By AMANDA GIBB
The 2021 Beach Citizen of the Year is longtime resident Barbara Myrvold, who will receive the award in a special ceremony on Saturday, Sept. 18 at the Millennium Garden in Woodbine Park.
Myrvold, who recently retired from a lengthy career at the Toronto Public Library, was named the 2021 Beach Citizen of the Year for her dedication and volunteer work with numerous organizations spanning more than 40 years.
In the past, she has served on the City of Toronto Ward 9 Sesquicentennial Coordinating Committee, Beach Metro Community News board of directors, and Kew Cottage Advisory Board, to name a few.
“Writing about history, working at preserving history, promoting local history, that’s the sort of the main volunteer activity I’ve been involved with,” said Myrvold.
Her love of local history blossomed while she was completing a Master’s in Library Science many years ago in order to give her the option to advance in her career while she was working at the Locke Branch library in north Toronto.
“One of the courses was to do a bibliography so I thought I might as well do something that would benefit the library and me, so I chose to do a bibliography on north Toronto,” she said.
Myrvold said that her work on the bibliography inspired her to delve into the Beach’s history.
“I thought ‘I wonder what the local history is of the neighbourhood where I live?’ And I discovered the local historical society, and many kindred spirits and lifelong friends that I met there. It all really came out of a school project,” she said.
Today, Myrvold’s volunteerism spirit is evident in her work with The Beach and East Toronto Historical Society (TBETHS), and as a local history researcher and writer. She has many published works about local history and the history of other parts of Toronto.
“In most volunteer activities, you get a lot back…I think the best volunteer work is something that meets your interests and your needs, and ideally, you volunteer for something that enriches you as a person and hopefully enriches your community, and the people you’re serving,” said Myrvold.
She said that her volunteer work revolving around local history and serving the community has been a very rewarding experience.
Although Myrvold is now retired, she still makes meaningful contributions to the Beach community. She’s currently coordinating an indexing project for TBETHS.
“A lot of what I’m doing now is very much related to the work I did at the library…with a group of fantastic volunteers who are giving their time to input the information into a database so that this whole index…will be available to anybody anywhere because it will be on the Internet. Instead of being hidden in the archives, it’ll be out for the public to enjoy,” she said.
Myrvold is also working with Heritage Preservation/Planning Services to have more Beach buildings preserved under Toronto’s Heritage Register.
“We would like to have more buildings recognized in the Toronto Heritage Register that are important locally,” she said.
She said that one of their greatest successes was the preservation of the Victorian Ontario cottage at 292 Main St., just south of Danforth Avenue.
Myrvold said that she was very pleased to be named the 2021 Beaches Citizen of the Year.
“I feel very fortunate to be in such illustrious company with people who have done so much for the community in a variety of different ways. It’s good that the award reflects all of the contributions that volunteers can make,” she said.
The ceremony to honour Myrvold as 2021 Beach Citizen of the Year take place at 12:45 p.m. on Sept. 18 in Woodbine Park’s Millennium Garden close to the southeast corner of Coxwell and Eastern avenues.
The Beach Citizen of the Year award began in 2001 and past residents honoured include Gene Domagala, Glenn Cochrane, Ted Randall, Marie Perrotta, Arie Nerman, David Breech, Mary Christie, Joan Brent, Jean Cochrane, Pat Silver, Anne Butler, Thomas Neal, Suzanne Beard, Carole Stimmell, Paul Babich, John Ellis, Jason Balgopal, Sheila Blinoff, and Vicki Tsorlinis.
Due to COVID-19, the award was not presented in 2020.
For more information, please go to https://beachcitizenaward.org/