Bob Acton Park is one step closer to becoming a reality following a unanimous vote of support by the Toronto East York Community Council yesterday.
A request was put forward last year to name the park on William Hancox Avenue in the Upper Beach Bob Acton Park, in memory of the man who contributed much to the Beach community as a coach and tragically passed away from ALS nearly six months ago.
A motion to exempt the naming request from the city’s two-year waiting policy was approved following an impassioned submission by Paul Pellman, a friend of Acton’s, and Reid Acton, Acton’s son. The city received a number of emails on the subject.
“Bob Acton, who has made a unique contribution to children in particular, has demonstrated excellence, courage and exceptional dedication to service to our community,” said Pellman, a member of the board of the Ted Reeve hockey association who also operates the little league program, to community council January 17. “He is an inhabitant of the community, born and raised in the community. He lived literally down the street from this particular park. He’s provided exemplary community service to this community for over 20 years.”
Pellmen said that by naming this park in honour of Acton, it will help retain his legacy and that when people look at the park, and the park is well-used, they will remember that “the name Bob Acton has a massive amount of goodwill … people will remember Bob and the role that he played in the lives of so many — voluntarily, not just for compensation.”
Ward 32 councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon moved the motion to bring the request to council, making a point to clarify that the park as it stands now “has no name.”
There is a park in Scarborough named after the fallen police officer William Hancox, and this park is on William Hancox Avenue “so we have two things named after the fallen police officer,” she said, adding that there has been confusion over whether this is a renaming or a naming.
A November 2016 report notes the park is officially called “William Hancox Parkette”, a name that was “applied to the park automatically in reference to its municipal address.” It states that the park does not have a sign and that there is confusion in the community about the park’s name. It references earlier discussions to name the park “Upper Beach Gardens Park.”
McMahon said, “You will recall that we have discussed ‘no name park’ over the years here and we have gone through different iterations … Unfortunately, one of our Beach legends passed away and the community has spoken loudly and clearly that they, and we all, are supportive of this and would like to name our park after our beloved mentor Bob Acton. He was a very well-loved figure in our community.”
Council will now consider this motion at its January 31 meeting where McMahon hopes to receive unanimous support for the naming.