners of the World Mayor Prize since 2004: Edi Rama, Tirana (2004); Dora Bakoyannis, Athens (2005); John So, Melbourne (2006); Helen Zille, Cape Town (2008); Marcelo Ebrard, Mexico City (2010); Iñaki Azkuna, Bilbao (2012); Naheed Nenshi, Calgary (2014); Bart Somers, Mechelen (2016); Valeria Mancinelli, Ancona (2018); Ahmed Aboutaleb, Rotterdam (2021); Philippe Rio, Grigny (2021); Elke Kahr, Graz (2023) DETAILS