History of Beach Metro News: 1990

Members of the Beach Metro cycling team gather before a bike-a-thon to the end of the Leslie Street Spit in 1990. From left: Rosie Marquardt, Brenda Dow, Brian Dow, Bill MacLean, Valari Marquardt, Joan Latimer, Dianne Marquardt, and Teresa Marquardt.

If a tree falls in the Beach everybody hears it. Early in 1990 an inspection of willows along the boardwalk revealed that 32 had to be pruned and two would have to be axed.  At a March 21 public meeting at Adam Beck Community Centre, Regina Gudelis, the first woman arborist in the city’s Forestry Department, explained that willows have hollow trunks and are not sturdy enough to withstand strong winds gusting off the lake.  Their lifespan is 75 to 90 years, and many of the trees were planted in the early 1900s. Trees that have to be taken down before they are blown down would be replaced with willows grown from cuttings in the city’s own nursery.

There was a poll among residents to decide on the style of new streetlamps for the boardwalk. Eleven designs were submitted by manufacturers who hoped their product would outshine the rest. The original city choice of typical sodium lighting was vetoed by councillor Tom Jakobek who felt they were too harsh and cold for the boardwalk.  The new lights would be installed  in 1991 and would cost between $500 and $1,000 each.

In April police were called when a gang of 25 youths invaded Malvern’s smelt derby at the beach.  The interlopers roughed up a student and two teachers who went to his aid.  One teacher was punched and kicked and burned when he passed out and fell into the fire pit, and another received a black eye, broken nose and chipped tooth. On Sept. 18, the ringleader, an 18-year actor who had been a regular on the show Degrassi High, was sentenced to a year in jail. He pleaded guilty to two charges of assault causing bodily harm and one charge of simple assault.

One of the saddest stories of 1990 was the disappearance of Andrea Atkinson.

Many local people were among those who searched ravines and woods for the six-year-old. Her body was found a few days later in the boiler room of the Coatsworth Crescent apartment  building where she lived.  The building’s 18-year-old janitor was later convicted of first degree murder, partly on DNA evidence, and is currently serving a life sentence.

In August, arson at the YMCA at 907 Kingston Road caused $150,000 damage. During the night someone broke in, stole cash and set three fires. The Y had been the newspaper’s headquarters from 1972 to 1988, and among the relics rescued by firefighters was a singed waterlogged bundle of Ward 9 News. Fearing the building would never open again, patrons petitioned the YMCA to build a better facility on the site. Although the outer shell still looks the same, the inside building is a vast improvement on the original structure built in the early 1950s with money raised by local residents.

Helen and Gordon Young, who ran a flower store at the corner of Kingston and Scarborough Roads for over 30 years, retired and sold the business to relatives, and were about to take a trip back to Hong Kong.  All those years the store was open seven days a week with the couple spelling each other for lunch and supper breaks.  Gordon’s day began at 4:30 a.m. with a trip to Mississauga to pick up flowers before the shop opened at 9 a.m.  “All day long it’s flowers. That’s all we know. Now we have to get out and see the other side,” said Helen. The couple had two children, one a dentist and the other in her final year in medical school.

On the Ontario Lakeside, a paperback written by Soon-Bae Park, was a best seller in his homeland, Korea.  The 190-page book consisted of stories from his experience and observations behind the counter of his high-traffic variety store at 1925 Queen St. East.

In 1990 Caravan was still an international festival celebrating Toronto’s many cultures. For the 22nd year, residents and tourists visited ethnic centres around the city.  The East End had four pavilions – The Blue Danube at 214 Main St. in the Danube Swabian Centre; Helsinki at 276A Main at the Finnish Club, Manila at 888 Cosburn Ave., and Panjim at 57 Glebemount.

A tidal wave of NDP support swept through Beaches-Woodbine in the Sept. 6 provincial election.  Frances Lankin topped the polls with 13,687 votes, trouncing the Liberal’s Beryl Potter who had 6,267. The PC’s Kevin Forrester garnered 3,352.  In Scarborough West Anne Swarbrick had no trouble holding on the riding for the NDP with 13,948 votes, replacing NDP incumbent and social activist Richard Johnston who retired. Liberal Joe Pacione received 6,322 votes and PC Jim Brown with 5, 580.  Anne Swarbrick became Minister of Women’s Issues.

In the Bob Rae government, Frances Lankin held two posts and became one of the most powerful people in the cabinet. She was chair of the Management Board of Cabinet overseeing all government expenditures and responsible for 80,000 employees. As chair of Government services, she headed the ministry that controlled all government land and building.

Hal Bosher of Balsam Avenue, 13, a soprano and soloist with St. James Cathedral in Toronto, received the highest award from the Royal School of Church Music in England, the St. Nicholas Medal.

Janice Thorn was awarded a silver medal by the Royal Conservatory for obtaining the highest mark in Ontario in a grade 8 organ recital.  Thorn, a student of Dean Perry, organist and choir master at Bellefair United Church, was a soloist in the church choir.

Emily Dawson, 8, from St. John’s Catholic School, won the Mayor for a Day contest sponsored by City Hall, beating out thousands of entries submitted by students from 53 schools.  Emily and other finalists had lunch with Mayor Art Eggleton  in the Council Chamber (ham and cheese sandwiches and ice cream bars) and  then was driven back to school in a limousine. She later spent a day with Mayor Eggleton, accompanying him to various functions.

Local journalist Cathy Dunphy won the National Newspaper Association’s award in the feature story category for her story The Team that Helped Carmelita Die.  She wrote about Carmelita Lawlor, a nun turned nurse turned Beach realtor and the team of 50 people who supported her during the last 16 months of her life after she was diagnosed with cancer.

Julie Millan of Lark Avenue, a Grade 13 Malvern student, was elected as one of three international directors for the service group, Junior Civitan.

Bill Hind, sixth degree black belt and owner of the Canada Goju Karate Do at Danforth and Main represented Canada a the 30th anniversary of the Okinawan Gopju Karate Association in Japan.

Tina Smith of Lee Avenue was one of Toronto’s top academic achievers. The Danforth Tech student received awards in math, English chemistry, and the school’s overall highest performance, as well as an Ontario Scholarship and the Governor General’s Academic Medal. She went on to study engineering at Queen’s University.

The Red Devils, both boys and girls’ teams at Norway Public School, won the city soccer finals.

For Simcoe Day on Aug. 6 a Governors’ Garden Party was held in Kew Gardens.  The celebration was sponsored by the City of Toronto with local resident Joe Cote reprising his role as Governor John Simcoe.

Miss Canada was among 200 guests at the annual Hot Tub Party organized by the late Larry Hayes. Frolickers contributed over $30,000 to the Children’s Wish Foundation.

On Oct. 22 the Danube Swabian Club, then at 214 Main St., was used by the  CBC producers of Conspiracy of Silence to film a wedding scene for the film  which was based a 1971 Canadian cause célèbre, the story  of Helen Betty Osborne, a young First Nations woman who was beaten  to death in La Paz, Manitoba.
A week later a crew from the CTV series, Katz and Dog, filmed a scene at a house at Lyall and Walter.
The Dip and Sip at Main and Kingston Road, became an American donut store for a few hours for the shooting of a scene for the comedy series Car 54.

On Oct. 24 about a hundred Edgewood residents met at Corpus Christi School to discuss ways to fight construction of a 64-unit housing co-op which would replace four houses on the site. They felt the area already had its share of subsidized housing, and were concerned about traffic and parking problems the development would bring.  Councillor Paul Christie, who felt the building was not suited for the area, struck up a working committee of the various stakeholders.

The first and only exhibition of John Lennon’s art in Canada was displayed at the Animation Gallery on Queen Street. The show offered more than 50 works for sale.

A Christmas service was recorded  at Beaches Presbyterian Church on Dec. 23 for broadcast by CFTO on Christmas Day.

As the year ended, local politicians shared their favorite recipes.  For MPP Frances Lankin it was Quick and Easy Clam Chowder.  Councillor Paul Christie claimed his Honey-Mustard Chicken with Curry was a winner.  MP Neil Young provided Best Ever Lasagna.  Councillor Tom Jakobek shared his Vanilla Horseshoe Cookies.  Scarborough West’s MPP Anne Swarbrick contributed Crème de Menthe Fruit Dip.


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