Twenty-five years ago, on July 11, Bonnie Henry went into labour at an Eagles concert at Exhibition Stadium.
She had lost her husband, Nelson Vaughan, to cancer 10 days earlier and attended the event “to keep her spirits up” after winning two front-row tickets in a radio contest.
Henry said she was wary of going to the concert so close to her due date and being packed in with 56,000 people at CNE Stadium. But her obstetrician had told her earlier that morning that she wasn’t going to have the baby yet, anyway.
Henry had been having Braxton-Hicks contractions for a couple of days, and once at the concert she was determined to stay, power through, and just keep an eye if her water broke. Soon enough, it did.
When she called for help, security was able to clear a path for her and call her an ambulance. Four hours later, little Phillip Nelson Vaughan was born at Toronto East General Hospital, now the Michael Garron Hospital.
Henry, who lives in Innisfil, Ont., said that since she’d had won the tickets through a radio show, the next day she went back on-air to recount her experience. Shortly after, interview requests came flooding in — including from the Star’s Peter Howell. The story made the Star’s front page on July 13, 1994.
Her only regret? She didn’t stay at the show long enough to hear her favourite song, “Take It Easy.”
In an interview with the Star on Thursday, Henry said that her grandfather, who delivered Toronto Star newspapers in Niagara Falls at the time, actually discovered he became a great-grandfather by seeing the photo on the front page.
“He picked up extras to deliver to my aunts and uncles, just for fun,” she said.
The Eagles later read Bonnie’s story on the front page of the Star and sent their congratulations, plus a baby blanket with their signatures.
Friends of Henry’s told her that The Eagles even brought it up at their next concert.
“The band took the stage and started out, ‘OK let’s make sure there’s nobody in the front row pregnant tonight, we don’t need a baby born two nights in a row.”
Henry recently beat cancer herself and still has the Eagles blanket framed in her home — a boon for Phillip, now an Eagles fan himself.
Ilya Bañares is a breaking news reporter, working out of the Star’s radio room in Toronto. Follow him on Twitter: @ilyaoverseas