Farewell to John Campbell

John Campbell (r) with his wife Margie and Bob Fung (l), his predecessor at Waterfront Toronto, enjoying the lively farewell party.
John Campbell (r) with his wife Margie and Bob Fung (l), his predecessor at Waterfront Toronto, enjoying the lively farewell party.

John Campbell is stepping down after 12 years as CEO of Waterfront Toronto (WT). He has navigated many beautiful projects through choppy waters on the Waterfront, and has prepared for new developments as far as the Port Lands. John’s tremendous business skills and diplomacy made him a perfect leader of what is North America’s largest urban renewal project. His popularity reached into the Waterfront communities, where he engaged residents and businesses in the planning of parks, streets, WaveDecks, Queens Quay redesign, boardwalks and new buildings in precinct plans. Our ideas were welcomed, as we soaked up lots of knowledge during hundreds of hours in committees and public and private meetings.

YQNA decided to throw a farewell party for John on a warm September evening on the pool deck of the Radisson Admiral Hotel overlooking the lake. Five other neighbourhood associations joined as hosts – from Gooderham Warts, West Don Lands, St. Lawrence, Toronto Islands and Bathurst Quay – as well as the Waterfront BIA. A large crowd of residents, business owners, planners, civil servants, politicians, architects and developers paid tribute to John.

The Waterfront BIA’s popular Singing Ambassadors performed “T.O. the Waterfront,” a song dedicated to John Campbell. Michael Colgrass (centre) wrote the music, Anna Prodanou the lyrics.
The Waterfront BIA’s popular Singing Ambassadors performed “T.O. the Waterfront,” a song dedicated to John Campbell. Michael Colgrass (centre) wrote the music, Anna Prodanou the lyrics.

Among the gifts was a new song, “T.O. the Waterfront,” created by local artists Michael Colgrass and Anna Prodanou. It was dedicated to John and performed by the WBIA’s Singing Ambassadors. Hear the song with Waterfront clips on YouTube. Another gift from residents was a one-of-a-kind book of images, collected from many sources to capture the Waterfront transformation under John’s tenure. The party was a heartfelt send-off for a person who is well-liked and will remain in Toronto’s history as an important city builder. The new CEO of WT was not yet announced at this writing.

Jen Chan Goes to Queens Park

Jen Chan, assistant to City Councillor Adam Vaughan, has been our friend and unwavering connection to City Hall for more than seven years. She had close connections to the Waterfront long before working with Adam, so we consider her part of the neighbourhood. Over the years, we have relied on Jen to give us the right information about the explosion of developments and challenges in our neighbourhood, and we listened to her discreet advice on what YQNA could do for best results at City Hall. She was invaluable and much liked by all.

Now Jen has taken a new job as Senior Associate at the Ontario Growth Secretariat and will be working with municipalities in the GTA on development plans and Greenbelt protection. We are very happy for her big career move to Provincial Government, though sad to see her leave as our Waterfront liaison to Adam. YQNA held a festive send-off for Jen on February 17 in the Radisson’s beautiful “View” party room facing the lake. The big turnout included YQNA, BQNA, GWNA, TICA, Jen’s City Hall colleagues and NoJetsTO. Here is Jen with a picture of the Waterfront as her farewell gift from YQNA, and below with Marcia Boyd, a fan of Jen since she started working with YQNA.

Hal Beck Gets Award From MPP

Hal Beck (left) with our MPP Rosario Marchese on the festive award night in Chinatown.
Hal Beck (left) with our MPP Rosario Marchese on the festive award night in Chinatown.

Hal Beck, YQNA member and our expert on matters related to the Island Airport (BBTCA), was recently given a citizens award by MPP Rosario Marchese. Our member of provincial parliament said, “I was proud to recognize 58 wonderful Trinity-Spadina volunteers at my second annual Community Appreciation Event.” Hal is an engineer and project analyst. He applies his outstanding skills with great perseverance and represents YQNA in the airport’s liaison committees. Readers can sample his work in Hal Beck – Health Study – Island Airport 2013-10-16, which points out the need for further health studies around the airport. We have learned a great deal from Hal and congratulate him for receiving this award.

YQNA Celebrates at the Radisson

A great lunch was served at the Radisson Admiral Hotel on Queens Quay, where YQNA is very fortunate to hold our by-monthly meetings. Here is the cheerful and well-fed group of YQNA members in the Watermark Restaurant decorated in the holiday spirit. On the far left is Dermot McKeown, general manager of the hotel and generous supporter of YQNA. We would not have succeeded or grown as well as we have without the hospitality of Mr. McKeown and the hotel staff.

Everyone is welcome to our next meeting, January 14, 2014 at 7 pm at the Radisson, with Toronto’s chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat as guest speaker. As usual we will gather for refreshments in the Watermark Lounge after the meeting. It is a great place to socialize and chat about the ideas that were floated at our meeting.

YQNA thanks everyone who worked with us in 2013 to make the Waterfront a better place to live. We have much to look forward to in 2014 — especially the return of streetcars on the newly designed Queens Quay. We wish everyone a great holiday and best wishes for the new year.

Earth Day Cleanup at Harbourfront

Mayor David Miller and City Councillor Pam McConnell were in our
neighbourhood April 24, 2009 to celebrate Earth Day. Dozens of people who live and work on the Waterfront joined in the annual 20 minutes of spring clean up that took place throughout the city.

Here is the Mayor and our popular Councillor (in blue) with YQNA members Ulla Colgrass and Bob Rasmussen, ready with their plastic bags and gloves to get to work. Bags were filled with food containers, cigarette buts, coffee cups, broken glass – even a rusted bicycle wreck was removed!