By ERIN HORROCKS-POPE
In the heart of the Beach community, a hero often walks among us – someone who dedicates their time, energy, and passion to selfless civic activities that improve the lives of those around them. This year, the Beach Citizen of the Year Award honours Robert (Bob) Gore, an extraordinary individual whose commitment has left an indelible mark on the community.
The Beach Citizen of the Year Award, founded and presented by Community Centre 55, the Beaches Lions Club, and Beach Metro Community News, has been honouring local heroes since 2001. Each recipient embodies the spirit of giving and selflessness, contributing significantly to the betterment of the Beach community.
Gore’s journey to becoming the 2023 Beach Citizen of the Year is a testament to a lifetime dedicated to community support and improvement. Nominated by Bill Sinclair, CEO of The Neighbourhood Group Community Services, Gore’s extensive contributions to various organizations speak volumes about his impact.
Sinclair’s nomination letter encapsulates Gore’s character: “Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Bob will tell you that he’s very humble and makes his numerous contributions to the community without fanfare, but I can share with you that The Neighbourhood Group Community Services is what it is today in no small part because of Bob’s contributions. We are indebted to him for his years of commitment, dedication, service, and generosity. The Beaches area, and indeed the City of Toronto, is fortunate to have benefited from Bob’s extensive impact on our community.”
While many in the Beach community may recognize Gore as their friendly neighbourhood accountant, his contributions extend far beyond the world of finance. For more than three decades, his office, Robert Gore and Associates CPA, located on Kingston Road near Fallingbrook Avenue, has been a cornerstone of support and service.
Gore combines his business insight, financial literacy, and accounting skills with his profound passion for community service. His advocacy extends to the most vulnerable, ensuring that their voices are heard and their needs met to strengthen the fabric of our society.
One of Gore’s most notable roles is as the current board chair of Neighbourhood Link Homes. Over the past two decades, he has tirelessly volunteered and advocated for affordable and ethical housing – a critical issue in Toronto that affects countless individuals and families daily.
In the past, Gore has also run tax clinics at Community Centre 55, providing assistance to community members navigating complex tax matters. His involvement extends to fundraising for Michael Garron Hospital in East York, where his efforts have contributed to improved healthcare services for the community.
But Gore’s contributions are not limited to specific organizations; his impact is felt throughout the community. He played an instrumental role in founding the Beach Business Improvement Area (BIA).
When asked about his motivation for volunteering and his philosophy of giving back, Gore reflected on the importance of gratitude and the value of sharing.
“The concept of being charitable with your time and your money… well, it’s never bad,” he said. “And, I wish that more people, particularly those lucky enough to have good fortune in their lives, could stop. Just stop and look around. Be thankful and understand the value of sharing some of what they have could mean to others. Whether it’s time, money, or a combination of both.”
Gore’s journey of giving back found its initial spark during a visit to a seniors’ home, where he witnessed the limited care options and engagement available to residents. This experience ignited his passion for inclusiveness and the belief that everyone in the community is essential.
“The inclusiveness of everyone in the community and remembering how important it is that everybody is important,” he emphasized. “There are a lot of people who run the risk of being left in a corner and forgotten, and organizations like Neighbourhood Link can make the quality of life a bit better.”
Receiving the Beach Citizen of the Year Award places Gore among a distinguished group of past recipients, including Gene Domagala, Suzanne Beard, John Ellis, Sheila Blinoff and Carole Stimmell. As he reflects on this honour, he admitted to feeling humbled by the recognition, given the impressive legacy of previous winners.
“It feels pretty amazing,” said Gore. “I know some of the people named on that Walk of Fame, and now I’m pinching myself thinking, ‘Gee, did I do enough to join their ranks? Did I try enough?’ Because some of those people have been, or were, real forever fixtures in the neighbourhood – seemingly involved in everything. So, it’s a surprise and a fabulous feeling to join that group of people.”
Beyond his philanthropic endeavours, Gore finds joy in spending time with family and friends. Together with his wife, Mary, they host events in their home to fundraise for the arts and students, reflecting Mary’s passion. Robert also enjoys riding his bike in the east end, supporting local businesses, and indulging in his recent love for race car driving.
Gore exemplifies the profound impact that one individual can have on a community. His legacy inspires others, reminding us of the transformative power of compassion, dedication, and the unwavering belief in the value of community.
The Beach Citizen of the Year Investiture Ceremony will take place on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 21, at Woodbine Park’s Millennium Garden.