Toronto

Community newspaper in Toronto begins its 50th year

There aren't many independent neighbourhood newspapers left in Toronto, but one has found a way to survive 50 years. Beach Metro Community News publishes more than 25,000 papers twice a month, which are delivered to homes and businesses by volunteers.

Beach Metro Community News has been sharing stories since the early 70's

This Toronto community newspaper is beginning its 50th year of sharing stories

1 year ago
Duration 2:59
There aren't many independent neighbourhood newspapers left in Toronto, but one has found a way to survive 50 years. Beach Metro Community News publishes more than 25,000 papers twice a month, which are delivered to homes and businesses by volunteers. Talia Ricci spoke with those involved with the non-profit paper about this milestone.

Sheila Blinoff refers to her time working at Beach Metro Community News as the best job in the world. She started as a carrier and volunteered typing up classifieds on her typewriter. At that time, the paper was called Ward 9 Community News.

"I'm the last one standing who's been involved with the paper for almost 50 years," she said.

Now Blinoff is a member of the volunteer board of directors, serving as a special advisor with a wealth of knowledge on the paper's history.

"I loved it. I worked with a lot of creative and pleasant people and I had a team of 300 volunteers and I saw people at their best," she said.

The community newspaper just began its 50th year, and the team is celebrating with stories and interviews featuring long-time contributors, columnists and volunteers.

At a time when local journalism is suffering cutbacks, Beach Metro still publishes more than 25 thousand papers twice a month, which are delivered to homes and businesses by volunteers. The newspaper also shares content daily online. 

Blinoff says in its "golden age" it was a 40-page paper — but it has since been cut down to around 24 pages.

An image of the first paper published March 1, 1972. (Submitted/Beach Metro Community News)

Blinoff believes it's the dedicated volunteers, hardworking staff and the community's appetite to support local initiatives that will keep the independent paper going in the future.

"It provides people with information about what's going on in their neighbourhood — that you can't get in big daily papers because they don't have room for it," she says.

"I think it also helps make people happy to live here."

Beach Metro Community News hopes to throw a big party for its 50th anniversary in March 2022.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Talia Ricci is a CBC reporter based in Toronto. She has travelled around the globe with her camera documenting people and places as well as volunteering. Talia enjoys covering offbeat human interest stories and exposing social justice issues. When she's not reporting, you can find her reading or strolling the city with a film camera.

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