The Beach neighbourhood mourns 'iconic, legendary Beacher' who added a little skip to your step

The Beach neighbourhood mourns 'iconic, legendary Beacher' who added a little skip to your step

Patricia Pypher could not hold back the tears as she reminisced about all good times — and the not so good ones —spent with her life-long friend Wayne Joice.

Joice, who could often be seen sitting on street corners selling pens to passers-by, died of a heart attack on Saturday at the age of 60.

A fixture in The Beach neighbourhood, Joice was a source of joy and inspiration to countless people, young and old, for decades.

"He had so many medical problems [but there was always] a big smile on his face, because he was happy. He was happy," Pypher told CBC Toronto.

"He's a breath of fresh air. If you're having a bad day he makes you have a good day, no matter what."

WATCH: A Toronto neighborhood mourns the passing of a local icon.

Pypher said she and Joice grew up together; and from an early age they saw each other as family.

CBC

She recalled making a decision at one time to give Joice one of her kidneys after seeing him struggle with dialysis for five years.

"We pretended we were going on a holiday so I could go in the hospital to give my kidney to Wayne," Pypher said.

"Then he turned [out] to be a diabetic after he had my kidney, so we had to learn [how to deal with] that. He was more than family, because we grew up together."

Back in 2013, there was a rumour that Joyce had died, but he was soon spotted again selling pens outside Toronto General Hospital after a bout of pneumonia.

People in the Beach neighborhood are mourning his passing and slowly coming to terms with the reality that this time he's really gone for good.

'He just added a little skip to your step'

Former Beaches-East York city councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon said Joice was "an iconic, legendary Beacher."

CBC

She said people had become so used to his warm greetings and charming personality that if they didn't see him they got worried about where he was.

"He just added a little skip to your step. He was just kind of the mainstay of The Avenue and Queen Street, which is kind of the epicentre of The Beach," McMahon told CBC Toronto.

"It didn't matter what kind of mood you were in, even if you were down in the dumps, your spirits always soared after an engagement with Wayne."

CBC

Nolan Kearney didn't know Joice's real name until he read an article Friday, but remembers he "was always so pleasant."

"He was around ever since I was a kid. I remember walking by and he would always call my mom Marilyn [Monroe]," Kearney told CBC Toronto.

"Everyone used to call him 'Hollywood' because he would always bring up these big names from those Hollywood stars, whether it was a guy or girl walking by.

"He made everyone's day a little bit better. Everyone knew him," Kearney added.