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Heading into its sixth year of what has so far been a great success, the Laugh Out Loud in Leaside fundraising comedy show is aiming again to help Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park.

This time it will be for BLAST, a Mooreland’s After-School program that creates positive change for poor inner-city kids ages 6 to 12.

BLAST stands for Budding Leaders After-School Teams, with three locations in the Thorncliffe and Flemingdon areas.

It provides a safe, fun and enriching environment where children build positive character traits through physical activity, participation in art, science and drama projects, improve literacy skills and get homework help. [click to continue…]

Top rating for our first dining outing

our dining critics

We’ll give you $100 to help pay for a meal for three at any restaurant in our area, the M4G postal code, which includes Leaside, Bennington Heights and the Leaside Business Park (known also as the industrial area). You need to be a resident of the area or work in it. Your part of the deal: Pick any eatery in that same area and all three of you eat there together, then each one send us a review of your experience. We’ll put it all together for the newspaper. Send your contact information to [email protected] You’ll get on a list and we’ll get back to you when your turn comes. Bon appétit.

If you are the first three guinea pigs, unknown to each other, to start a new series about dining out here for Leaside Life, what better place to choose than where you can order many small dishes?

That’s another way to say tapas bar, known here as Tinto Bar de Tapas, 1581 Bayview.

Our three eaters (you can become one; see the explanation at right) were Lynne Griffin, the actress who spends most of her time in Leaside (see June/14, Must you live here to be a Leasider?), Ken Ramstead, a writer and editor for the Salvation Army, who lives on Leacrest, and Paul Boston, of Randolph Rd., a high-performance business team organizer. [click to continue…]

BIA will be running in a few months

“It will take a few more months and three or four more meetings run by the city before the BIA (Business Improvement Area) is completely up and running” on Bayview, says Trae Zammit, owner of The Smokin’ Cigar and a spokesperson for the steering committee.

“The current steering committee remains in place for the time being and, working with the city, we have to set the agenda, develop a budget, and identify individuals interested in serving on the executive committee. All owners and merchants within the catchment area (138, according to Zammit) will have a say on these things and a chance to vote.” [click to continue…]

Parents will raise funds for tennis upgrade

Rolph Road parents have won approval to raise money to repair the school’s tennis courts instead of the Toronto school board making a private-public deal because of lack of funds.

Parents Robin Dickie, Linda Carte and Stan Flemming will organize to try to raise at least $16,000 for repairs.

Dickie, head of the Rolph School Council, said there was passionate opposition among members to the private-public proposal.

They were worried about what effect new tennis facilities would have on the school’s playground and on traffic on a currently quiet Hanna Rd.

There was also a concern that school property should remain public.

$1,203 million for a bungalow in North Leaside

Leaside Street Sales Dec. 2014

Click to enlarge

The sale of bungalows started early last year at $580,000 for a 25-foot by 100-foot lot in South Leaside on Sutherland at Eglinton.

Then there was a December sale, a North Leaside bungalow, for a whopping $1,203,000, or 35 percent above the asking price. That is $106,000 more than a 31.5-foot by 135-foot bungalow a few doors down the street last June.

That works out to about $35,000 per foot of frontage, or $120,000 for the 3.5-foot difference between the two homes.

That is a strong indicator that builders are bullish on Leaside for 2015. Expect to see some spectacular new homes in our neighbourhood for sale this year. [click to continue…]

Elgie House mediation gets its first approvals

Several months after a mediated settlement was reached, the proposed alterations for the Thomas G. Elgie House, the designated heritage house at 262 Bessborough Dr., came before the Toronto Preservation Board on Jan. 9 and the North York Community Council on Jan.13. The alterations detailed in the Conservation Management Plan for the property are:

1. to retain and restore the original central section of the Thomas Elgie House, moving the house eastward on the property 7.5 metres such that the house remains on the top of a gentle slope on the property, and

2. that the relationship between grade and the entrance to the heritage building not be changed once re-located, and

3. construction of a new rear addition to the house. [click to continue…]

Letters – February 2015

Epitomizing spirit of Leaside in the ‘50s

Re: Leaside Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

I had the pleasure of attending the recent induction ceremony for the latest entrants.

My family grew up in North Leaside and my brother Bruce and I were very active in the sports community right from atom baseball at Trace Manes (where our father was a director and coach of the LABA) through to junior baseball at Talbot Park. We were also involved in hockey all the way through playing for the beloved Leaside Lions on Saturday night, all the way through midget. [click to continue…]

LSI has great year despite weak December

Leaside Stock Index Dec. 2014A lot of fireworks obscured what was otherwise a mediocre December for the Leaside Stock Index.

The first important piece of news: Burger King successfully merged Tim Hortons into itself creating a new company with $23 billion in systems sales in over 18,000 restaurants around the world. The new company, Restaurant Brands International (QSR) will be headed by Daniel Schwartz, the young but brilliant CEO of Burger King. [click to continue…]

Want a bungalow? You can’t afford it

Jeanette Brattin-Ellis

Jeanette Brattin-Ellis

Young couples with children searching for a starter home may want to look elsewhere if  they’re hoping to purchase a bungalow in Leaside for a economical price. These days, buyers are lucky if they can snap one up for less than a million bucks.

“Only contractors, or big foreign money can afford to buy these houses. There are no more starter homes,” says a retired schoolteacher who sold her bungalow on Donlea four years ago for a high six-figure sum.

“It’s true,” says real estate broker Sue Byford. “If you aren’t a builder, you probably can’t afford one.”

But it isn’t just the young who are out of luck, it’s also retirees looking to downsize. “I recently quoted the price of bungalows in Leaside to a man from Rosedale who wanted to settle here and he was shocked,” Byford says. [click to continue…]

Our house is a teardown – we love it

We live in a Leaside teardown, and we don’t mind it a bit. In fact we might mind it it more if our house stopped being a teardown.

We think our house is doomed when we sell it because, as is happening throughout Leaside and much of residential Toronto, a much better house could be built on our property. Although it was in fact architect-designed, our current house, built around 1950, has impossibly small closets, a distinctly un-modern layout, poor over-all insulation, an undistinguished exterior, and doesn’t lend itself to easy modification. When it gets knocked down, no one is going to miss it.

Well, we will miss it a bit if we survive its demise. But, as I’ve written before, we’re entirely happy in our Leaside house and will have to be carried out of it in the end. [click to continue…]

It’s time to do something with graffiti

graffitiHi Cheryl:

I took a break this morning and did my rounds, until the fingers of my picking-up hand froze. I used my left hand because I’ve gone through all my right-hand gloves and have three lefties left over. Oddly, though I had woolly gloves on both hands, only the one covered by a plastic glove froze. My other hand wasn’t even cold.

Found two discarded dog-pooh bags on the street, one squashed so I didn’t go near it.

I saw a woman picking up garbage alongside the path near McDonalds. She told me she has some pet peeve areas that she de-litters regularly. I was in a hurry so I didn’t have time for more than a one-minute exchange. Nice to know there are a few others similarly inclined, but sad that the situation is so awful that they feel the need to.  [click to continue…]

Prom drive becomes a labour of love

The drive to find prom dresses and suits to help needy graduating students in Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park is becoming an annual labour of love for Leasider Alexa Rocca.

For the third year in a row she is asking that suitable and laundered slightly used clothing for the big event be donated up to April 3.

The clothing will be taken to The Prom Boutique at New Circles Community Services.

Items can be dropped off at Bosley Real Estate, 290 Merton St., attn. Patrick Rocca, or can by picked up by emailing Alexa at [email protected]

Her father says, “The actual day of the fittings for suits and dresses is quite incredible. My familt has volunteered to help the kids with fittings and choice of dress/suit and it’s very heart warming to see the smiles on these kids’ faces.”

Let’s move Leaside to another ward

Governing Toronto

GOVERNING TORONTO: Bringing back the city that worked: The paperback version is available at Amazon.ca for $24.99 plus GST, or from Alan Redway, 416-421-5328, for $20 including GST.

I have just published a book entitled Governing Toronto: Bringing back the city that worked.

In it I trace the growth and governance of the city from its creation in 1834 through its successful Metro years to why and how the decision was made to establish the present megacity.

Finally I urge the provincial government to initiate a long overdue review of the governance of Toronto aimed at a decentralization of decision making either by way of de-amalgamation, as has been successfully achieved by a number of Quebec cities, or alternatively by creating a more decentralized form of Toronto government using Montreal’s present borough system as a model.  [click to continue…]

Twin towers proposed for Sunnybrook Plaza

Long rumoured but only recently revealed, Sunnybrook Plaza, the first suburban strip plaza built in Toronto, is being proposed for redevelopment.

This collection of stores with a parking lot out front was opened on the northeast corner of Eglinton and Bayview in 1952. It signalled the emergence of car-oriented shopping plazas, rather than main street strip (to the sidewalk) stores.

For Leaside it also represented the filling in of the last gap in the town’s built form.   [click to continue…]

I will find funds for traffic study

As our traffic committees in both North and South Leaside get started, we will be looking at ways to reduce the volume of traffic.

I am aware that residents are tired of hearing about traffic studies but the reality is that a comprehensive study has not been done in Leaside for years.

Despite there being approval for one in the previous term, funding was not allocated. I am committed to finding the funding to execute such a study. The overall need is to gather baseline traffic volumes so that we can ensure that as we make changes that an increase in traffic does not occur on neighbouring streets.  [click to continue…]

Burnside gets OMB appeal against retail spread

What’s driving change in Leaside?  Sure “the market” is a key driver, but the North York Committee of Adjustment, which decides on severances and minor variance applications for properties in residential Leaside and the Leaside Business Park, is facilitating change in Leaside’s land-use and built form.

Spending a day at the committee is instructive in understanding the process of change. The committee meets every two weeks and two or three residential applications involving Leaside at a meeting is typical.

Agnes Vermes, of the Leaside Property Owners’ Association (LPOA) reports that in 2014 the LPOA submitted 41 letters in response to applications to the committee. A major concern is that applications increasingly involve demolitions rather than renovations.  [click to continue…]

Current bylaws should not be jumping off point

At LPOA’s January public board meeting, The Brown Group presented a new proposal for a block-long, nine-storey condominium- plus-mixed-use building on Bayview Ave., from Hillsdale to Soudan. The current zoning for that block is designated as Neighbourhood, which limits building heights to four storeys, primarily detached and semi-detached houses, with townhouses and walk-up apartments.

An Official Plan amendment would be required to allow mixed uses in a block which is now totally low-rise residential, not to mention requiring a zoning bylaw amendment.

Zoning bylaws and official plans are not created overnight; they evolve over many months (sometimes years) to create and reflect communities. Residents’ views are solicited at official meetings held by the city, and more informal but equally important ones organized by local ratepayer groups like the Leaside Property Owners’ Association.  [click to continue…]

Leaside writer Beth Parker has published a new book called Unstoppable, about a little-known Canadian finance system.

We asked her about it. Her reply:

It’s the business history of an entire industry called the asset-based finance industry, which is the second biggest lender in Canada to business next to the banks/credit unions. So it includes hundreds of companies in Canada, like General Electric, Canadian Pacific, all the major banks, all the car companies (their financing divisions), large manufacturers like John Deere, technology companies like IBM.  [click to continue…]

So you think you know Petra Grantham

Petra GranthamYou may well have run into Petra Grantham at a Rolph Road school event, on a soccer field,  or on Bayview, but you probably are not aware of what an extraordinary woman she is. Read on.

Petra Grantham has stepped down as the administrator of the Bennington Rolph Road Soccer Association after more than eight years at the helm. With 250 kids from senior kindergarten to grade 8 participating each fall, that is a lot of local families she’s been involved with. She is happy that Susan Scandiffio has taken over so the league can continue, but is grateful to no longer be the one on the chase for referees, managers, coaches, field permits, sponsors, etc., etc. [click to continue…]