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East York Hall of Fame nearly ready for roll out

AN EAST YORK CHRONICLE EXCLUSIVE                 By Gary Webb-Proctor

Logo from new Facebook page for East York Hall of Fame.

Logo from new Facebook page
for East York Hall of Fame.

Although it has been kept somewhat under wraps for the past several months, a group of politicians, history buffs and community activists has been working behind the scenes to create an East York Hall of Fame to honour the many prominent people the former borough and township has produced over the years, East York Chronicle has learned.

One clue that the initiative was underway could be seen last month in a statement by the president of the East York Historical Society in the organization’s newsletter released jut prior to its annual meeting.  Panchetta Barnett indicated that the society was “looking for a permanent place in East York to establish its collection of Archival materials in 2017.”

But more direct confirmation was the establishment, on November 3, of a new “East York Hall of Fame” Facebook page and several posts which appear on it.

Mike Holmes from East York Baseball, Justin Van Dette from Michael  Garron Hospital, Barb DiGiulio from Newstalk 1010, former East York  Mayor & MP Alan Redway and Joe Cooper, after a meeting about the new EYHoF, pose for a photo posted on the group’s Facebook page.

Mike Holmes from East York Baseball, Justin Van Dette from Michael Garron Hospital, Barb DiGiulio from Newstalk 1010, former East York
Mayor & MP Alan Redway and Joe Cooper, after a meeting about the new EYHoF, pose for a photo posted on the group’s Facebook page.

One such post, attributed to the page itself, described a “very productive meeting” with Ward 31 Councillor Mary Fragedakis “to discuss the East York Hall of Fame” and included a photo of the councillor and EYHS board of directors member Justin Van Dette.

A message with the same photo and nearly identical wording was also sent out by Mr. Van Dette on his personal Twitter account shortly afterwards, suggesting that is also the administrator of the Facebook page.

The page’s “About” section simply states that its mission is “Celebrating the history of East York for future generations by honoring past and present residents who had a direct connection to our community.”

Elsewhere on the page in a November 3 post it is stated that “Nomination packages and our website will be live soon with our first induction ceremony being planned for Spring.”

And a late-November post on the page quotes Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, who is also a member of the EYHS, as saying “I look forward to supporting the East York Hall of Fame as it recognizes the significant contributions made by those from our community, for years to come.”

Yet another subsequent post on the Facebook page, which also includes a photo of Van Dette, longtime EYHS member and former EY Mayor, MP (and Chronicle columnist) Alan Redway and three others, says that “we’re pretty close to publicly launching our great community initiative.”

However, when asked by The Chronicle when the organization was likely to actually be legally founded and announced, Van Dette said that “we can’t put the horse ahead of the cart because our structure hasn’t been set” and that a location has not yet been finalized.  The group also wants to wait until it’s able to set up its own website before fully going public, he said.

East York Civic Centre would seem the logical place for the physical Hall to be located —and might in part explain Van Dette’s passionate activism in ensuring the East York logo would be included on new signs recently erected there [as detailed in Issues 023 and 024].

If it is to be established at the EYCC, however, it seems likely that there would be a fairly extensive approval process involved and if there are expenses associated with doing so then the question of who would pay them would also have to be addressed.

Presumably also questions such as whether the organization will be legally structured as a non-profit or charitable corporation or as a society, association or other configuration are part of what’s still to be determined.

The Leaside Sports Hall of Fame is believed to be one template that the group is looking at for the new undertaking, according to one source, but the EYHoF may well require other tweaks particular to its mission.

Regardless of the complexities still to be ironed out, the Facebook page, Van Dette’s tweet and the fact that he’s been willing to “go public” with as much as has been revealed, together would suggest that the Hall is very close to becoming a reality early in 2017.

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