Community tributes to Harry and Ruth…

Harry and Ruth with their four grandchildren, l-r: Kelvey, Rachel, Michaela and Nathan on a 2016 Disney Cruise. Their 2017 travel plans include Cuba and South America.
Harry and Ruth with their four grandchildren, l-r: Kelvey, Rachel, Michaela and Nathan on a 2016 Disney Cruise. Their 2017 travel plans include Cuba and South America.

One of my fondest memories of both Harry and Ruth concerns the last day of a municipal election when my wife Beth and I decided we should finish my campaign by saying hello to all our neighbours.

Ruth was a candidate for re-election to the school board at the same time. She was also far more experienced in the world of political campaigning than I was. When we got to the Goldhars’ door I was therefore surprised to find both Harry and Ruth at home working away on a bottle of wine.

On seeing us, Ruth said, “Look, by this stage of the game everyone’s mind is made up. You aren’t going to win any more votes by knocking on doors today.” And with that bit of logic as our pretext we abandoned our plan to do any more canvassing and accepted their invitation to help them finish off the bottle and make some serious progress on some other victuals besides. We spent a delightful time basking in their hospitality, sharing stories, and generally enjoying one another’s company. Most pleasant day of campaigning I ever experienced.

On another occasion I found myself talking with a person who knows all the tricks of the political trade. “One of my favourite ploys,” he told me, “is to pose as a supporter of any opposition candidate who comes to my door and tie him up in a long conversation. My strategy is to consume his precious canvassing time and prevent him from reaching other voters.”

Hey, just a second. It took a while, but I think I am finally beginning to put two and two together…

John Parker, Cameron Crescent

John Parker represented Leaside as Borough of East York Councillor, MPP at Queen’s Park, and City of Toronto Councillor

I first met Harry at Western University when I was working on my Master’s degree in journalism. Harry was part of the faculty at the time and taught me how to write a news story. I always think of him when I need a good lede.

Beth Parker, Cameron Crescent

Beth Parker studied journalism with Harry Goldhar at Western University (formerly University of Western Ontario)

I’ve known Ruth for over 20 years and she has always been passionate about Leaside and about the publishing business. When Ruth approached me in 2011 about their new venture, Leaside Life, I knew right away I was on board. I loved the idea and concept and committed immediately. I was probably her easiest sell for an ad. Ruth was always friendly with me and her soft-sell approach was something I appreciated. I will miss our monthly chats on her front doorstep when I dropped off my cheque to pay my invoice.

Patrick Rocca, Bessborough Drive

Patrick Rocca is a realtor with Bosley Real Estate and has advertised with Leaside Life since the first issue in December 2011

Local news matters. And no one knows this better than Harry Goldhar, founder of the community newspaper you are now reading.

I first met Harry some 50 years ago when toiling in the rough-and-tumble Toronto Star newsroom at 80 King Street West. The newspaper had six editions a day, and hungrily devoured words by the bucketful. Everywhere was hustle and bustle, and tension was palpable as deadlines neared. Even the building shuddered and groaned when the giant presses thundered into life. The Star was an exciting place!

As well as providing a daily fare of razzle-dazzle stories, The Star also served as a powerful pulpit for espousing the social justice principles of famed publisher Joseph Atkinson, who died in 1948.

The Opinion Page was where the so-called Atkinson Principles were given full expression. And it was in this prestigious area that Harry worked as an editor – a position, in my view, that required diplomacy and a nicety of judgment. Better jobs, better healthcare, better education, better wages, better communities and better civic planning were among issues close to Atkinson’s heart – and these subjects were often aired in the Opinion pages.

I lost track of Harry over the years, until I moved to Leaside, picked up a copy of the old Town Crier, a give-away newspaper gem that featured bright headlines; eye-catching layouts and lean, sinewy writing. Within its columns I detected the guiding hand of someone who cared deeply about his neighbours and community, and soon discovered its editor was my old Star colleague.

When Leaside Life was launched years later I once again saw it had a stable of able contributors, eclectic and thoughtful articles, and the guiding hand of a dedicated, professional journalist – Harry Goldhar.

Today, Leaside Life has two new owners who will, I am confident, become the new custodians of Leasiders’ trust, and for many years be our eloquent “voice” in these challenging times.

Leaside Life was never more needed!

Michael Pieri, Macnaughton Road

Michael Pieri worked with Harry Goldhar at the Toronto Star in the 1960s and ’70s and later contributed to Leaside Life as the ‘Curious Idler’ columnist.