MP Peggy Nash announces recipients of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

January 16th, 2013 - 12:42pm

Toronto—NDP MP Peggy Nash (Parkdale High-Park) is pleased to announce the names of the 30 community leaders to whom she has awarded the Diamond Jubilee Medal.

The medal was created to mark the 60th anniversary of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne. Each Member of Parliament was given 30 medals to present to constituents who have made significant contributions to their communities. Ms. Nash will be awarding the medals to the recipients at a ceremony on Sunday, January 20.

Recipients were selected by a volunteer advisory committee struck by Ms Nash, and the committee received a large number of nominations. They come from many walks of life: the arts, business, elected office, the media, sports, volunteer and service organizations, and neighbourhood renewal organizations.

Recipients include the late Jack Wilson, who led the High Park Baseball League for more than 60 years, award-winning novelist Eva Stachniak, business leader Alex Ling, West End Food Co-op founder member and coordinator Ayal Dinner, environmentalist Emma Rooney, seniors’ advocates Meryl Hudson, Erica Antler and Earl Antler, and Toronto Star columnist Joe Fiorito.

Diamond Jubilee Medal Recipients 

Irene Atkinson

Irene has been Toronto District School Board trustee for Parkdale-High Park for over 35 years. She remains an outspoken, effective advocate for students, parents and schools.

Erica & Earl Antler

The Antlers have championed the Parkdale Seniors and Adults club at Masaryk Cowan Community Recreation Centre for over 20 years. They have also advanced composting and recycling programs in communities across Canada.

Matthew Blackett

Matthew has been a director of the Friends of Fort York since 2007. He was a founding member of the Toronto Public Space Committee and sits on the City of Toronto Pedestrian Committee.

Pia Bouman

Pia is the owner of the Pia Bouman School for Ballet and Creative Movement. The non-profit school donates 10 percent of its annual budget to bursaries in order to make dance available to all who want to pursue it. 

John Bowker

John is a Roncesvalles business owner, an active member of Roncesvalles Renewed, director of the Revue Film Society and vice-chair of the Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Area.

 Diane Buckell

Diane is one of the founding members of Friends of the High Park Zoo. She was instrumental in organizing many of the innovative fundraising efforts to help save the Zoo from closure, including feeding llamas for a toonie and a penny drive and silent auctions.

 Abby Bushby

Abby single-handedly initiated the 1812 Peace Garden concept to beautify the concrete triangle at the corner of Roncesvalles and Dundas West. The garden is designed to commemorate the area’s role in the War of 1812.

 Rudy Cosico

Rudy is a sensei (teacher) and the founder and organizer of the Parkdale Cup, a martial arts competition. Rudy facilitates martial arts programming for families at the Masaryk Cowan Community Centre in the Queen Street West area.

 Ann Crichton-Harris

Ann is a published writer, landscape designer and a member of Roncesvalles Renewed. Her volunteer work has helped to ensure that a good growing environment for trees is part of the planning process for Roncesvalles.

 Ayal Dinner

Ayal is a founding member of the West End Food Co-op. He is currently the co-op's Kitchen and Programs Coordinator and helped organize the fall 2012 opening of the new Food Hub and Co-op store on Queen Street West.

 John Dixon

John is an active community volunteer who is a long-time member and former chair of the Community Police Liaison Committee and a board member of the Keele Community Correctional Centre.

 Sarah Doucette

Sarah has been the City Councillor for Ward 13 since 2010. She is a founder of the Green 13 environmental group and successfully campaigned to save the Swansea Memorial Library and Swansea Public School.

 Joe Fiorito

Joe is a wide-ranging author who has published a book of food writing, Comfort Me with Apples, a selection of his Montreal Gazette columns, Tango on the Main, a family memoir, The Closer We Are to Dying, a novel, The Song beneath the Ice, and a collection of Toronto stories, Union Station. Joe writes a regular column for the Toronto Star.

 Jesse Flis

Jessie was the Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park from 1979 to 1984 and 1993 to 1997. He was also the coordinator of Special Education for Toronto’s secondary schools from 1984 to 1988.

 Tim Flood

Tim is the president of the Swansea Hockey Association. The association for years has been teaching Learn to Skate and Learn to Play Hockey programs under Tim’s leadership at the Rennie Park outdoor rink.

 Peter Foy

Peter is the general manager and publisher of the Bloor West and Etobicoke editions of SNAP, a free community newspaper that takes a colourful approach to “capturing life and entertainment” in our area the city.

 Michael Foderick

Michael is vice-chair of the Toronto Library Board, and has served as president of Parkdale Community Legal Services. He co-founded the West Toronto Railpath Project and is a serving officer in the Canadian Forces (reserve).

 Michael Freeman

Michael is a founding member and president of Heritage York, a non-profit that addresses the future of historic Lambton House, an 1847 landmark building. He has also been the long-time chair of the Warren Park Ratepayers’ Association.

 Merle Hudson

Merle is the current president of the Swansea Area Seniors Association. The association is an integral part of the neighbourhoods of Swansea, Bloor West Village, the Junction and High Park, and provides wide ranging events, activities and workshops for seniors.

 Liz Leason

Liz is the chair of the Sorauren Park Sports Association. The association is a volunteer group that partners with the city to provide kids’ soccer and baseball programs at Sorauren Avenue Park. They take the lead in recruiting coaches and sponsors for the kids’ teams.

 Marilyn Lightstone

Marilyn Lightstone is an award-winning actress who is internationally recognized for her moving performances on stage, screen, and television. She is also an accomplished artist who mounts several well-received exhibitions annually., and television. Equally as impressive is

Alex Ling

Alex is a Bloor West business owner and was the originator of the first Business Improvement Area in Canada. He has been active in the Bloor West Village BIA for more than 30 years. In 2005 a fountain at Bloor and Jane streets was erected and dedicated to him in honour of his work for the community.

 John Poulos

John is the president and CEO of Dominion Voting, a Toronto-based technology firm. John co-founded the Delian Project, which helps post-conflict and emerging democracies implement positive change in their electoral process.

Fatos Pristine

Fantos Pristine is the founder of the Cheese Boutique, which started in the corner of a neighbourhood mom-and-pop store in 1970 more than 40 years ago. Since then it has become not just well-known and respected right across Toronto but also an award-winning business that has drawn international acclaim for the quality and range of its products -- and the expertise and superb service of three generations of the Pristine family.

 Emma Rooney

Emma teaches people how to grow and prepare healthy local foods in community gardens and kitchens.  With Greenest City she was instrumental in developing new after-school food education programs for Parkdale youth. As a Live Green Toronto Community Animator Emma supported resident environmental initiatives. Emma shares her love of gardening as a Toronto Master Gardener volunteer.   

 Robin Sorys

Robin Sorys is a community volunteer who helped rebuild the Jamie Bell Adventure Playground in High Park after it was severely damaged by arson. She initially helped build the park as a member of the High Park Citizens Advisory Committee.

 Eva Stachniak

Eva has been a radio broadcaster and college lecturer. She is the author of three novels, and the winner of the in Canada First Novel award.

 Mary Wiens 

Mary is an award-winning CBC radio journalist and a founding member of Roncesvalles Renewed, a cross-sector community organization that works on issues and opportunities facing the Roncesvalles neighbourhood.

 Jack Wilson (posthumous)

Jack was the lifeblood of baseball in High Park. He helped found the league in 1951 and coached the junior players until age 80. One of the High Park ball fields was named after him in 2011.

 Contact: Wendy Cuthbertson, Constituency Assistant, 416-769-5072,