Long before anyone with a cell phone could call themselves a journalist and start posting, there was the North End Breezes—a community newspaper that is celebrating its 50th year in print. The North End Breezes was decades ahead of its time in providing hyper-local news to residents north of the CNR.
What follows is a history of the publication written by the current editor, Brenda Duke.
Terri Googe contacted us to share the history of how her mom started the what we know today as The North End Breezes.
The late Eva Googe had a vision that has spanned decades and left a mark on the history of the North End. She started out working at the front desk of a little store on James Street North between Moodie’s Hardware and Hammy’s smoke shop, near Simcoe Street East.
Eva asked about starting a small paper to keep the community informed about events. This was the beginning of North End Information Services which has since morphed into what we now know as The North End Breezes. It was all printed on a Gestetner which had to be hand cranked. Then one day someone walked into the office and asked if anyone could help with doing income tax returns. Eva offered to help and the Income Tax Clinic began. Her involvement in the community included teaching many people to sew, knit and crochet during her volunteer time at Welcome Inn on Wood Street. She was always quick to help anyone in need and put others before herself. Eva was liked by everyone and a pillar in the North End community.
Eva worked at North end Information Services until 2001. She had started volunteering at 65 years of age and was 82 when she stopped working on the newsletter after a stroke. Terri took over NEIS until others could be found.
Tracey Googe–Kirby recalls that Eva, her mom, started the North End Information Services (NEIS) when Tracey was in grade 6. She would meet Eva at the office on James and Simcoe every day after school to walk home, even though the school was right across the road from their home.
Once Eva got permission to start, Tracey helped her in the office, putting the papers together, printing and delivering them. It took 3 days after school to deliver them to the residents.
Later, the Information Centre moved to John and Wood where Eva continued to volunteer until her stroke in 2001.
Eva took pride in her ability to help everyone in the community. Giving them the information, they needed to get the help they needed. She loved her community, all that it provided and still does for everyone.
Chrystal-Ann Hachey-Brown shares her memories of Eva Googe. “My Grammy was extremely loved and admired by all of her family and by everyone in the community that met her. I have many memories of my childhood growing up in the “office” of the North End Information Services on John and Wood. I would go every day for lunch and after school since my Mom and Grammy worked there. I would play office, play hide and seek, play in the back office or at the park. When it was time for the paper once a month, I remember how fast my Mom could type without looking up. It amazed me! I always helped with papers by stapling them and I also helped deliver them with the assistance of friends.
My Grammy always wore a woman’s trench coat and had a big purse. Whenever it was windy or rainy she wore a foldable plastic rain hat to protect her hair. She always was well groomed and had her hair curled nicely. She used to tease the kids and try to “get them” with her purse. They thought it was hilarious!
I remember being amazed to find out she volunteered there for so many years. She was also dedicated to her Church on James, Calvin Grace. Every Sunday, it was my Grammy who picked up donuts or cookies and put them out with coffee and tea after Church service.”
After Eva was forced to give up the publication dur to her illness, Terri, her daughter, took over NEIS until others could be found. Wendy Collins stepped up shortly afterwards and she led the paper for 11 years. The publication has progressed from a typewritten newsletter to a full monthly publication, introducing colour and social media. The paper is guided by a Board and relies on volunteers who write articles, make sure the paper is prepared for publication and community partners who provide financial help. .
As the current editor of The North End Breezes, I am thrilled to learn about Eva Googe and her dedication to her community and to our publication. Without Eva and her vision, we would not be celebrating today. Possibly her most treasured gift was the ability she had to build a community that believed in her visions and followed her dreams. I only hope that we can continue to carry out those dreams for her.