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Melvin Douglas Lastman was born in Toronto on 9 March 1933, the son of Rose and Louis Lastman. Raised in the Kengsington Market area, he attended Ryerson Public School and Central High School of Commerce, where he was president of the school council. Lastman left high school to work at an appliance store and, in 1955, opened his own appliance store. By the late 1960s, he owned a chain of forty stores, Bad Boy Appliances, throughout Ontario. Lastman lived in North York and, in 1969, ran successfully for the North York Board of Control. In the 1972 municipal election, he was elected as mayor of North York, a position he held for twenty-five years until North York became part of the newly created City of Toronto on 1 January 1998. With the provincially-mandated creation of the new City of Toronto by the amalgamation of Metropolitan Toronto and the six local municipalities, Lastman decided to run for mayor against the other major contender, former City of Toronto mayor Barbara Hall. He won the 1997 election and was sworn in on 1 January 1998. Lastman was easily re-elected in the 2000 mayoralty election; however, in February 2003, Lastman announced that he would not be seeking re-election in the November municipal election.
In 1953, Mel Lastman married Marilyn Bornstein. They have two married sons and six grandchildren.
Anshei Minsk Synagogue (Toronto, Ont.)
In this clip, former Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman remembers playing as a child at the Minsk Shul in Kensington Market.