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Put down that smartphone and run, bike, hike or walk Leaside

These avid runners hit the trails in Leaside every week. Photo By Sue Pribaz.

These avid runners hit the trails in Leaside every week. Photo By Sue Pribaz.

Put down those smartphones and turn off that Netflix. Step away from your homework. (Studies show that exercise increases brain function.) It’s time to run, bike, hike, and walk your way into the hidden gems of Leaside’s own outdoor playgrounds.

Ten out of 10 doctors agree that exercise is important for your health and wellbeing. But exercising on the streets of Leaside has become a little harrowing. (Unless, of course, one enjoys the thrill of dodging construction trucks or manoeuvring around traffic cones.)

But fear not, couch potatoes (or those using Metrolinx construction as an excuse for avoiding exercise), there are plenty of safe, FREE options in Leaside for jogging, biking, hiking, or walking! Get active outside and experience the joys of moving in nature. [click to continue…]

Photo By Karli Vezina.

Photo By Karli Vezina.

Last February we told you about Helena Giamos of Branksome Hall and Lauren Essaye of Northlea, two girls who rallied Leasiders to donate their used batteries to save lives. When we last spoke, they were more than halfway to their goal of 15,000 batteries and optimistic about hitting their target. We caught up with both young ladies, now in Grade 7, to find out how the rest of the campaign went.

Their WE Day-inspired campaign Helena and Lauren’s Batteries Saves Lives wrapped up at the end of August as planned, with a whopping 34,000 used batteries! With some help from their parents, the girls spread the word at school and in town.

Helena is proud of their accomplishments. “I know in my heart that I’m helping someone survive and that makes me really happy,” she said. (Zinc deficiency affects two billion people globally, and nearly 450,000 children die annually due to complications from lack of zinc.) [click to continue…]

Bellwood’s 5K Fun Run Raises Funds For Veterans

L-r, Joe Manget, CEO, and Cara Vaccarino, COO, of Edgewood Health Network; Kristen Cleary, Clinical Director of Bellwood Health Services, Bronwen Evans, CEO of True Patriot Love and Councillor Jon Burnside (Ward 26) at the Run for Recovery. Photo by Allan Williams.

L-r, Joe Manget, CEO, and Cara Vaccarino, COO, of Edgewood Health Network; Kristen Cleary, Clinical Director of Bellwood Health Services, Bronwen Evans, CEO of True Patriot Love and Councillor Jon Burnside (Ward 26) at the Run for Recovery. Photo by Allan Williams.

The crisp, sunny, early fall morning offered the ideal conditions, and the trails of Sunnybrook Park the perfect setting for the first annual “Run for Recovery,” a charity 5K run/walk hosted by North Leaside’s Bellwood Institute in support of the True Patriot Love Foundation.

“We had 156 runners or walkers registered and over 200 in attendance,” said Kristen Cleary, clinical director of Bellwood Health Services, who organized the Sept. 30th event. “For our first year we had a strong turnout, and helped bring the community together and raise awareness of mental health and addiction issues. I want to thank our sponsors and local businesses who donated so generously to our silent auction.” [click to continue…]

Mariah Hinds – Leaside’s 2017 Athlete of the Year

Photo By Terry Simpson.

Photo By Terry Simpson.

Shortly after Mariah Hinds was given her first pair of skates, even before she was two years old, her mother found her wearing them while walking around the living room.

“It wasn’t good for the hardwood floor,” laughs Zelda Sadler, “but it shows how much she loved skating right from the beginning. A few months later our family was at Nathan Phillips Square on New Year’s Eve and she wouldn’t hold my hand, she was so excited to be skating around the rink on her own – at age two!”

That natural skater was playing organized hockey at age three and has just been named, at age 18 and after four years with the Leaside Wildcats, as Leaside’s 2017 Athlete of the Year.

Mariah is the third of four children of Moulton Hinds and Zelda Sadler. Her older brother Marcus (23) plays hockey for the Ryerson Rams, and her younger brother Malaki (11) also plays hockey. Rounding out the family is a sister, Monique, who is 22. [click to continue…]

Wellwise in LeasideShoppers Home Health Care has chosen Leaside as a site to test a new format/concept personal health and wellness store called Wellwise.

The idea behind the store is to create a positive, interactive shopping experience based on wellness rather than illness. “About a year ago we did a strategic review of our business and found that there was a shift going on out there,” explains Scott Wilks, vice president of Shoppers Home Health Care. “What we found was that people increasingly want to take control of how they age. They want to be a lot more proactive and involved in the aging process and how they search for and buy products. It got us thinking about how we could change our service base.” [click to continue…]

Leaside memorial Community Gardens

The Leaside Memorial Community Gardens had quite a lively October!

The ice pads were never busier, with Leaside Hockey Association (LHA), Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey League (TLGHL), and the Leaside Skating Club all back in full swing of their regularly scheduled programming.

The Gardens celebrated its 65th anniversary with a collaborative event with Leaside-based philanthropists, the Jordan family, founders of Sarah & Claire’s Food Drive. The Gardens successfully collected close to 8,000 pounds of food for the Daily Bread Food Bank, with the Leaside Wildcats nabbing first place in the Hunger Games food drive competition. The board, as well as Sarah & Claire’s Food Drive, were overwhelmed and so thankful for the hard work and active participation from all user groups (LHA, TLGHL, LSC, and the Leaside Curling Club) in the Games – especially during an incredibly busy time of year. [click to continue…]

Teacher Nespolo helps St. Anselm students remember

David Nespolo (right) and his best friend Michael are decorated in recognition of 12 years of military service.

David Nespolo (right) and his best friend Michael are decorated in recognition of 12 years of military service.

St. Anselm Catholic School teacher David Nespolo has a special feeling for Remembrance Day. The Grade 6 teacher, who has taught for eight years, the last four at St. Anselm’s, is the coordinator of the school’s annual ceremony.

When he was 16, his uncle, a captain in the Governor General’s Horse Guards Reserve Unit and director of music with the Regimental Band, recruited him for the unit and to play his clarinet in the band. This original summer job has become an ongoing commitment.

Having an uncle in the military has been a major influence in Mr. Nespolo’s life and helped to shape his attitudes. Being in the military himself has given him “the opportunity to provide students with the real-life connection to everyday people who are serving in the military for us.” They thus become people with jobs and families rather than “robots in uniforms.” [click to continue…]

Orange-flagging traffic issues in North Leaside

Arnav, Oliver and Quinlan with their orange flags. Photo By Janis Fertuck.

Arnav, Oliver and Quinlan with their orange flags. Photo By Janis Fertuck.

In the last few months, a crop of neon orange flags has sprouted at two North Leaside intersections, Rumsey Rd. and Donlea Dr., and Hanna Rd. and Broadway Ave. This burst of colour is the work of three Grade 6 students at Northlea Elementary and Middle School who came up with a simple, ingenious plan to increase awareness in both drivers and pedestrians.

Arnav Shah and Oliver Wong, both 11, attended a business camp at the University of Toronto this past summer which concluded with a project requiring the participants to apply their business skills to a real-life situation. Inspired by the problem of the increased volume of traffic in Leaside from the construction on Eglinton, and by the death of Georgia Walsh in 2014, they hit upon the idea of young pedestrians using orange flags to increase their visibility at busy intersections. [click to continue…]

xmas lightsLeasiders take gardening seriously and know it’s about more than just growing plants. Gardening is about connecting to nature, understanding the environment and working with it.

Soil, water, air, temperature and light are essential to life, and each one has a distinct and important role to play. But how many of us think about the need for darkness? [click to continue…]

Letters – November 2017

Re: Laird in Focus Phase 2 Alternative Development Options,

This is a “collective nudge” to encourage the Leaside community to offer your views on the Alternative Development Options currently proposed by the Laird in Focus (LIF) Planning Study and presented at a public meeting on Oct. 17 at Leaside United Church.

The LIF Study is intended to “guide future development by providing direction on building heights, massing, transition.” While the study got off to a positive start with thoughtful community input and constructive dialogue, unfortunately, it now appears it is failing to provide the type of analysis and range of appropriate development options the community needs. (We will focus here only on Study Area A and leave Study Area B and the transportation portion for comments another time.) [click to continue…]

Industrial Arts and slow dancing at Bessborough

ToolboxI spent eight years at Bessborough School in the late ’60s and early ’70s. I have very fond memories of life at Bessborough. I well remember entering Grade 7 and being introduced to the nether world of Industrial Arts, colloquially known as “shop class.” I was never what would you call “handy.” Whenever I would try to build something in my father’s workshop in the basement, it would end with split wood, too much glue, and a little bit of blood.

One of our early shop class projects was making a small wooden toothpick holder on the lathe. I was quite fascinated by the lathe and how it could turn a squared-off block wood into a perfect cylinder. I started off just fine and had successfully “turned” my piece of pine 2×2 into a cylinder that seemed to me to be just about the perfect size for a toothpick receptacle. But then I somehow became fixated on the sight of the turning wood as my chisel nudged into it, shaving off layers of pine. I was somewhere between mesmerized and hypnotized. I just kept working that chisel as the wood shavings flew. By the time I regained my faculties, my toothpick holder had become a toothpick. I thought it was a pretty good trick. My teacher didn’t agree and I had to start all over again. [click to continue…]

What’s the latest with RioCan?

Although new development applications have slowed recently, work on the yet to be approved RioCan site at Laird and Eglinton has intensified.

Since their original submission in 2016, RioCan has further consulted with my office, City planning and the community at large. In mid-October, they presented a Phase 2 plan to my Leaside Development Committee with the expressed intent of further refinements and subsequently a submission of a Phase 3 plan.

I was disappointed to hear that even though RioCan promised to continue to work with the community, they filed an appeal to the OMB. I am hopeful that this is merely an attempt to keep that option open ahead of proposed changes to the provincial oversight body. [click to continue…]

What’s on Today’s Menu?

Today's MenuIf you happen to have walked or driven down Millwood lately, you may have noticed some changes between Rumsey and Airdrie. One of the biggest has been the move that Today’s Menu made several months ago from the corner shop to a bigger space right next door.

I sat down with Lisa Barton, retail operations for Today’s Menu and also wife of owner Paul Hickey, to talk about the need for expansion and the greater community’s need for tasty quick, classic meals.

Paul Hickey started Today’s Menu back in 2002 as a very small business when he felt there was a need to feed his own family better food. If he felt this, certainly other busy families felt the same way, too. [click to continue…]

It’s time for the LPOA annual general meeting

Please mark Wednesday, November 29th in your calendar, and join the Leaside Property Owners’ Association for our Annual General Meeting. This is an opportunity to catch up on all the latest issues and developments in our community, ask questions, offer opinions, and get together with your neighbours. We have reserved the William Lea Room at Leaside Gardens, there’s lots of parking, and we can promise you an interesting and informative event. The room opens at 7 p.m., and the AGM will begin at 7:30 p.m. Details on topics and speakers will be posted at lpoa.ca as we get closer to the date.

And now a cautionary tale, since the real estate market has slowed in recent weeks. The LPOA is hearing reports that some buyers of Leaside houses, who bought when the market was hot and prices were higher, are reneging on their agreed purchase price. They are trying to pressure sellers to accept a lower amount for their property. To add insult to injury, this likely happens literally at the very last minute, on the date the property was due to change hands. [click to continue…]

Transitions can be difficult and stressful. Do you remember how you felt when you began a new job or moved to a new home? Leaside students, moving from middle school to high school, can also experience anxieties. After all, not only do they face greater academic expectations but also expectations of being more independent and self-directed. To succeed, our students need to absorb a lot of new information and develop many new skills quickly.

Leaside staff recognize their role in encouraging this to happen. To this end, they offered a new improved orientation program to provide information to Grade 9 students and to help ensure a smooth transition to secondary school life. Orientation was not to be just one event – but a series that continues throughout the term. [click to continue…]

Laird is giving Bayview a run for its money

The new Barrel House on Laird. Photo By Robin Dickie.

The new Barrel House on Laird. Photo By Robin Dickie.

It’s been a long time since I’ve written about the businesses operating on or near Laird Dr. I’ve been a little preoccupied with Bayview Ave.’s accident-prone intersection at Parkhurst Ave.

Time to turn the page and do a little catching up.

If Bayview Ave. is the Fifth Ave. of Leaside, Laird Dr. is the Meatpacking District. Once home to one of Toronto’s prime manufacturing hubs, it’s quickly transforming into a place to live, work and play. [click to continue…]

Leaside Housing Prices Before And After Pricing PlanLeaside is one of the most attractive neighbourhoods for families who want to raise kids in a safe and tight-knit community. The moment you get off Bayview, Eglinton or Laird you feel a sense of tranquility called home.Leaside is one of the most attractive neighbourhoods for families who want to raise kids in a safe and tight-knit community. The moment you get off Bayview, Eglinton or Laird you feel a sense of tranquility called home.
My family has been in Leaside for over 13 years. We were first attracted by the garden city urban design (speaking to my past life as a foreign-trained architect), great family living with kids playing on the streets, good schools, proximity to parks, and easy access to downtown. Over these years, I have seen how little by little the former town is changing in character with prices in the multi-millions. [click to continue…]

Freedom is not free Leaside Literati

Ten DecisionsIn his newest book, Ten Decisions, long-time Leaside resident and author Larry Rose explores why after entering the Second World War “totally unprepared” in 1939, Canada emerged “a nation transformed” in 1945.

Born and raised in British Columbia, Rose has been a Leasider for the past 25 years. He worked in broadcasting for more than 45 years, as a television news writer, a producer of CTV’s National News with Lloyd Robertson and an educator teaching broadcast journalism. A graduate of the COTC program, Larry was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the RCAC in 1966. His military background coupled with his keen interest in telling human stories makes Ten Decisions a compelling and informative read. [click to continue…]

Issues update

Talbot Quads

Talbot Quads

195 Glenvale Blvd.

The Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) decision in this case (heard on Sept. 13 and released Oct. 6) was to allow the appeal against the Committee of Adjustment’s refusal in May 2017 of the minor variance application to construct a two-storey dwelling with an integral garage and a flat roof. As reported in the Aug. Leaside Life, this was our first hearing by the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB). [click to continue…]