Beach Memories: Thanks for your interest in local historic walks and keep sending comments

A walk in the Gerrard Street East area starting at Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church is among those that have been led by local historian Gene Domagala over the years.


I would like to thank readers of Beach Metro News for their replies to my recent article regarding historic walks.

Apparently there is much interest for me to continue to plan these historic walks through the Beach and other areas in East Toronto.

There have been some suggestions about these walks from the readers, and I will address them. (This is not say that more comments should not be coming from readers. I appreciate them.)

Again, I must stress that the walks will have to meet all COVID-19 safety regulations, and we are not allowed to hold them yet.

In the past, there have been other walks I have done in the area besides those mentioned in my March article.

One walk that I have done many times is in the Gerrard Street East area between Woodbine and Coxwell avenues.

We started at the Grant African Methodist Episcopal Church, located two blocks east of Woodbine, and continued through the old Toronto Golf Course grounds (circa 1876), and then on down to the Gerrard India Bazaar area. I first led that walk some 30 years ago, and have repeated it many times.

I have also done numerous walks in the Glen Stewart Ravine area. During these walks I would talk about the history of the place and the people while field naturalists who came along talked about the birds, the trees, and flowers. Me, I don’t know a daisy from a walnut.

It should be noted that a great field naturalist who was on several of my ravine walks, and was also a Beacher who we should all be proud of, was the late Fred Bodsworth who died in 2012.

There is also a walk that I do from Balsam Avenue and Queen Street East up to Kingston Road. Starting at Queen Street, the walk would also include Beech Avenue.

I have also done walks featuring the different schools in the Beach area.

I’ve also done talks, not walks, with my antiquated slide projector showing photos of the Beach. There have been many occasions where I’ve spoken to seniors’ groups and religious organizations.

It is hard to do all of these endeavours in the area because it takes a lot of time and planning.

How long do my walks take? Approximately 90 minutes to two hours, but sometimes a bit longer. I have been known to be a little long-winded, as many can attest, so that’s why some walks take a bit longer.

How long have I been doing the walks? Well over 40 years.

Most of the walks are arranged so people in wheelchairs, seniors, those pushing baby carriages can take part.

I do not rush, and please feel free to ask any questions or offer any comments on the walks. People coming on the walks are also free to take notes and also use the written information from my columns in Beach Metro News, but ask my permission before using them in anything you plan to publish yourself.

Unfortunately, there have been occasions where some people have taken advantage of my walks and columns, and then published articles as their own – some almost word for word. They were used without obtaining permission or giving credit, and that is wrong.

Occasionally we accept donations for some of the charitable organizations I volunteer for such as Community Centre 55, local food banks, and our interfaith program that provides free lunches for those in need in the community.

I would also encourage you to make a donation to Beach Metro News which does so much to promote local history and is a great help to me and the Beach and East Toronto Historical Society.

And just to confirm to you loyal readers of Beach Metro News that the information on when and where walks will be taking place will be printed in the paper once we are allowed to safely hold them.

Once again, if you have any comments or suggestions about the walks, please send me your contact information. This can be done by sending an email to Beach Metro News editor Alan Shackleton at

I appreciated everyone’s interest in the walks and I am working on getting back to everyone who contacted me earlier.

Please remember we do have our own Beach and East Toronto Historical Society and they are a great source of information.

Again, thanks to everyone for your interest in the walks.

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