Avid volunteer dedicated to East York community
(Written for Town Crier
As one of the driving forces behind the creation of the Agnes Macphail Award and ceremony, John Carter did what he has done every year since the dinner began: He showed up early to help set up a display.
This year he had another task to complete: receiving the award himself.
His demonstrated dedication is what led the awards committee to name Carter the 2011 recipient of the Agnes Macphail Award, bestowed annually on a member of the community who has made positive contributions to the East York community.
“I’m quite excited about it,” he said hours before the dinner. “There were 18 others who won it before and I’m part of that illustrious group.”
In the 1990s, Carter was one of the forces who pushed the former East York city council to honour Macphail, Canada’s first female federal politician.
Carter has also been one of the leading advocates pushing to have the Leaside home where Macphail lived at 2 Donegall Dr. preserved as a heritage site.
And he successfully pushed for a park at Pape and Mortimer avenues, to be named after Macphail.
But it hasn’t all been about honouring Macphail. Most of his work and volunteering has centered on his passion for history and heritage.
His list of volunteer work is long: He was president of the Toronto Federation of Ontario Cottagers, president of a local Ward 3 residents association, sat on the East York library board, was on an advisory committee for the Don Valley Brick Works and the East York Seniors’ heritage group.
He is currently the vice-president of the East York Foundation.
“I guess I learned from my parents if a community is good to you, you should be good back to the community,” he said. “They way I did that was by volunteering.”
Carter will be retiring at the end of April after 30 years of working as a museum and heritage advisor for the Ontario government. One of his key roles has been helping community museums develop across the province.
When he retires it will give him more time to pursue other passions such as his writing and research on one-room schoolhouses, barns and the lesser-known 1838 Rebellion.