Beach Metro News annual general meeting approaching

The Beach Metro News annual general meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 23 at the Balmy Beach Club. Current members of the newspaper are eligible to attend the meeting and vote for officers of the volunteer board of directors.

Board candidates:


Rob Granatstein, has been on the Beach Metro News board since 2013. He is a long-time journalist in Toronto, now head of video at Postmedia and senior producer and director at

Since taking over in 2012, Rob has led a complete overhaul of all aspects of, from the editorial side to site design to content management system, with a focus on how stories are produced, pushing the site to be more engaging with readers, and launching a successful social media strategy.

Before joining, Rob was the editorial page editor of the Toronto Sun, managing columnists and the national commentary program, and writing columns and editorials. Before being named editor, he covered City Hall and general assignment reporting over a 17-year career at the Sun.

He is also a former executive member of the Ontario Press Council.

But Rob would rather be at the rink. He coaches the East York Bulldogs Minor Novice select team, is an assistant coach in house league and will be on the ice for hockey school this year. Plus he plays twice a week. He’s also a coach at East York Baseball.

Rob is married to Natasha Granatstein, founding chair of the Danforth East Community Association, founder of DECA Diaries, and leader of many community initiatives.

They have lived in the community for almost a decade. They have two boys, Maxwell and Clayton.

Brian Graff is a life-long Torontonian who chose to move to the Beach six years ago. It has been his favourite part of the city since first visiting the area in the early 1970s.

Brian has been active in local politics and ran for City Council last year because he cares deeply about the community.

He was also very active as a volunteer in urban planning matters including the Lick’s and Shell Station condo fights, and in the Queen Street planning studies. He is a believer that physical changes to the community need to be appropriate and should protect and preserve what is best about what we already have.

Brian has degrees in architecture and environmental studies. He believes his MBA in Finance and experience in business should be invaluable to the board overseeing the management of the paper.

Vice president

Doug Black has been on the Beach Metro News board since 2013. He is a retired architect and former Bell Canada employee, where he worked in the real estate department. His 26-year Bell career started in Ottawa, followed by London, and culminated in Toronto.

He currently works part-time at The Home Depot, and is a volunteer at the Beach Metro News as a carrier and a route captain. He is a regular volunteer at Tuesday morning bundling sessions on publication days.

He has been a volunteer on the Board of Directors at the Beach Metro News since 2013, currently serving as Secretary.

Doug grew up in the West Island of Montreal and graduated from Carleton University School of Architecture.  He has lived in the Beach for the last 23 years, but also relishes relaxing (and renovating) at his cottage in the Haliburton Highlands.

Doug enjoyed six years as volunteer Treasurer for the St. John Catholic School Advisory Council (parent/teacher org.). He coached in the Beaches Community Soccer League for three years, as well as one year in the East Toronto Baseball Association (Rookieball). Doug has been a long-time blood donor and recently reached the 100 mark.

Doug’s son lives and works in London, while his daughter attends Brock University in St. Catharines. The family beagle ensured that Doug got to personally see every lawn, shrub, hydro pole and hydrant in the east end of the Beach, usually twice a day.


Debbie Visconti has been on the Beach Metro News board since 2014. She was born and raised in the community, growing up in the Main and Gerrard area and attending Kimberley Public School, Bowmore Public School, and Monarch Park Collegiate Institute.

After obtaining her bachelor of commerce, she worked for Scotiabank for 29 years in management.

Four years ago, Debbie took on the position of Executive Director at Community Centre 55. She is responsible for community service delivery through Centre 55, including a daycare, seniors’ programs, the Share A Christmas program among a very long list of services, programs and special events. She had previously been on the Board of Management at Centre 55.

Debbie has served on the Toronto East General Hospital board. Her current volunteer duties include treasurer of a dog rescue organization, and president of her residents’ association.


Jason Balgopal was raised in Scarborough, but bought his first house in the Upper Beach in 2000. He and his wife of 17 years have renovated four houses and have decided to stay in their current home of eight years with their golden retriever Piper. Jason is a lawyer who works for the provincial government.

Jason is the volunteer chair of the board of management at Community Centre 55. He led this active local service organization through the process of hiring a new executive director after the retirement of a well-liked and long-serving predecessor.

Jason is also the vice-chair of the board of directors of The Neighbourhood Group. He participated in the creation of this new service organization, an amalgamation of the long-standing Neighbourhood Link Support Service and Central Neighbourhood House.

He is the president and founding member of the Friends of Norwood Park, whose purpose is to improve the physical and social aspects of the park. In the last five years the park has received more than $100,000 in improvements and more than 40 new replacement trees. In the summer there are a variety of activities, including a Shakespeare play produced by Bard in the Park and a movie night. In the winter an active group of “Ice Masters” has ensured a skating rink is available.

Jason is the president and founding member of the East Toronto Neighbourhood Association, that aims to improve the physical and social aspects of the Old Village of East Toronto. This new organization has already organized a local community clean-up day and hosted a Family Day event

He is also the founder and a member of the Beaches Mental Wellness peer-to-peer support group, an organization to help those dealing with mental health challenges improve their lives through interactions with similarly situated peers.

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