By Ken Hirter

On Saturday December 2nd friends, neighbours and volunteers gathered to celebrate those who volunteer and make a significant contribution to the North End.

Our Master of Ceremonies for this year’s event, Elizabeth Poynter, Board Chair of the Breezes welcomed everyone with these words. ” The North Ender of the Year Award was first introduced over 25 years ago by Mr. Ed Stewart who lived on Wood Street before his family moved. Over the years, he took part in what was happening here in the Northend and wanted to honor those who had contributed to the Community. Ed passed away in September, 2020 at 90 years of age. The Breezes recognize and welcome those who have made the Northend home and contribute, so in 2021 we introduced The Community Builder Award. In partnership with NENa we made the difficult choice of two of the many who have made the Northend great” Board member Moe Scally then introduced our guest presenter for this year’s awards, our neighbour and wonderful Canadian actor, Jayne Eastwood.  Jayne has appeared in over 150 feature films, television shows and animation productions in her many years in the industry. Jayne’s first big break was the iconic Canadian film Goin’ Down the Road, other credits are My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Wonderland, King of Kensington and the award winning Hey Lady. She has worked with Martin Short, Andrea Martin, Gilda Radner and Eugene Levy often appeared on Second City’s creative offspring SCTV with John Candy and Joe Flaherty. She has lived in other parts of Hamilton in the past but says that the North End is where she belongs. “She not going anywhere”.

The Ed Stewart Legacy Award nominees: Sandra Hudson (winner), Mrs. Beatrice Jeffrey, Chris Pearson and Maureen Maracle.

Sandra Hudson is a longtime resident of the North End and raised her family here. She has always been one of the go-to people in the North End and very welcoming of all the new people who have come to the area.  She dedicates her time and efforts to volunteer work and contributes to the betterment of our community. Her actions reflect a genuine desire to make a positive impact, demonstrating empathy and compassion in action. Through acts of kindness, she’s become a beacon of inspiration, fostering a sense of unity and shared responsibility within the community. She not only lends a helping hand but inspires others to join. The value she brings to the community extends far beyond the task they undertake, leaving a lasting legacy of kindness and goodwill. Over time, she has made many friends and supported the community in many ways. Among her many accomplishments, she has volunteered with the Breezes, New Horizons Thrift Store; she is a member and volunteer at Macassa Bay Yacht Club; a member of a community book club; supporter of the Welcome Inn Community Centre and the co-founder and steward of Sunset Cultural Garden.

The Community Builder Award nominations: Margaret Kneulman (winner), Kelly Oucherek and Michelle Urbanek.

Margaret Kneulman has volunteered countless hours picking up litter in the North End, removing over 80,000 thousand pounds of litter in the past 3 years, always with a smile on her face and a positive attitude that can’t help but brighten all of those around her. She has been a part of several community organizations dedicated to this cause including, A Drop in the Bucket, Beautiful Alleys and the CN Track Gang. She is an advocate for the people of Guatemala, fund-raising money and supplies over the years. Much of what she does is not an official volunteer position, she just sees a need and fills it as she is able. She has been known to buy groceries for neighbors who are shut in. It has been mentioned that she cooks large dinners and opens her home to anyone who wants to be there and will deliver delicious plates to those who can’t make it out.  It has been mentioned about her career in wound care. She has been known to help people and dress wounds, canine and human!

Both winners’ heartfelt acceptance speeches talked of the nostalgia, sentiment and love for the North End was evident.

Congratulations to all the nominees. It takes people to build a Community and a Village – we thank you.

That brought us to a light, lovely luncheon and the conversations flowed. It was truly an homage to the North End.

The North End Breezes would like to thank the following:

.  Darlene Billingsley and her crew at Our Corner Bar & Grill for catering yet again a delicious spread of finger sandwiches, fruit and veggies with dip. It was delicious.

. Paul Havercroft for letting us host this year’s event at the James North Baptist Church Reception Hall.

. Special thanks to the wonderful  Jayne Eastwood  for being this years presenter.

. This years Celebration Cake was from Metro.

The North End Breezes relies on the contributions and support of our Community Partners to keep us afloat. Our thanks to:

Bennetto Recreation Centre 

Compass Community Health 

Hamilton & Oshawa Port Authority 

James North Baptist Church 

North End Neighborhood Association 

St. Lawrence Church 

Welcome Inn Community Centre 

West Harbor Pharmacy 

Congratulations to all those who make a difference here in the North End and beyond. So go out a make a difference in your Neighborhood today.