Jazz musician and Leaside mom Laila Biali. Photo By Rockie Nolan.
Canadian jazz musician Laila Biali has become a bit of a road warrior of late. In the midst of launching her seventh album, the award-winning pianist and singer-songwriter spends more time in hotels than she does at home. Still, she says, her favourite place to land is always her cozy Leaside bungalow with her son, Joshua, and her husband and fellow musician Ben Wittman.
The 37-year-old has presented her music at prestigious venues spanning five continents including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, Peru’s Festival Internacional de Poesía de Lima, and Carnegie Hall in New York. She has toured with GRAMMY award winners Chris Botti, Paula Cole, and Suzanne Vega, and recorded with and supported international star Sting. Most recently, she was brought on as host of the national CBC radio show, Saturday Night Jazz.
Despite the acclaim she’s garnering world-wide, if you were to meet Laila on Bayview you’d be greeted with the warmth and kindness of someone who values family, community and friendship above all else. [click to continue…]
Francess Halpenny. Photo by Harry Palmer.
Francess Halpenny has died at the age of 98.
Halpenny joined the University of Toronto Press as an editor in 1941 upon graduating with a Master’s degree in English language and literature. She served a two-year stint in the RCAF as a meteorological observer in Newfoundland and PEI before returning to the Press where she became, in the words of historian Christopher Moore, “surely the greatest Canadian scholarly editor of the second half of the 20th century – should we just say ever?”
During her long career Halpenny was from 1969-1988 the General Editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography, and from 1972-78 Dean of the Faculty of Library Science (now Information Studies) at U of T and professor of library sciences. She was awarded 11 honorary degrees by Canadian universities and was named a Companion of the Order of Canada. [click to continue…]
Irene at work. Photo By Janis Fertuck.
Inspired by her mother who made clothes for the entire family, a young girl in Tashkent, Uzbekistan started making outfits for her dolls. From dolls it didn’t take long before young Irene Estrin graduated to somewhat larger models. Her expertise and creativity have earned her a reputation as Leaside’s most popular dressmaker.
After studying at the Textile Institute in Tashkent, and spending three years working at a bridal salon in Jerusalem, Irene Estrin arrived in Canada with her husband in 1998. Soon after, she opened a basement studio at Bayview and Balliol. She’s been sewing in Leaside ever since. (See her website www.irenesstudio.com).
Three years later, she moved to the corner of Bayview and Belsize, ending up in a third floor unit. Throughout her years on Bayview, Irene built up her business by doing alterations, designing and creating clothes and producing home decor items such as curtains and pillowcases. [click to continue…]
Ready for action! Photo By Carl Spitzer.
Pop into the Bessborough School gym any Thursday night, and you might think you’re witnessing a typical group of middle-aged men sweating it out in beer-league basketball. But look more closely and you’ll understand that what you’re really witnessing is the essence of community.
The Leaside Basketball Association (LBA) formed in 2004 when Leasiders Jack McFadden and Laurel Neal attended a Raptors-sponsored basketball clinic for kids led by former NBAer Mitchell Wiggins at Leaside High School. Eager to gain the same basketball skills, the pair approached Wiggins to ask if he would be willing to train adults in the neighbourhood. Using the Bessborough gym as their home base, a group of Leasiders assembled, and with Wiggins’ help, the LBA was born. [click to continue…]
Research Road. Photo By Robin Dickie.
Tucked between Wicksteed and Vanderhoof, east of Brentcliffe, is a street with the unassuming name of Research Road, home today of companies like Uberdog Hotel. But it’s here that some very serious research indeed took place during World War II, and it’s this research that gave the street its rather literal name.
A Crown corporation called Research Enterprises Limited (REL for short), which existed for a brief six years, became the largest single employer in Leaside employing more than 7,500 people and occupying a sprawling site. Leading engineers, scientists and technicians were employed there to develop military equipment for radar trucks to support the war effort. REL produced over $220 million of precision optical equipment, such as their well-known binoculars. They manufactured top-quality equipment for radar trucks and other radar equipment from 1940 until closing in September, 1946. Just as impressive as the equipment is the fact that REL employed an equal number of men and women to help the war effort. [click to continue…]
Growing up at the corner of Parkhurst and Donegall ensured that Bayview was a very familiar strip for me. My mother would do at least some of the family grocery shopping on Bayview. She was a dedicated customer of Rawley’s Meats and Badali’s Fruit Market. In fact, she’d often phone in an order to Badali’s rather than walk up to the store. The next day, whether anyone was home or not, Dominic Badali, the friendly hockey-playing son (Dixie Beehives, as I recall), would fetch the house key we’d secreted near our back door, and enter our home with a heavy cardboard box precariously perched on his shoulder. He’d leave it, and the carbon copy handwritten bill, on the counter. That’s the kind of customer service that was the standard in our community in the 1970s. I still see Dom now and then when I’m strolling along Bayview. He looks just the same to me.
My twin brother Tim and I made countless trips to what was then called Mac’s Milk at the corner of Bayview and Manor Rd., to pick up, you guessed it, milk. My mother’s dreaded refrain, “we need more milk,” always seem to coincide with the start of our favourite TV programs. But we could make the Mac’s Milk run in about four minutes timed with the first set of commercials so we didn’t miss too much. [click to continue…]
Photo By Janis Fertuck.
There is so much information about food and nutrition circulating today that it is easy to get confused about what we should eat. But a local holistic nutritionist, Brent Lockridge, hopes to help Leasiders make more informed choices with his new business, Sustainable Nutrition Consulting.
As Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find out what you are good at. The purpose of life is to give it away.” This approach is what motivates Lockridge, who aims to give his clients “the tools they need to make wise food decisions and to simplify their lives, not add another chore to their ‘to-do’ lists.” [click to continue…]
All good things must come to an end.
My first Business of Leaside column appeared in the January 2013 issue of Leaside Life. I agreed to contribute a monthly column after Harry Goldhar, former owner and editor, asked if I was interested in writing for the paper.
A couple of months earlier, not knowing Harry from Adam, I wrote a letter to the editor chastising Leasiders for complaining about the aircraft noise overhead.
“I live on Bayview (nearest intersection Parkhurst Blvd.) and the traffic noise most times of the day is high. But you don’t see me complaining about it. Do the people of Leaside have nothing better to do than stay up past 1 a.m. to listen for planes flying overhead? It is NIMBYism to an extent I did not think possible.” [click to continue…]
Last issue we put out the call for names for Leaside’s five laneways. We got mail!
Badali Alley, Lisa Lebitka Lane, Fishwich Lane, Mohring Lane, Mrs. Park’s Lane – all interesting possibilities for naming the remaining lanes in Leaside.
The suggestion for Badali Alley came from Mark Badali, who lives on Airdrie. His father, John, grew up in Leaside and played baseball at Trace Manes and Talbot parks. According to Mark, “apparently, he was a pretty good hitter and the guys on the team said he often hit to a specific area of the outfield, which they called Badali Alley.” [click to continue…]
Photo By Janis Fertuck.
Scott Mason was the school captain at Leaside High School in 2010 with his sights set on political science and law at Queen’s University. Little did he imagine then he would become an entrepreneur in the field of medical equipment.
But in 2014, he took part in the Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative where he and three friends came up with the idea for a device to disinfect cellphones using ultraviolet light, after hearing from a neonatal intensive care nurse that new parents often disregard the ban on cellphones and take photos, despite the dangers of spreading superbugs in hospitals.
After coming second in the program’s competition, the group formed a company called CleanSlate UV and piloted the first version of their microwave oven-sized device in three hospitals. There are many benefits to using CleanSlate UV: it can destroy 99.99% of dangerous bacteria in 30 seconds; it’s easy to use; will not damage touch screens unlike chemical wipes; and works on a range of equipment. [click to continue…]
Photo By Janis Fertuck.
Leaside graduate Scott Mason made a presentation about his company CleanSlate UV at an assembly organized by Curriculum Leader Helen Panayiotou last fall to inspire Grade 11 science students working on a new cross-curricular STEM project.
More than 160 students from physics, chemistry and biology classes formed groups to develop proposals for functioning products, create prototypes and make final presentations. The teachers were very impressed with the projects, which constituted 10 per cent of the students’ final marks.
Some of their creative ideas included a “plastic” bag that will decompose in water, a rack to dry hockey equipment by pumping air into its pipes, an “Epiband” with an EpiPen tucked away for easy access, and the “Milk M-Aid,” which can dispense milk to orphaned or abandoned kittens as well as keep them warm to ensure their survival.
Way back in November 2016, Mayor Tory and I were at Northlea School attending Premier Wynne’s press conference for the announcement of the province’s intent to allow municipalities to use automated speed measuring equipment as an enforcement tool to slow down drivers and make communities safer. In the ensuing 15 months, many have asked: How will this impact Leaside and Bennington Heights? Why haven’t we seen anything yet?
Unfortunately, the time between any government’s announcement and realization can be excruciatingly long. Although the Safer Schools Act was officially passed by the legislature last May, the myriad of decisions regarding implementation are ongoing. [click to continue…]
Bessborough and Northlea Intermediates face off in an exhibition game. Photos by Robin Dickie.
Everyone knows hockey is big in Leaside. It’s not enough to play for a North York (NYHL) or Greater Toronto (GTHL) team, Leaside kids want to play for their school as well. In the TDSB, schools can either play league hockey or one-day tournaments. Bessborough has traditionally played the one-day.
Unfortunately, in previous years, the local kids were slated against teams from elite hockey schools. Ever-enterprising Leaside parents decided to organize a local competition so that skills could be more evenly matched and kids would, ideally, play against some of their neighbourhood friends. [click to continue…]
When the LRT and new condos are completed along Eglinton there won’t be space in our neighbourhood Leaside schools for hundreds of new students. The TDSB may have no other option but to bus these children across the city to schools with room. Why can’t we renovate or add to our existing schools to accommodate this need?
Education Development Charges legislation (EDCs) was put in place by the provincial government in 1998 to provide money for new schools in areas with new residential growth. As a result, school boards can access this source of revenue – but only under very specific conditions. [click to continue…]
Re: Terry Fallis’s Industrial Arts and slow dancing at Bessborough (November 2017)
Bessborough School, Grade 4, Valentine’s Day. This was my first experience designing a valentine for some girl in the class. I got Jeannie’s name in the draw. I hid it in my pocket and resolved to make the best of things. Jeannie, you see, was the class mess-cat. A year earlier in the old-style desks, the shelf below her desktop was crammed with still-open books, layers of old notes, pencil crayons, a sweater and a mitten or two. At that time I had initiated a scheme that had got her in trouble with the teacher. At one recess for which I was allowed to stay indoors, I took advantage of a solitary moment to arrange Jeannie’s jumble to be hair-triggered by a wooden ruler. Then after recess, as Jeannie returned to her seat, the ruler unleashed a noisy avalanche of her entire shelf of rubble onto the floor. The teacher looked over and ordered Jeannie to pick it all up and reorganize her desk, to the great satisfaction of the class. [click to continue…]
Pat and Tony Keith. Photos by Susan Scandiffio.
Retailers love Valentine’s Day. With consumers spending over 18 billion dollars in the U.S. last year, the holiday is a hit for sellers and often a pressure-filled event for buyers hoping to find that “perfect” present. But for couples who have been together a very long time, life isn’t all about flowers, jewellery, and chocolate (though they never hurt).
Leasiders Pat and Tony Keith and Carol and Gord Epp are excellent examples of two couples who have successfully navigated their way through married life and are still deeply in love. [click to continue…]
You can’t go home again, as novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote. Or can you? We spoke to some Leasiders who did just that:
The O’Leary and Holt families
Courtney O’Leary and her sister Jessica Holt (née Moreland) grew up in North Leaside and attended Northlea and Leaside High School, graduating in 1996. They have fond memories of a safe and happy childhood when everyone knew everyone else and looked out for each other, often sharing parenting duties. Both moved back over the last 14 years and say their husbands have also grown to love the neighbourhood. In fact, Eamon O’Leary’s mother, brother and sister are now Leasiders, too, because as he says, they enjoy the feeling of living in “a small town within a big city.” [click to continue…]
Garden Court on Bayview. Photo by Tim Morawetz.
What places come to mind when you hear the phrase ‘Art Deco’? The Empire State and Chrysler buildings in New York? The Christ the Redeemer sculpture in Rio? The ‘Detroit Industry’ murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts? The Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation building on Bay St. in Toronto? Or perhaps Garden Court Apartments here in Leaside.
Tim Morawetz’s book Art Deco Architecture Across Canada, published last July, establishes that Canada was not immune to the design movement that swept Europe and North America (and beyond) beginning in the 1920s and ending in the 1940s, bringing modern and original artistic and design ideas, to add to the more traditional, historical styles. [click to continue…]
Photo by Robin Dickie.
“Leaside is a special place…Just “fixing things” (in the application) does not meet the intent of the bylaw”. So stated a Committee of Adjustment (CofA) member before making a motion to refuse the minor variance application for 41 Sharron Dr. at the January 11 hearing. The motion passed unanimously.
Recall in last month’s Leaside Life we talked about an application (22 Annesley Ave.) where an amicable resolution was reached between applicant and neighbours. What was the difference in this case? With Annesley the proposal was for an addition to the side that was in keeping with the existing home, and “fit in” with the street (actually both streets, as it was a corner property). On Sharron Dr. the proposal was to tear down an existing one and a half storey house in “Arts and Crafts” style and replace it with a much larger house with two storeys “jumped up” over an integral garage, and with a mansard roof uncharacteristic of Leaside. [click to continue…]
We are still close enough to the beginning of the New Year to indulge in a few predictions for Leaside in 2018.
My first: the City will once again send out property tax bills right after the holidays (they really know how to say Happy New Year), and once again we’ll be reminded that the system of Current Value Assessment guarantees that, increasingly, more Leasiders will find themselves house-rich and cash-poor. [click to continue…]