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.
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.”