The year 2000 started without the predicted Y2K catastrophes. Many of us had stockpiled food and water in case the world order collapsed. Few were willing to fly on Jan. 1, but no planes fell from the sky. One of the local CIBCs, which had amassed cots and blankets for staff to sleep over in anticipation of computer problems, was able to later donate them to St. Brigid’s Out of the Cold program.
To celebrate the new century, Beach Metro News ran a contest to find the 100 people or organizations, past and present that, in the opinion of readers, had contributed most to the East End from 1900 to 1999. There were many entries with explanations of why a nominee should be chosen. Visit beachmetro.com to see the full list of 100.
To celebrate the new century, Community Centre 55 and the Beaches Lions helped establish the Millennium Garden on the southeast corner of Eastern and Coxwell Avenues in the grounds of the new Woodbine Park. On Sept. 9, the garden was officially opened and a nine tonne stone unveiled. This showed the names of local families and groups who had given $200 each towards landscaping. Scotiabank also donated $30,000 towards landscaping, plants and trees.
One of the trees was not like the others in a nearby grove of sugar maples. It was cast in bronze by Laurie McGugan and captured the moment when the trees were planted, and is now dwarfed by them. The Millennium Garden became the site of the annual Beach Citizen of the Year festivities.
In 2000 City council voted to spend $720,000 on building a band shelter in the new Woodbine Park. The cost would be recovered over ten years by charging a fee to corporate sponsors of major events in the park. Some events were moved there from Kew Gardens. Council authorized spending $50,000 to restore trees and grass in Kew Gardens which had been damaged from too many festivities.
At the annual Beaches Jazz Festival, buffed off-duty firefighters from the Herbert Fire Hall were stripped of the right to shimmy down to their underwear while raising funds for Muscular Dystrophy. The Fire Department shut down the show.
A late-night fire destroyed several businesses and apartments on the north side of Queen Street between Bellefair and Wheeler Avenues. All occupants were safely removed and they watched as crews from 25 fire trucks and 15 support vehicles battled the blaze until the next day. Stores affected included Vienna Upholstery, Ups and Downs, and The Booksmith. The building was razed and rebuilt.
The lights went out for Phillips Lighting at 172 Main St. After 51 years of creating handmade shades and repairing antique lamps, Bruce Phillips pulled the plug. The company had started in 1925 as the B.P. Shade Co. at Queen and Kenilworth, and then moved to 172 Main in 1942. Bruce joined the family business that year.
2000 was the Year of the Moose, and 200 life-size fibreglass statues of moose were scattered across the city, a project of Mayor Mel Lastman. Contests were held for artists to paint them. One depicting Beach scenes stood outside Loblaw’s, and another was at the entrance to Kew Gardens. Several Beach artists contributed to the project.
Earl Beatty School celebrated its 75th anniversary on October 25. Back in 1925, Admiral (later Earl) Beatty, the hero of the First World War naval Battle of Jutland, visited the 12-room schoolhouse on Woodington Avenue. Resplendent in his dress uniform complete with sword, he presided over the official opening of the school, while a naval band played to a crowd of 500 children, each decked out in blue and white bows made by teacher Ada Smith. Beatty chose the day for the service because it was the 120th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, a date dear to the hearts of all British sailors. One of the former students who came to the 75th anniversary was Howard Hampton, leader of the Provincial N.D.P.
The Earl Beatty playground was dismantled over the summer, along with those at Blantyre, Courcelette, Crescent Town, Earl Haig, Kew Beach, Kimberley and Secord schools. In June the Toronto District School Board ordered playground equipment removed in over 100 schools as it no longer met safety standards developed by CSA International. The board had no funds to replace the equipment. Under the new provincial funding formula, playgrounds were not eligible for grants. It was up to parents to run fun fairs and bake sales to raise the money.
In September, Malcolm Millan led a party, including eight East Enders, who walked 300 Km across England from St. Bees Head through the Lake District and Yorkshire moors to Robin Hood’s Bay. The group raised $6,000 for Pegasus Community Project. Other local hikers included Kathy Millan, Bruce and Margaret Ewing, Jim and Pat Anderson, and Kathleen, Kate and Alex Parley. They trained by walking the Bruce Trail and hills in the Beach.
A reunion of the Ashbridge family drew over 100 descendants of Sarah Ashbridge, the matriarch who immigrated to the area with her family from Pennsylvania in 1793. A Toronto heritage plaque was unveiled at the Ashbridge House at 1444 Queen St. E., where five generations of the family lived over two centuries.
Restoration began on Maple Cottage on Laing Street in Leslieville. According to legend, in 1867 (the year of Confederation) a leaf from the Maple tree on the property floated down and landed on the lapel of Alexander Muir, principal of Leslieville Public School. He was inspired to write The Maple Leaf Forever, which became an unofficial anthem among English Canadians. Over several years the Friends of Maple Cottage were able to restore the building from a derelict structure to a local resource which is now available for community events.
In 2000 elections, women carried the day in the Beach. Sandra Bussin was re-elected as a councillor, and Sheila Cary-Meagher, who was the local school trustee in 1973-1980, returned to defeat 20-year incumbent David Moll. Angela Kennedy became the Separate School trustee.
In the Federal election Liberal incumbent Maria Minna ran against nine contenders. She received over half of the 42,688 votes cast in Beaches/East York.
Among those who passed on in 2000 were retired librarian Sadie Jordan, Rev. Albert Burnside of Kew Beach United Church, Sylvia Newton of Randall’s Stationery, Second World War veteran Larry Hayes, and Ab Box, a legend on the football field, who played for Balmy Beach and the Argonauts in the 1930s, both teams that won Grey Cups. Ab was one of the first CFL players to wear a face mask.
Anne Scott Mumford who contributed to the musical life of the Beach for over 60 years died. At the height of her career ‘Aunt Anne’ taught over 100 students a week on the Heintzman grand piano in her Malvern Avenue home.
Readers’ Choice of the 100 people and organizations that contributed most to the East End in the 20th century.
Alfred Ernest Ames
David Bruce Archer
Balmy Beach Club
1970s Balmy Beach School Mothers
W.J. Baynes Reed
Beach Hebrew Institute
Hamper/Community Centre 55
Daycare Connections/Elizabeth Ferguson & Mona Stephens
Walter Godsoe Sr.
Grand Trunk Railway
Allan MacLean Howard
Pat and Ron Kelly
Kew Beach Couples Club
Leuty Lifeguard Station S.O.S.
Jim & Nancy Palmer
St, John’s Norway Church
Scarboro Beach Amusement Park
Ted Reeve Arena
Toronto Beaches Lions Club
Toronto East General Hospital
Thomas Wardle Sr.
Ward 9/Beach metro Community News