A beloved crossing guard who died of COVID-19 is being remembered by the people of East York.
Danny Sardelis, 79, spent more than ten years as a crossing guard at the intersection of Coxwell Avenue and Plains Road.
On May 11, Sardelis died at Michael Garron Hospital after a brief battle with the virus.
“Danny was such a well-loved crossing guard and kids love their crossing guards and he was a very special one so when school finally returns they’re going to be very sad,” said Toronto City Councillor Paula Fletcher.
At council next week, Fletcher plans to put forth a condolence motion in memory of Sardelis.
“We have condolence motions for really well known and well loved residents,” she explained.
At the intersection where Sardelis worked, a number of East York residents have left flowers.
David May, who lives nearby, was the first to place a bouquet in Sardelis’ honour.
“It’s really sad, it’s heartbreaking, just a nice gentleman and he was always here and he was always polite to everybody,” said May.
Alison Walmsley, who works across the street, said she was shocked to learn of Sardelis’ passing due to COVID-19.
“This is such a busy corner, there’s tons of families in the neighbourhood, but also the high school is right here and he is in charge of keeping everybody safe and he did his job beautifully,” she said. “It was very shocking to hear that he passed away.”
Sardelis immigrated to Canada from Greece in 1958.
A few years later, he purchased the Bus Terminal Restaurant on Danforth Avenue, which he owned and operated for 40 years.
It was a fixture in the neighbourhood and frequented by TTC drivers.
After retiring from the restaurant business, Sardelis became a crossing guard.
Angie Sardelis Eracleous, his daughter, told Global News in a statement, “My dad never had a bad bone in his body, he loved and cared for everyone. He took great pride in everything he did not matter how big or small. He did what he did out of the kindness of his heart.
“He will be greatly missed by everyone but not forgotten ever.”
Robin Angelov and her two sons who live in East York got to know Sardelis over the years and said he was like “a family member.”
“He knew all the kids by name, he’s known my boys since they were very little and it’s a hard loss for sure,” she said.
East York resident Justin Van Dette told Global News Sardelis’ death is a reminder of the threat posed by COVID-19.
“While the numbers are coming down, and we’re entering a sort of an opening phase, it’s a little bit of a shock reminder that it’s still very much out there, the virus is still very much spreading,” he said.
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