James Bamford – Community
Retired police Superintendent, helped create the Community Police Liaison Committee and Chinese Liaison Committee to continue partnerships between police and community.
Retired police Supt. James Bamford is a man whose tireless work of blending community activism and policing earned him the moniker “The Unofficial Mayor of Scarborough”.
A member of the Toronto Police Service since 1967, Bamford rose steadily through the ranks of the police force working in various parts of the city. From beat officer, to plainclothes investigator, to Sergeant and finally, earning the rank of Superintendent.
The final title found Bamford not only living in Scarborough, but working in the city as well, as he took over command of 42 Division, the largest and busiest division with the police service. He helped create the Community Police Liaison Committee and Chinese Liaison Committee to continue to partnerships between police and community. It was at this time that Scarborough was marred by escalating youth gang violence.
Bamford took exception to the stigma being attached to his city and continued to defend Scarborough as a wonderful place to live, work and enjoy life, earning him the title of “The Unofficial Mayor of Scarborough.”
His community efforts honoured him with the Queens 125th Jubilee Medal and the Governor Generals Medal for community work.
A few years before his retirement in 2004, Supt. Bamford pushed ahead with a third police station in Scarborough. With the help and support of the community and local politicians, 43 Division is open and fully operational.
Johnny Cowell – Arts and Culture
(d. 2018) Trumpeter, composer, arranger, one of Canada’s most successful song writers. His song, Walk Hand in Hand was recorded by several artists and became a major hit in North America and Britain.
Trumpeter, composer, arranger and long-time resident of Scarborough, Johnny Cowell was bitten by the performing bug at the age of six when he played his first trumpet solo with the Tillsonburg Town Band. Largely self-taught, Cowell joined the Toronto Symphony Band as trumpet soloist in 1942.
Following World War II, Cowell returned to Canada where he was a member of the Royal Canadian Navy Band in Victoria B.C., and also with the Victoria Symphony Orchestra where he played first trumpet from 1943-45. He lent his musical talents to several dance bands including those of Stanley St. John and Art Hallman, the Spitfire Band and Jack Denton’s Palais Royale Orchestra. In the mid-1970s he joined the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and stayed until 1991.
Throughout his career, Cowell maintained his independence as a trumpeter, performing solos with various orchestras and bands. Composing music was also a passion of Cowell’s, and he became one of Canada’s most successful songwriters. Of the 200 songs Cowell wrote, more than 150 were recorded.
His song Walk Hand in Hand was recorded by several artists and became a major hit in North America and Britain.
In 1997, Cowell was awarded the Civic Award of Merit by former Scarborough Mayor Frank Faubert for his international success in the world of music.
Dr. Ming-Tat Cheung – Community
Clinical cardiologist whose community, charitable and cultural activities are too numerous to list. As Chair and President of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, worked with thousands of volunteers for the past 29 years in planning, fundraising and development of the Centre, a cultural hub for all community groups with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
Dr. Ming Tat Cheung has been a contributor to the well-being of Scarborough for two decades.
Since 1989, he has served as the Chair and President of the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Toronto, located in Scarborough. He facilitated the official opening of the Phase I Chinese Cultural Centre in 1998 and its Phase II expansion in 2006 and worked with thousands of volunteers for the past 19 years in planning, fundraising and development of the Centre. The Centre is now a landmark of the City of Toronto and cultural hub for all community groups with different cultural and ethnic backgrounds in GTA.
A clinical cardiologist for over 30 years, Dr. Cheung’s professional involvement has included: member of the Ontario Medical Association’s Council; president of the Clinical Society and Chief of Cardiology and Internal Medicine at Humber Memorial Hospital; founding member of the Chinese International Heart Health Network; and a lecturer at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine.
Some of Dr. Cheung’s past and present community and charitable activities have included his appointment by the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship as facilitator for the merger of the Mon-Sheong and Yee-Hong seniors’ homes. He was a member of the community settlement program for Vietnamese refugees in the 1980s and he participated in Metro Toronto Week in Hong Kong in 1993 to promote business opportunities in Scarborough with former mayors Joyce Trimmer and Frank Faubert.
He was a founding member and president of Federation of Chinese Canadian Professionals (FCCP) and is past-president of the Canadian Multicultural Council CMC), Asian in Ontario, an organization consisting of representatives from 18 different regions and countries of Asia to promote cultural understanding and racial harmony. He helped form the Community Coalition Concerned about SARS, which consisted of over 60 community groups during the SARS outbreak in 2003. He initiated and participated in fundraising functions during the Asian Tsunamis and South Asian Earthquakes in 2005.
Bob Hunter – Environment
(d. 2005) Visionary ecologist, prolific author, irreverent broadcaster, unconventional journalist. Many consider to be the spiritual father of Greenpeace. Park named for him in the Rouge.
Many have suggested that Bob Hunter was the spiritual father of Greenpeace. Greenpeace International itself states, “Perhaps more than anyone else, Bob Hunter invented Greenpeace.” He was the first President of the Greenpeace Foundation and amongst other things, he spearheaded a successful campaign to ban commercial whaling. He was a veteran advocacy columnist, scriptwriter, author, and lecturer.
Hunter began his communications career at the Winnipeg Tribune and later wrote a regular column for the Vancouver Sun, which was instrumental in promoting environmental awareness throughout British Columbia at the time. After his time with Greenpeace he continued to focus the public on giving their local and global attention towards environmental issues as the Ecology Specialist for City TV, a television news station in Toronto. Hunter served as both a crewmember and provider of much-needed media coverage on the original Greenpeace voyage to stop American nuclear testing in 1971 near the Aleutian Islands. It was his idea, after the first voyage, to transform the original organization, the “Don’t Make a Wave Committee” into an ongoing “non-violent ecological strike-force” capable of traveling anywhere in the world. He renamed the organization the ‘Greenpeace Foundation’ in 1972 and guided it to become Greenpeace International by 1979. His later years were spent in Toronto working for City TV as their Ecology Specialist, raising ecological awareness using the power of the media to take his message to people on a broader and more widespread scale.
Much loved and admired around the world, since his passing, Hunter has been honoured by many. One notable honour of considerable significance was when the Ontario Liberal government, led by Premier Dalton McGuinty, dedicated a 550 acre park in Bob’s name. This park is called the Bob Hunter Memorial Park and is located in the Rouge Valley, not far from his Scarborough home. Before Bob passed away from his battle with prostate cancer on May 2, 2005, he was married for nearly 30 years to the love of his life, Bobbi Hunter, who was also a co-founder of Greenpeace. He has four children and five grandchildren.
Cindy Nicholas – Sports
(d. 2016) Master swimmer, at 16 set a new record for swimming Lake Ontario. Swam the English Channel 19 times earning the title “Queen of the Channel”. Member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, 1977 Woman Athlete of the Year, recipient of the Order of Canada.
Scarborough native Cindy Nicholas started swimming competitively when she was just five and a half years old. She wouldn’t have known it at the time, but 10 years later, at the age of 16, Nicholas would brave the cold waters and successfully swim across Lake Ontario, setting a brand new record of 15 hours and 10 minutes and smashing long-distance swimmer Marilyn Bell’s record by more than five hours and 52 minutes.
Taught to swim by her father, Nicholas won her first medal at the age of eight and also held 16 Canadian and Ontario amateur records for her age group.
In 1975, at the age of 18, Nicholas crossed the English Channel for the first time. She set a record of nine hours, 46 minutes for the crossing from France to England. The next year, she swam the channel again, this time from England to France in 10 hours, 24 minutes. The World Federation of swimming named her the Women’s International Swimming Champion for 1976.
Between 1975 and 1982, Nicholas completed a total of 19 Channel crossings, including five two-way crossings which earned her the title: “Queen of the Channel”.
She is a member of the Order of Canada, has received the Toronto Award of Merit and is the first recipient of the Scarborough Award of Merit. She is a member of the Canada Sports Hall of Fame (Woman Athlete of the Year 1977) and received the Vanier award as one of Canada’s five outstanding young Canadians. Nicholas served in parliament for one term as MP for Scarborough Centre and is currently practicing law in Scarborough. She is married with a daughter.
Anson Taylor – Education
(d. 2007) As Scarborough’s Director of Education oversaw the building of 100 new schools, hired more than 7,000 new teachers. Pursued establishment of occupational and vocational schools and recruited psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to support principals and teachers to assess students who displayed learning difficulties.
Teacher, principal, director of education, Anson Taylor held many posts throughout his career, but the well-being and the learning potential of the students at the Scarborough Board of Education were always his top priorities.
Appointed to the role of Director of Education in 1961, Mr. Taylor oversaw the building of 100 new schools and hired more than 7,000 new teachers in the City of Scarborough. Realizing that some students wouldn’t be pursuing a career based on academics, Mr. Taylor opened three occupational and vocational schools: Bendale Business and Technical Institute, Timothy Eaton Business and Technical Institute and Robert L. Borden.
The same was done for students who were coming through special education programs at the elementary school level. Taylor realized the need to create less academically challenging schools was great and under his watch three schools were erected: Maplewood High School, Sir William Osler High School and Tabor Park Vocational School.
He also recruited psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers to support principals and teachers and assess students who displayed learning difficulties – a very modern and unprecedented move at the time.
Upon his retirement, his commitment to education was honoured with the opening of a new school called the Anson S. Taylor JR. Public School. For the next 23 years an award in his name was given to teachers who displayed outstanding qualities in the classroom.
Anson Taylor died on July 9, 2007 at Providence Heath Care, six months after suffering a broken collar bone.
Des McAnuff – Entertainment
Tony Award winning former artistic director of the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Director of Broadway musical productions, The Who’s Tommy, Big River and Jersey Boys.
Born in Princeton, Illinois, his family moved to Scarborough and he attended Woburn Collegiate Institute where he made his first theatrical appearance in the school’s production of The Sound of Music, playing the role of Kurt. Later, with the help of two friends, he wrote the music and lyrics to a rock musical called Urbania, which was performed by the high school drama club.
McAnuff worked with the Toronto Free Theatre as a director, and after several plays that had limited success, he left the Canadian scene for New York City, where he co-founded the Dodger Theatre Company in 1978, where he also directed the first production, entitled Gimme Shelter.
In 2010 McAnuff was the subject of a documentary special entitled Des McAnuff: A Life In Stages which was a part of the broadcast schedule on Bravo! in Canada for February 7, 2010.
During the 2011-12 Season at the Metropolitan Opera he directed a new production of Charles Gounod’s Faust. October 23, 2011, a tribute for McAnuff was given by staff and students from Ryerson’s Theatre School.