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Now what?Leaside is in danger of being split apart by ward boundary changes.

In August the Toronto Ward Boundary Review, set up by City Council in 2014, came out with its first report outlining five options for redrawing Toronto’s ward boundaries in time for the next municipal election in 2018.

The proposed options vary from as few as 38 “large” wards of about 75,000 people each to as many as 58 “small” wards of about 50,000 people each, but all five options would see Leaside split up.

How does each proposal effect Leaside?  The following is an outline only. For the detailed boundary maps associated with each proposal visit www.drawthelines.ca.

Under Options 1, 2, 3 and 5 Leaside would be split in two along Eglinton. [click to continue…]

A simple solution OPINION

A simple solution that could both keep Leaside intact and minimise disruption is to stick with two wards per riding on which the current boundaries have been based since 2000. This federal election is using new boundaries based on the 2011 census, which give Toronto 25 ridings, up from 22.

Premier Wynne has already said that Ontario will adopt these same boundaries, with some minor exceptions in northern Ontario, before the next provincial election in 2018. The city could easily do the same – simple, logical and easy to understand.

Under those new riding boundaries Leaside stays whole within Don Valley West. [click to continue…]

Can we trust Metrolinx?

The benefits of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT to our city have been mentioned many times over, but what is less clear and even less welcome are the consequences to our community. The biggest issue we currently face is intensification along Eglinton, namely, enormous condominium development.

Developers are naturally pointing to “higher level transit” as their justification for proposed massive intensification.

What is even more disconcerting is the role Metrolinx may have in all of this.

Of particular concern is the McDonald’s property on the southeast corner of Bayview and Eglinton. The community had understood that this was to be the location for the LRT station and nothing more. [click to continue…]

Funds raised by the Leaside Rotary Club helped send Thorncliffe Park kids to day camp this summer, building ties between the two communities, a long-term goal for Leaside resident Bill Pashby, the volunteer chair of the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office (TNO) .

“I believe it’s a good idea for Leasiders to learn more about our neighbours in Thorncliffe Park,” says Pashby. “And this initiative by the Leaside Rotary Club has been a great contribution to that process.”

With donations from club members and others, 360 children 7-14 years old attended Camp Explorer, run by TNO in two three-week sessions. [click to continue…]

Candidates meeting October 7

The William Lea Room on Wednesday, Oct. 7, starting at 7:30 p.m. That’s the date for the LPOA-sponsored candidates meeting for the coming federal election.

Serena Gundy would be very unhappy

The stone wall cut back for heavy equipment

The stone wall cut back for heavy equipment. Photo: DAVE NOSELLA, CITY OF TORONTO

The grey stone walls marking the Rykert Cres. entrance to Serena Gundy Park are special. The commemorative plaque on the wall to the right of the entrance has on it written: “This was Serena Gundy’s garden. She loved it and would be happy to share it with others”.

The Gundy family owned the lands, and the plaque, dated March 8, 1960, marks their transfer to Metropolitan Toronto.

However, if she could check it out now, Serena Gundy might be less than happy with the current condition of the entrance.

The stone wall there was cut back to allow heavy equipment to enter the park, and partially reinstated, but with stone that is different from the original wall, and the workmanship is sub-standard.  [click to continue…]

Street named for Stickney?

A David Stickney math class

A David Stickney math class

Changing the name of Markham Ave. in Leaside to Stickney Way is among possible memorials being planned for David Stickney, the former math teacher and baseball coach who died suddenly May 11.

Other ideas include placing a memorial park bench and a plaque in a suitable location and looking into supporting a scholarship fund at Leaside High School, where Stickney taught, said Larry Hurd, one of the organizers.

“To fulfill these goals we invite all members of the Leaside community, David’s friends, students and colleagues both past and present to join us for an evening of fund raising and celebration of his extraordinary life on Saturday, Sept. 26 at the Leaside Pub,” said Hurd.

Tickets are $75 per person for light refreshments, a cash bar, raffles and a live auction. Tickets are limited to 200 and must be purchased before Sept. 14. www.davestickney.ca.

In our ‘hood

Medalists from Bennington

Martha McCabe

Martha McCabe

Rachel Honderich

Rachel Honderich

Two athletes who grew up in Bennington were part of Canada’s Pan-Am team. The two women have something else in common too – they both won silver medals, finishing second to a fellow-Canadian and teammate. Swimmer Martha McCabe, daughter of Joe and Nancy McCabe of Heathbridge Park, who was in the London Olympics in 2012 and was named Leaside’s first Athlete of the Year in 2013, competed in the 200-metre breaststroke finishing just 0.13 seconds behind Kierra Smith, who won the gold medal. Rachel Honderich, daughter of David Honderich and Terri Bulger of Moorehill Dr., competed in badminton, losing an all-Canadian final to friend and training partner Michelle Li. Both McCabe and Honderich are working hard to be part of Canada’s Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro next year. [click to continue…]

Our best front gardens

The front garden at 36 Donlea

The front garden at 36 Donlea

Signs were out recently for the eight winners of this year’s Leaside Garden Society’s Gardens of Distinction awards.

The society says the awards “give public applause to residents who have front gardens with that ‘something special’, that is, beautiful, interesting, or particularly creative from a gardening point of view. Only the front yards are judged.”

Look out for them. The LGS asks that you respect private property and not walk in.

The winners:

  • 40 Bennington Heights Dr.
  • 48 Bennington Heights Dr.
  • 116 Bessborough Dr. (fronts on St. Cuthbert’s)
  • 280 Airdrie
  • 97 Hanna
  • 106 Randolph
  • 36 Donlea
  • 96 Brentcliffe

Canadian shares shine LEASIDE STOCK INDEX

Leaside Stock Index July 2015The Leaside Stock Index had a wonderful June and July gaining 5.8 percent (including currency) over the generally quiet two-month period. If not for some of the Canadian stocks in the portfolio, the LSI wouldn’t have nearly as good year-to-date performance numbers.

Four of the 10 Canadian stocks delivered returns over the two-month period in excess of 10 percent: Loblaws, Dollarama, Restaurant Brands International (Tim Hortons) and Alimentation Couche-Tard (Mac’s). Together, the four winners averaged 16 percent appreciation in June and July, almost 20 percentage points in excess of its Canadian benchmark, the S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index ETF.

Any way you slice it the performance of the index’s Canadian stocks in June and July, at a time when most stocks in the Canadian benchmark were going sideways or backwards, makes a big statement.

Solution for weeds

Councillor Jon Burnside announced just before our deadline that he has arranged for city parks staff to do a one-time clean-up of the weed-overgrown gardens at Leaside Arena, date to be determined.

Burnside said, “My vision long term is that other community groups will also take responsibility for a section – the Rotary Club will look after a plot, Boy Scouts or Girl Guides, or maybe some hockey teams.”

Cate Woodward, whose aquafit group was featured in our July issue weeding the beds next to the pool, welcomed the news. “We are pioneers here!” she noted in an email.

If you or your group are interested in helping contact Burnside (416-392-0215) or the arena (416-421-4944).

Pop-up fruit stand is our farmers’ market

Fruit vendor Jessica, on right, with Emma, Katie and mother Dayna Whitney

Fruit vendor Jessica, on right, with Emma, Katie and mother Dayna Whitney. Photo: Allan Williams

Leaside may not have its own farmers’ market, but this summer it’s had a pop-up fruit stand operating from the parking lot on the northeast corner of Sutherland and McRae.

BerryFresh Fruit Co., the brainchild of Tracy Premdas and her partner Brian Gay, is actually in its fourth season in Leaside but for the previous three it operated from the Canadian Tire parking lot at Eglinton and Laird. They’ve been busier this year, they say, probably due to the improved visibility of the new location.

The locally-harvested produce come from a handful of farms around Southern Ontario and is typically picked the same morning it’s delivered to the stand.

Our ‘garden city’ landscape on show

Leaside cultural landscape walk

Photo: STEWART MCINTOSH

This past summer a part of Leaside that most of us never think about became the subject of international study. Visitors from around the world were here to check out our ‘cultural landscape’. GEOFF KETTEL explains:

Leaside was the focus of international attention by landscape architects recently.

The Cultural Landscape Foundation (TCLF), based in Washington, DC, examined Leaside as one of the “world class landscape architecture projects” in its What’s Out There walking tours, on May 24, following its first international conference, held in Toronto on May 22.

What are cultural landscapes?  UNESCO (the United Nations agency focussed on educational, scientific and cultural matters) has defined three types of cultural landscapes: designed landscapes, which are intentionally designed; evolved landscapes; associative landscapes, with powerful religious, artistic, or cultural associations, such as sacred sites.  [click to continue…]

A part of our fabric

The quadraplex at 1783-1785 Bayview

The quadraplex at 1783-1785 Bayview. Photo: ALEX GRENZEBACH

Recently we have been approached by tenants in the quadraplexes south of Eglinton with reports that Metrolinx may be close to reaching a deal with a developer for redevelopment of properties south of McDonald’s, as part of the Bayview station LRT development.

We know that Metrolinx wants to develop the LRT station sites to recover some of Ontario’s investment.

But heritage values of the existing built form on the east side of Bayview may be a significant issue for Metrolinx and their development partners as they proceed.

In the stretch from Eglinton to Parkhurst is an intact row of 10 double duplexes (also called quadra-plexes), which are important to the Leaside community for several reasons.  [click to continue…]

The fun Moose on Moore

You have probably seen Flo the Moose on Moore Ave. at the Integracare building, just west of the gas station on the corner of Bayview. It’s always in different costumes, ready for a party, thanks in part to Sandra Hyslop, RN and HR manager at Integracare. Philip Russel, managing director there, says, “The ideas, construction methods and finding crazy accessories and materials tend to be a collaborative effort with Sandy, Martha (his wife) and me, but Flo would not be dressed without Sandy. She has been the main driver behind costume sewing.” Flo used to be changed every six weeks or so for the different seasons and celebrations like Halloween and St. Valentine’s Day, but less often now says Russel.

It’s big – and cozy

Against The Grain, the big restaurant on Laird, IS big. It seats 500.

But it didn’t feel like a cavernous food mess hall to Ella Maggay, of Millwood Rd.

Think of a nice, cozy bonfire.

This is how she sees that.

“The décor,” she said, “has been described by online reviewers as industrial chic, modern rustic, urban chic. Personally, I would call it functional.”

“Overall the place is fairly simple and unadorned, but what gives it its ‘chic’ allure is precisely the fact that simple is in. Natural light blends in seamlessly with the indoor lighting which has been set low to create a warm, bonfire feel. [click to continue…]