Rotary Club gives up on helping Bayview

Last year’s Bits and Bites on Bayview Ave.Photo: Sue Byford

Last year’s Bits and Bites on Bayview Ave.

‘Surely it is not a function of Rotary to stimulate owners on the strip’

The Rotary Club has cancelled a second Bits and Bites on Bayview because of lack of merchant response, says club member Peter Bennett, the driving force behind last year’s street party.

The taste-fest, held June 21 and 22 last year, was designed to publicize the street’s  restaurants and retail stores, as well as raise funds for the club’s community fund.

A year later, Bennett wonders why he bothered. Read more…

OMB okays old PO plans

A proposal to permit the building of a seven-storey (plus mechanical penthouse) at the corner of Malcolm and Millwood (the site of the former post office) was approved when the Ontario Municipal Board allowed an appeal on March 7 to permit the zoning by-law to be amended.

This was a disappointment, but not a surprise, to residents of the area and members of the Leaside Property Owners’ Association.

The die was cast when the OMB chair determined that because Deni Papetti, a registered architect, had a home immediately adjacent to the subject property, he must present solely technical, rather than opinion evidence in making his case against the building of the structure.  Read more…

Request to demolish Elgie House

Renaissance Fine Homes, developer of the heritage Elgie House on Bessborough, is asking for permission to demolish the home at the same time that it is waiting for an Ontario Municipal Board hearing on its desire to just move the house on the property.

This latest request was to be heard by the Toronto Preservation Board in March, after our deadline.

Meanwhile the city planning department has already asked city council to refuse the demolition request.

Council must decide by May 24.

The developer had earlier appealed to the OMB following the rejection by the committee of adjustment of their application for severance and minor variances. It wanted to build three new homes and turn the heritage home on its spot.

The OMB hearing is May 12.

Run for diabetes

Heading into its ninth year, the Spring Into Action walk and run for diabetes hopes to raise $15,000.

Organized by Leaside’s Insideout Health and Fitness, the 2 km, 5 km and 10 km walk and run will be held Saturday, May 3 in Sunnybrook Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the money going to Sunnybrook Hospital’s Diabetes Foundation, York University Diabetes Sports Camp and IChallenge Diabetes.

The event will include a BBQ, kids’ activities, a stretch station, a vendors marketplace and live music.

Chief planner will meet with us April 9

Development applications? Zoning requirements? Official Plan provisions? Traffic impacts? Building heights? Density? Intensification? Section 37 benefits?

It seems that hardly a week goes by that residents in the Leaside area are not met with development proposals – whether on the block where they live or on one of our main streets – that challenge their understanding as to the type of developments that are well suited to their community.

Some of these proposals involve an application to the Committee of Adjustment for a minor variance to the existing zoning bylaw; some involve an application to community council for a revision to the zoning bylaw itself. Every once in a while – although not yet while I have represented the area – an application is brought forward that seeks an amendment to the city’s Official Plan. Read more…

LOL raises $30,000

The 5th Annual Laugh Out Loud in Leaside event raised over $30,000 in March for the Flemingdon Park New Circles charity.

The not-for-profit organization offers clothing services, community referrals and skills building programs to residents of Thorncliffe Park, Flemingdon Park and Victoria Village neighbourhoods.

Yuk Yuk comedians kept the 200 guests laughing.

In addition to the major sponsor, Lexus on the Park, local food merchants Grilltime, De La Mer, and Tori and Cates Cupcakes supplied food, including oysters (the first to be devoured) and maple smoked salmon.

Bringing his school into today’s world

When Richard Walo became principal of St. Anselm at the beginning of this school year his goal was to bring it into today’s world.

The first big step came the first Wednesday of March when students chatted on Skype around the world with other students from Croatia, South Africa, Slovenia, and the U.S. during World Read Aloud Day.

Walo sees this as the beginning of a regular international dialogue.

“Skype connects teachers with teachers and students with students in our board and around the world. It makes learning more meaningful and authentic,” he says.   Read more…

My eight proposals to help Bayview

In the March issue of Leaside Life, Geoff Kettel and I debated whether the Laird developments are primarily responsible for Bayview’s store closings. I said that the street’s demise is its own doing. Nonetheless, I firmly believe that if you find fault, you should also find solutions.

With that in mind, here is my eight-point plan for improving Bayview.

1. Create a BIA (Business Improvement Area)

The strip needs to develop vibrant public spaces that are children friendly. Successful business districts understand that people come before commerce. If Bayview aims to become a destination where it’s fun to hang out, business will surely follow.

Why is it that there are no decent backyard patios on the street? With the exception of Fukui Sushi, which has a hidden one out back, there’s little excitement from the handful of restaurants that offer patios. Go to Allen’s on the Danforth or Sidecar on College. Their patios are hidden oases. Read more…

Leaside bungalows pass the $1 million mark

February Home pricesThere has been a dramatic rise in bungalow prices in Leaside. This year two bungalows have sold (essentially building lots) for an average of $1,033,000, or 34 percent above the asking price. 

Million dollar bungalows are new here. This suggests builders are confident with the prospect of selling newly constructed homes over $2 million.

Meanwhile February home values on MLS also continued to trend upward in 2014. Here is a 12-month look at the current averages, up to Feb. 28.

In February this year, 16 homes changed hands in Leaside and Bennington Heights, which was 27 percent less than the 22 homes that sold last year in February. There wasn’t a significant change to the average dollar values of those transactions from year to year, which was $1,318,021. This February, only three of the 16 homes that sold were semi-detached.  Read more…

Blood donor clinic like no other

When two children at Northlea school were diagnosed with leukemia in the same week of November 2003, people were overwhelmed with a desire to help, but were at a loss as to how.

Both children suggested that people could donate blood. A group of 10 mothers joined together to make that happen. When we started these clinics over 10 years ago, we were lauded for wanting to host one clinic, and warned not to set our expectations too high.

Our liaison from Canadian Blood Services (CBS) at that time told us that a community-run clinic our size could expect to average about 60 units of blood. I remember our committee of volunteers told them that Leaside was different, and that they should be prepared for an unusual response.  Read more…

A grandparent’s eye view of this special community

Recently we had the annual call from a realtor friend asking if we plan to sell our house this year. It’s about her 30th annual call and it always gets the same response: “No, never. We’ll all be dead before this house changes hands.”

No matter the issues filling the columns of Leaside Life: redevelopment, traffic congestion, business failures, etc. No matter that we know we live in a teardown, a house no buyer of our property is likely to think worth preserving. No matter ice storms, airplane noise, crabgrass, or speed bumps. We have lived in Leaside for 50 years and are planning to be here for the next 50 or so.

A grandparent’s eye view of Leaside is very different from that of the young, who have to struggle with big mortgages, parents who keep anxious eyes on the quality of our schools, and the middle-aged who calculate trade-offs between grander houses and retirement nest eggs.  Read more…

April 2014 Calendar

SPRING INTO ACTION charitable walk and run, Sunnybrook Park, Sat., May 3, for diabetes, organized by Leaside’s Insideout Health and Fitness.

NORTHLEA BLOOD DONOR CLINIC, Wed., April 9, 2-8 p.m. at Northlea Public School, 305 Rumsey Rd. 1-888-2 DONATE (1-888-236-6283) to book an appointment.

LEASIDE LIBRARY, 165 McRae Dr., 416-396-3835.

  • Adult and teen programming: The 432 Leaside Squadron: Aviation historian Keith Hyde speaks about the squadron officially adopted by the town of Leaside during WWII. Drop in. No registration required. Tues., April 1, 7–8 p.m. Read more…

In our Hood

Standing ovation for Northlea Public School Junior Choir. We’re accustomed to seeing these kids win Kiwanis awards each year, but this winter, the grades 5/6 choir was awarded top prize for all elementary schools in the choir section. Mr. Bondy and Ms. Malach were awarded certificates, a scholarship cheque and the William B. Rothwell trophy. Huge thanks for the dozens of volunteers who helped the kids prepare and attend that day, including Sharon Hampson (of Sharon, Lois and Bram fame). Hampson is a Northlea grandmother.

Airdrie Dr. neighbour Dr. Gaeten Tardiff spent March 7-16 in Sochi, Russia in his role as president of the Canadian Paralympic Committee. Tardiff watched as Brian McKeever won Canada’s first gold medal, taking the title in the men’s 20 km visually impaired cross-country race. Read more…

ashworth-chartApr14Shortly after the Leaside Stock Index (LSI) made its debut in the February issue I received a telephone call from a Leaside resident complaining that several stocks were left off the list.

My specific faux pas was that I didn’t include Bank of Montreal, Pizza Pizza and Second Cup in the 20-stock index. The caller was especially disappointed with the exclusion of Bank of Montreal.

It turns out this person owns an obscene amount of the bank’s shares. While that was more information than I needed to know, the question was a valid one. I explained that my choice of TD and Scotiabank was a personal preference. I like TD’s retail business both in Canada and the U.S. as well as Scotiabank’s focus on Latin America and other emerging markets, and not a slight against BMO. Read more…

A lifetime of being extraordinary

Florence Carter & David OnleyPhoto: LGOntario

Florence Carter and Lt.-Gov. David Onley

“Isn’t your term up now?” a feisty Florence Carter, 87, asked Lieutenant-Governor David Onley, as he presented her with the Governor-General’s Caring Canadian Award on Feb. 19 at Queen’s Park, honouring her for over 30 years of teaching the blind.

“He just broke up,” Carter says, as she received a plaque and a pin alongside 40 other recipients. Established in 1995 by the then Lieutenant-Governor Roméo LeBlanc, the award recognizes ordinary Canadians who do extraordinary things.

Carter, a 60-year resident of Leaside who had to move away only last year, has been doing that almost all her life.

At 17, and poised to enter the University of New Brunswick, the Halifax native was diagnosed with a brain abscess. Despite the surgical intervention of the famed Dr. Wilder Penfield, she still went blind. Read more…

Letters – April 2014

Oh Leaside, is every proposed change bad?

Oh Leaside, is every proposed change something that will be objected to? Intensifying along transportation corridors is sensible planning. And two-storey buildings are much better than 27-storey buildings – just visit most major European cities.

I think it would be better if we spent more of our energies trying to influence development, to make it friendlier to live with, to encourage some architectural diversity in lieu of the relentless gray/green towers that dominate the landscape in Toronto, to ensure low-level commercial units so we don’t have to drive to the big boxes.

Toronto is growing and this growth needs to be managed. If everything is opposed, we just end up marginalized by the OMB.

Michael Beswick,
Millwood Rd.

My mother was a resident in an apartment at 63 Mallory Cres. at the time mentioned in this article (Library basement had other memories for me, March 2014, Karen Fraser) and was an active participant in the opposition to the “development” proposal.  Read more…

Hockey kids place second for the city

Bessborough’s grade 5/6 hockey team of 16 players, 14 boys and two girls, made it to the city final championship game at Varsity Arena to play against the Hollycrest Middle School from Etobicoke on March 6.

Though the team lost 5-3, with the winning goals scored in the last 13 seconds of play, they had an excellent season overall,  taking the northern conference.

Volunteer head coach Doug Wright, teacher representative Liz Watt, as well as kids from the school’s grades 5 and 6 and members of the community, cheered loudly during the game.

As parent Sarah Crane says, “It was school spirit at its best.  Our players walked away with a trophy for second place, but most of all they walked away with great memories and great friends.”

Neighbours who do more than say hello

SquirrelPhoto: Paddy Duncan
Demanding lives often reduce relationships with neighbours to hello, how are you?

One group gets even less attention than this, even when its proclivity for jaywalking ends in tragedy, and that is our squirrel neighbours. The following is a happy exception.

Shortly after we moved into our house, we discovered that the aged storm window in our bedroom was stuck open about six inches. One frigid night, as I gazed at the valley below, I caught a movement. There in the corner was a black squirrel, shivering. Read more…

Do we want a 48-foot LED sign?

Driving east on Eglinton Ave., you pass Brentcliffe Rd., and as you proceed down the hill toward Leslie St. you suddenly notice a large electronic advertising sign located ahead, on the south side of Eglinton just before the CPR railway overpass.

Or, you’re driving south down the hill that is Leslie St. toward Eglinton, and you notice the flashing billboard to your left, across the street.

The sign is 48 feet wide and 14 feet high, lit with LEDs. Read more…

Heritage awards

Do you know of an outstanding renovation of a house in Leaside? It may be eligible for nomination for the Heritage Toronto Awards.

One of the categories is the William Greer Architectural Conservation and Craftsmanship award.

Others are Book, Short Publication, Media or Community Heritage Award.
For eligibility standards and nomination forms, visit the Heritage Toronto website, email or call 416-338-2175. The deadline for nominations is May 16, 2014 at 4:30 p.m.

Builder won’t stop, city does nothing

'Tower' house on FlemingGeoff Kettel

‘Tower’ house on Fleming

The underlying pattern of Leaside’s unique and original street pattern is a series of curved streets, trending north east and south west, punctuated with diagonals.

At its core is Fleming Cres., the only street in Leaside that curves around a full 180 degrees, touching Donegall twice, north and south of Parkhurst.

However, today, when you approach Fleming south of Parkhurst from either direction (Parkhurst or Bayview) the eye is immediately drawn to an under-construction “tower house” sitting on the outer curve of the crescent. It is readily apparent that the house does not “fit”. It disturbs the quiet rhythm of a beautiful street in so many ways. You have to wonder — how could this happen? Read more…

2 Laird appeal based on city not deciding

A final order by the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) for the building of a seven-storey condo  building at 2 Laird Dr. has been withheld pending the City of Toronto submitting an “appropriate Zoning By-Law amendment” that must satisfy the director, Community Planning North York District, and the city solicitor.

In an interim order issued on March 7, the board allowed the appeal of KCAP Laird Inc. (the developers) against the City of Toronto and the Leaside Property Owners’ Association (LPOA). Read more…

The little meeting place that nobody knows

For a Centennial project in 1967, the Town of Leaside built the only stand-alone meeting/recreation building in Leaside and called it Trace Manes Centennial Building. It’s on that wedge of land that also houses the Leaside Library, Leaside Tennis Club and Trace Manes Park. The name Trace Manes is to honour a popular Leaside mayor of the late 1940s. Read more…