NORTH BAY -- North Bay city council, family, friends and co-workers are remembering Mike Anthony, who served on council since 2000 and passed away suddenly Wednesday evening.

Gone at the age of 52, Anthony is being remembered for his jolly smile, witty humour, a deep love for the City of North Bay and the legacy he leaves behind.

"Anybody that knows Mike is really going to miss him," said Mike's family member, Wendy Prieur. "It's a tragic sadness and loss to our community."

Anthony was born in Moncton, N.B., but his councillor colleagues and family say his passion for North Bay was evident.

City staff, fellow councillors, family and Mayor Al McDonald held a special ceremony as flags were lowered to honour Anthony. All of the councillors and family spoke for a few minutes each, reflecting on their time with him.

Fond memories

"My fondest memory of my political career was walking in with Mike when were elected the first time," McDonald told reporters.

Before serving on council, Anthony worked in radio. He was a lover of arts and culture and was in his sixth term on council.

Deputy Mayor Tanya Vrebosch was emotional as she recalled how Anthony played a big role in bringing an accessibility mat to the Lake Nipissing waterfront.

"We pushed for it through council and staff," said Vrebosch. "Then we had the naming of it. It was a special moment for Mike and I."

McDonald and Vrebosch said they are in favour of erecting some kind of permanent memorial dedicated to him. What that will be has not yet been decided.

"The family needs to be involved because as much as we know Mike, they know Mike better (and) understand what would make him proud," said Vrebosch.

'He walked the walk'

When asked what steps are going to be taken to fill the now-vacant council seat, McDonald said council will look at the process set out by the Municipal Act and will comment further in the coming days.

Meanwhile, family are thanking the community for the outpouring of love and support during this difficult time.

"The most important thing is to honour Mike," said Prieur. "The man that he was and the passion he had and love for his family."

Vrebosch and McDonald said the people of North Bay should remember Anthony as a man who worked diligently every day for the city he held close to his heart.

"Mike had the kindest heart of anyone I had ever met," concluded Prieur. "He walked the walk and talked the talk."

Anthony leaves behind his wife Tanya and his step-daughter Brittany.