Beaches-East York MPP Michael Prue invited a number of riding residents to Queen's Park earlier in October, to receive a Diamond Jubilee Medal, handed out across the country in tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's 60th year on the throne. About 60,000 Canadians will receive the medals from various politicians.
Prue's 14 recipients were recognized for a variety of reasons. Three past Citizens of the Year were honoured, including Marie Perrotta, founder of the Pegasus program for adults with developmental disabilities; Gene Domagala, for his countless volunteer activities; and Glenn Cochrane posthumously, who was nominated before he passed away for his likewise countless volunteer causes, as well as several books about the Beach and Toronto.
Other well-known Beachers awarded the medal were Lido Chilelli, producer of the Beaches International Jazz Festival, which has entertained hundreds of thousands of music lovers over the years, while also raising funds for Toronto East General Hospital. Justin Van Dette, who volunteers extensively for several organizations, including East General, was also honoured with a medal.
Former Beach Metro News editor Carole Stimmell received a medal for her long service with this newspaper, along with many other community volunteer efforts. Although she knew some of her fellow recipients, she said she was thrilled to meet others whose efforts in the riding were new to her.
“I'm very honoured to have been chosen to be part of such an amazing group. It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the richness of community volunteers in the Beach and East York,” she said. “Everybody who was there had just done so much.”
Donna Lynn McCallum has donated untold hours and photographs of East York and Beach events to community members and groups; some of her photos have graced the pages of this newspaper. Bob and Liz Lister are long-time East York volunteers, including with their church's Refugee Resettlement Committee. John Cartwright is on the boards of the Waterfront Regeneration Trust and the Canadian Energy Alliance. Pastor Bob Paterson-Watt of Woodbine Heights Baptist Church is a tireless advocate for those living in poverty; he gives his time to, among others, the Daily Bread food bank, the Shoelace Collective and Not Far From The Tree. Betty Tustin has been volunteering at True Davidson Acres Long Term Care for over two decades. Romelda Morson works for tenant rights, and volunteers with the Metropolitan Church organizing food delivery for the less fortunate. Stuart Stark donated a kidney to his father, who returned the favour by nominating him for a medal; he is now an active volunteer with the Kidney Foundation.
Earlier in the summer, Lorenzo Berardinetti, MPP for Scarborough Southwest, handed out 14 medals as well. From the Birchcliff, Cliffside and western Bluffs neighbourhoods, four community members received medals. Salma Zahid, an advocate and organizer for the underprivileged, activist and volunteer Doris Ward, volunteer and organizer Marjorie Soper and Hellenic-Canadian Federation of Ontario founding member Peter Dimitrakoudis were all honoured with medals.
Beaches-East York MP Matthew Kellway will also be distributing 30 medals; if anyone is deserving of such an honour, contact Kellway's office by Nov. 12 to nominate them. His medals will be handed out in January; there may also be a 'spirit of jubilee' award for youth. Phone 416-467-0860, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or stop by the riding office at 155 Main St.