Hundreds of Local 113 members, retirees and guests from ATU locals around North America packed the ballroom at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre on October 13th to help celebrate the 113th anniversary of the 1899 founding of the local. It was a spectacular event, with fireworks, ice sculptures, music and movies. “Unbelievably great!” was the summation of Larry Hanley, ATU International President, who addressed the crowd. “When Local 113 does something, they do it better than anyone else,” Hanley said to great applause.
The evening began with an inspiring historical video of Local 113 made especially for the occasion. As the video ended, celebratory sparklers erupted from the centrepieces at every table as fireworks went off on the stage. Local 113 President Bob Kinnear then spoke movingly of the challenges faced – and overcame – by those who came before us and talked about the strength we must take from our past to move forward into an even brighter future.
ATU Local 589, the Boston Carmen’s Union, made a presentation to the Local of a large picture containing artistic portraits of streetcars from the two cities. President John Lee praised 113 and its leadership for their long history of solidarity and the special relationship of the two locals that has stretched back for decades.
Several City of Toronto Councillors attended the event: Maria Augimeri, Joe Mihevic, Kristen Wong-Tam and Paula Fletcher, along with MPP Peter Tabuns and Member of Parliament Olivia Chow, a federal champion for Toronto transit and its workers. Toronto and York Region Labour Council President John Cartwright also attended.
After the dinner, Toronto-born rock icon Kim Mitchell and his band played to an enthusiastic crowd that jammed the dance floor and sang along to his hits. Dancing lasted into the early morning as a disk jockey picked up from Kim Mitchell.
“I have never been at a greater union event,” said a streetcar Operator out of Roncesvalles. “In fact, I can’t remember being at a greater party of any kind,” she added. “I am proud to be part of the history of this great union.”