History of Beach Metro News: 1978 was a year of elections

(from left) Editor Joan Latimer, Business Manager Sheila Blinoff and Advertising Manager Amy Vanderwal try out an antique car parking on Kingston Road in the fall of 1977.

It was 1978 and the 12-page Ward 9 Community News was in its seventh year. It had a staff of three, advertising revenue exceeded expenses, and distribution had reached 20,000 copies each issue.

A new board was elected to guide the staff and pitch in wherever needed. They were Lenore Diaz (president), Nanci Lugsdin (vice-president) Helen Cram (secretary) plus Ed Fudurich (past president).

Gord James had taken over earlier when Bill Peters, our treasurer in the early years, moved to Calgary. No more would I receive calls asking “What’s a reasonable sum for a family of four to spend on groceries, travel, entertainment etc?” as he completed funding applications in his other voluntary role as treasurer of the ForWard 9 Housing Co-op.  If anyone knows how to contact Bill, please let us know.

A new method of speeding up the cash flow was instituted – one that we still use today. All new display advertisers would have to pay in advance for their first three ads.  Classified ads have always been prepaid.

For the 12th annual Easter Parade, Lady Godiva, clad in a flesh-coloured body stocking, rode on a horse along Queen Street. As  the newspaper’s photographer that day, one of my duties was to help Lady Godiva onto her horse and arrange her long blond tresses.  It was cold and raining, but “the whole thing was good fun,” said Deann Senkiw of Enid’s Underworld, except for the “frostbite” on the tips of her toes.

Staff at the Firehall #17 (at Herbert Street) saved the life of a seven-year boy who was badly electrocuted when playing around the nearby TTC substation, a cordoned-off danger area behind two fences. They found him lying face down in the gravel, having received 13,000 volts of alternating current. He was resuscitated, taken to Toronto East General Hospital and treated for second degree burns.

A party at the Fallingbrook beach got out of hand on May 26 with more than 200 minors drinking and smoking up. Dozens of police were called in to quell the disturbance which deteriorated when party goers started hurling rocks and beer bottles at the police.  More than a dozen were arrested. “It was the noisiest thing I’ve ever heard from the beach and really scary,” said a nearby resident.

Duncan Meyers spoke at the historical society meeting in Beaches Library. The local pharmacist recalled the days when there were 14 small drug stores on Queen Street between Coxwell and Fallingbrook. He remembered an earlier era when a customer could get 6 oz. of liquor for 90 cents – but only with a doctor’s prescription.

There was a Beach Moment when one of our readers had her bag snatched as she walked her dog along the boardwalk.  The home-made bag was designed to comply with the new stoop-and scoop-bylaw, and it was full.

Gail Conroy was fishing behind the Hearn Generating Plant near the foot of Coxwell when she latched on to a 26 inch brown trout that took her half an hour to land. She had the fish and a picture to prove it.

For over 50 years, Meryl Dunsmore of Hammersmith Avenue had received a card from a secret admirer on Valentine’s Day, and this year was no exception.  Cards had come from Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Morocco, Haiti, etc., and the sender hinted that they might meet one day. Meryl, 66, had no idea who he was, but hoped he would keep on remembering her.

After a two and a half year battle to get traffic lights at the busy crosswalk at Danforth and Westlake, Gloria Cook and her supporters finally succeeded.

Pianist Glenn Gould, CFRB’s Bob Hesketh and the Ontario Minister of Education Tom Wells were among the 5,000 alumni at Malvern’s 75th anniversary.

David MacDonald became Malvern’s new principal replacing Bob Brooks who died suddenly only a few months into the job.  The president of the Malvern Home and School Association, Dorothy Ottaway, was a member of the committee that hired MacDonald. She was the first parent to take part in the selection of a secondary school principal in Toronto, and later became a school trustee.

The battle against the Scarborough Expressway dragged on. The Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) heard deputations from the ForWard 9 Community Association led by Gail Rayment; from Nina Willcocks, Betty Steele, Robb Gordon and Carole Marino of the Fallingbrook Residents Association; and from star witnesses Richard Soberman, a transportation expert and Ken Whitwell, a city planner.  They won their fight at the OMB, only to have Metro Toronto Council appeal the decision. Now the citizens would have to bring their case to the provincial cabinet.

In the November 1978 elections, a group of candidates ran as a coalition, hoping to offer more effective representation if they worked as a team. The voters didn’t buy the whole concept. While Pat Sheppard was returned as councillor, his running mate Bruce Budd was defeated by Thomas Wardle Jr. Public school trustee Sheila Cary Meagher, part of the group, was returned along with her partner Susan Hunter-Harvey who took down David Moll. Frank Nagle stayed on to represent separate school students in the public system. Father Thomas Day was re-elected for the Separate School Board. John Sewell, who had grown up on Balsam Road, became Mayor of Toronto in this election.

As 1978 ended, the newspaper prepared to make its third move inside the YMCA at 907 Kingston Rd.  The Beaches Alternative School was transferring to quarters at Kimberley School, and the paper would take over the former school room.

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I have been looking for sometime, for some news about my mother who was Gloria Cook. I was hit by a drunk driver at that crosswalk at Westlake ave in 1975. leading to the over 2yr battle for the lights that are there today.
My mother was very proud of her achevment as was her family. She just pasted away last year of a long battle with cancer. I don’t think people relized at the time how much hard work she had put in to getting those lights for the safety of the children in the neighbourhood. all those meeting at the United church at Main st and Danforth ave with police and MP’s from city hall. Never mind the running down to City hall 10 or more times to push the lights. Having us kids go and collect hundreds of signatures on petitions.

I Know that there was alot of press from your paper back then, I would love to show my kids some of the press she got. I think there was a picture of me with afriend standing at that cross walk. if you can forward the link My Dad would love to see them also.

Kind regards

John D R Cook

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