Between 1974 and 1998, 35 notable Etobicoke citizens were inducted into the Etobicoke Hall of Fame. After the amalgamation of Etobicoke with the City of Toronto in 1998, this program was discontinued. In 2015, the Etobicoke Hall of Fame underwent a renovation, to provide a more visually pleasing and informative recognition of these remarkable residents and their contributions. This important part of Etobicoke’s history is located in the Council Chambers foyer at the Etobicoke Civic Centre.

The Etobicoke Hall of Fame was initiated in 1974, with the induction of 10 notable citizens who shaped the early communities of Etobicoke. The program lapsed for a decade until it was revived in 1984 when Doug Holyday, who was then Alderman of the Etobicoke City Council, nominated broadcasting legend Gordon Sinclair. The Hall of Fame was relocated from the lower level hallway to a dedicated space outside of the Council Chambers in order to properly honour these outstanding individuals.

A Selection Committee, which included interested citizens and a media representative from the Etobicoke Guardian, was formed to evaluate future nominations. The opportunity for members of the public to nominate their fellow citizens was advertised annually in local newspapers and by MacLean Hunter Cable 10. The Selection Committee decided on the recipients of the award based on the following criteria:

  • Persons selected must, through personal sacrifice and/or outstanding citizenship have made a special contribution or brought special honour to Etobicoke while residing here.
  • The award shall be given in recognition of a long-term period of public-spirited activities, rather than a spontaneous act.
  • The award shall not be made solely in recognition of success of achievement in any given profession or occupation which would manifest personal success or private gain.

Elected or appointed government officials are not eligible for the award while they still hold office.
Several outstanding Etobicoke residents were inducted into the Hall of Fame following its revival in 1984 but it wasn’t until 1987 that the inaugural Civic Awards Ceremony was held at the Old Mill, to fully honour the inductees. The awards ceremony later evolved into an annual gala event, the Awards of Excellence, which combined the presentation of several civic awards. For over a decade, many distinguished citizens were inducted into the Hall of Fame at these annual ceremonies until, upon the amalgamation of Etobicoke into the City of Toronto in 1998, the Etobicoke Hall of Fame and other civic awards were retired.

In 2015, in response to public concern about the faded and outdated display, the Etobicoke York Community Council approved plans to restore the Etobicoke Hall of Fame, in order to honour these thirty-five remarkable Etobicoke citizens once more. Portraits were photographed, restored and reframed and biographical information was provided to tell the stories of how the Hall of Fame members contributed to the history and growth of Etobicoke. The restoration project was made possible through the combined efforts of many City of Toronto staff and volunteers, and the restored Etobicoke Hall of Fame was reopened to the public on October 6, 2015.

The restoration of the Etobicoke Hall of Fame was made possible through the support of many individuals and City of Toronto departments and staff.

Thanks to the Etobicoke York Community Council for their financial support of the project and for their formal recognition of the Hall of Fame restoration at the October 6, 2015 Etobicoke York Community Council meeting.

This project was conducted by staff of the Etobicoke Civic Centre Art Gallery, Arts Services, Economic Development & Culture, led by then Senior Arts Consultant, Denise Dickin. Much of the critical work was completed by our volunteers. Diana Sernick completed the lion’s share of the research for the individual members and wrote the inductee biographies. Emma Ward, our Humber College Cultural Management intern, worked on every aspect of the project, including initial research, fact-checking, writing of the Hall of Fame history, and assisting with the reframing of the photographs. Joe DiLecce donated his incredible skills to photograph, digitally correct and reprint all of the original portraits. Thelma Amos provided a guiding hand from the initial design decisions, through to the entire restoration of the portrait installation. Her sharp eye was invaluable in the biography editing process. Our thanks and gratitude to these four volunteers who gave their time and expertise so generously to the project.

We are grateful to Garry Ross and Rick Lutchman, Etobicoke Civic Centre Facilities Operations, for their support in renovating the space for the renewed Hall of Fame. Thanks also to Barbara Sullivan, Protocol Services, for providing financial support for the portrait restoration. Thanks to Pamela Wachna and Michael Dowbenka, Museum & Heritage Services, for both their expert advice and hands-on assistance with matting and framing. Thanks to Rosemary Mackenzie, City Clerk’s Office and Kim Edgar, Councillor Grimes’ office, for their assistance in liaising with the Etobicoke York Community Council. Thanks to Nadira Pattison and Katriina Campitelli, Arts Services, for your project support.

We are very grateful for the research support provided by the City of Toronto Archives.

We also wish to recognize the individuals who provided written or verbal information that helped us to fill in the gaps on the history of the Hall of Fame: Bev Kurmey, Doug Holyday, Molly Sutherland, Denise Harris, Cathie Best, Mike Lipowski and Catherine Campbell.

Note: Research for the Etobicoke Hall of Fame was conducted with care by our volunteers. If you would like to provide us with any additional information or corrections, please contact the Etobicoke Civic Centre Art Gallery at

June Callwood

“Tribute to Canada’s conscience, June Callwood,” Inside Toronto (Metroland Media)

“Taking inspiration from June Callwood,” The Toronto Star

June Callwood, Wikipedia entry

Elizabeth (Betty) Coulter

1991 Civic Awards Program nominations

Dr. Ann Curtin

Franklin Carmichael Art Group website

Marie Curtis

“Village’s spirited defender dies,” The Globe And Mail

Marie Curtis Park, Wikipedia entry

Long Branch Toronto, Wikipedia entry

Stewart Davidson Sr

Legislative Assembly of Ontario Official Records

Murray & Margaret Dryden

Murray Dryden, Wikipedia entry

Reverend Stewart B. East

The Warrior’s Day Parade website

Thomas Fisher

Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Old Mill Toronto website

William Gamble

Dictionary of Canadian Biography

Old Mill Toronto website

William Gamble, Wikipedia entry

F. Edna Gardner

1991 Civic Awards Program nominations

Robert A Given

Douglas M Willoughby, Etobicoke Historial Society

“Book chronicles Etobicoke’s history,” Inside Toronto (Metroland Media)

W. Earle Gordon

Currell, Harvey. The Mimico Story, (Toronto: Chromo Lithography Co. Limited, 1967)

Barry Gosse

“Etobicoke Centennial Choir celebrates 40 years,” Inside Toronto (Metroland Media)

Vera Halhed

1996 Civic Awards of Excellence Program nominations

John B. Hamilton

John Borden Hamilton, Wikipedia entry

Morfudd Harries

Harries, Morfudd. A Story from Wales, Escarpment Press

For King and Country website

J. Page Harshman

“Glaucoma Associated with Subluxation of the Lens in Several Members of a Family,” American Journal of Ophthalmology website

Harshman Lecture on Kids’ Health in a Digital World, University of Guelph

Robert Home Smith

Baby Point Heritage Foundation website

Preserved Stories website

“The stylish overhaul of a Toronto ravine home,” The Globe and Mail

David E. Hornell, V.C.

David Ernest Hornell, Wikipedia entry

George R. Gauld Junior School, Wikipedia entry

Frederick T. James

James Gardens, Wikipedia entry

Howard P. Lowe

1990 Civic Award Program nominations

Cliff Lumsdon

Cliff Lumsdon, The Canadian Encyclopedia

Cliff Lumsdon, Wikipedia entry

John P. Macbeth

John Palmer MacBeth, Wikipedia entry

Find a Grave website

James A. McNabb

1995 Civic Awards of Excellence Programs nominations

Nora Pownall

1994 Civic Awards of Excellence Programs nominations

Alice Rycroft

1990 Civic Awards Programs nominations

“Outstanding Ontario seniors recognized by the province,” (Metroland Media)

Gus Ryder

Humber College website

Kemp Scott

Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame website

Gordon Sinclair

“Gordon Sinclair dies at 83,” CBC Digital Archives

“Graves of Maple Leafs titans Conn Smythe, Harold Ballard neglected,” North Bay Nugget

In Remembrance of Allen Gordon Sinclair, Park Lawn Cemetery website

“The Truth and Fiction of a Roving Reporter,” Torontoist

Gordon Sinclair, Wikipedia entry

Donald J. Strathdee

“Actor earns accolades for portrayal of Jersey Boy,” Inside Toronto (Metroland Media)

Sonny Thomson

Brignall, Richard. Fearless: The Story of George Chuvalo, Canada’s Greatest Boxer. (James Lorimer & Co., 2011)

Rev Canon Francis Tremayne

Christ Church St. James website

Lost Anglican Churches website

Dr. Lap-Che Tsui

Lap-Chee Tsui, Wikipedia entry

SickKids Hospital website