Balmy Beach coach works to make paddling more inclusive

Some are shocked to learn they’ve won an award, others elated. Colleen Didur was hesitant to receive her Coaches Association of Ontario award. It’s not that the Balmy Beach Canoe Club coordinator wasn’t happy about the distinction. “I was a little bit hesitant to receive the award at first because I don’t necessarily think of […]

Stars fill the room at Orlando’s Hollywood Canteen

A self-described “maniac collector of things”, life-long east-end Toronto resident Mike Orlando says he owned a couple tons of movie posters before he decided to start the Hollywood Canteen, his now decades-old film-memorabilia business on the Danforth. “I’ve been collecting since ’75, and just amassing great quantities of original movie posters from theatres and people […]

This one’s for you, soldiers of Dieppe

August 19 marked the 75th anniversary of the Dieppe Raid but for some, this tragic day in history still feels like yesterday. Upper Beach resident Paul Ryan knows all too well how closely the pain of that day can be carried by those who lost their loved ones. His mother still has portraits of her […]

The man behind the Queen Street hiking sticks

This story was first published June 22, 2016. If you’ve found yourself on Queen Street just east of Ivan Forrest Gardens on a weekend, there’s a fair chance you’ve seen Robert Bertram on his balcony – and if you haven’t seen the man, you’ve likely seen the sticks and the sign. A handwritten sign noting […]

We tracked down East Danforth’s ‘Strolling Harmonica Man’

On the one hand, Michael Parker is exactly who one might picture when thinking about a strolling harmonica player – outgoing and jovial, his happy demeanor fits perfectly with the upbeat tunes he plays on his evening walks through the Danforth East neighbourhood. On the other hand, he doesn’t fit the mold at all. Sitting […]

Michael is a cheerleader for his community

For a man whose name is recognizable as that of a leader in the East End community, it might surprise some to learn that Michael Rusek was not entirely excited to move to the area. At the time, four years ago, he and his now-husband, Eric, shared an apartment in Midtown, with Rusek commuting back […]

How a heart of gold led to a world of opportunity

Taking home the gold has a different meaning than most for 18-year-old Sara Upsher. Though she only just finished her first year of university at McMaster, the Beach resident has more volunteer hours under her belt than most adults – and has recently been given a gold medal for her work. The gold level Duke […]