Jack Aldred with a cheque from his friends at Centennial College's East York campus — in support of his new, self-published memoir. (Josh Genereux/Toronto Observer)

Aldred now an author

One of East York’s more storied citizens has a book coming out.

Jack Aldred, a naval veteran of the Second World War and a fixture on the streets of East York — where he served as a crossing guard for 27 years — has published a memoir.

Aldred, 89, made news across Canada just a month ago, when he said he would march in a Canada Day parade alongside other veterans from the Todmorden legion branch in his old uniform — navy regulations notwithstanding.

During the Second World War, Aldred was a gunner on a navy ship that escorted convoys between England and the Mediterranean.

A June edict from the navy said that veterans had to obtain written permission to wear their uniforms. But widespread press coverage of Aldred’s stand prompted the navy to “clarify” the new rule, explaining that it wasn’t meant for older veterans in discontinued uniforms.

It isn’t the first time that Aldred has stood up to authority and prevailed. More than two years ago, he spearheaded an initiative for an automated crosswalk with warning lights at the corner of Carlaw and Mortimer avenues in East York. Aldred was preparing to retire from serving as a crossing guard there. The city’s transportation department initially turned down the idea, but Aldred helped gather neighbourhood support for an appeal to city council that got approval.

Now, this retirement project of a memoir has also come to fruition. Aldred self-published it with the help of family and friends — including donations from staff at Centennial College’s East York campus, adjacent to the Carlaw-Mortimer intersection.

Aldred said he plans to use the proceeds from sales of the book to help with upgrades to his legion branch building.