One of North York’s most famous personalities was Mel Lastman. Born in Toronto in 1933, Lastman was the son of Jewish immigrants. He had early exposure to salesmanship at his parents’ Kensington Market grocery store and went on to establish his Bad Boy Furniture chain in 1955. Lastman entered the world of politics in 1969 when he was elected to the North York Board of Control. On December 4, 1972, he was elected Mayor of North York. In an amazing run of electoral victories, Mel Lastman continued as mayor until 1997, and was the first mayor of the newly amalgamated City of Toronto from 1998 to 2003. A tireless booster of North York, Lastman was a lead promoter of the North York city centre and the Sheppard Subway Line, completed in 1987 and 2002, respectively. His public service was honoured by the naming of Mel Lastman Square. Mel Lastman passed away on December 11, 2021 at the age of 88.

 

View of four lane urban street with two story buildings on either side.
2885 Dufferin Street at Glen Park Avenue, showing Heather Hill Appliances, where Bad Boy products were sold
[ca. 1965]
Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 5568

 

Two men in suits shaking hands and jointly holding a piece of paper which reads Building Permit No. 30000
Mayor Mel Lastman celebrating the 30,000th building permit issued in North York
[ca. 1976]
Series 1745, File 48, Item 87

 

Black and white view of three women and one man. Man is cutting a large cake which says North York.
North York Mayor Mel Lastman and Margaret McNamee, Miss North York 1986 (right), cutting a cake to celebrate the North York Winter Carnival
February 1986
Series 1745, File 267, Item 55

 

On January 1, 1998, the newly amalgamated City of Toronto was formed, and the City of North York was no more. However, it continues as a community where many people retain their identities as committed “North Yorkers.”

We hope you enjoyed this snapshot of North York history since the township was formed in 1922, which only scratches the surface of its many wonderful features. Let us know if we made any mistakes, or if you can fill in the names of unidentified people, places or things in the photographs. We’d love to hear from you at archives@toronto.ca.