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Harry and Ruth in September 2016 along the Lake Erie shoreline at Rock Point Provincial Park, formerly the site of Camp Kvutza, where both spent time in the summers during the 1950s. Photo By Allan Williams.

Harry and Ruth in September 2016 along the Lake Erie shoreline at Rock Point Provincial Park, formerly the site of Camp Kvutza, where both spent time in the summers during the 1950s. Photo By Allan Williams.

Harry and Ruth Goldhar are retiring from the community newspaper business, for a second time.

After five successful years of operation, the founders of Leaside Life have sold it to new owners.

And that means, now that he has given up the editorial reins, Harry, who has always preferred to remain in the background, can no longer do anything to prevent this paper from paying a richly-deserved and somewhat delayed tribute to two dedicated community builders, mutually supportive and complementary business partners, and all-round great people. [click to continue…]

Harry and Ruth with their four grandchildren, l-r: Kelvey, Rachel, Michaela and Nathan on a 2016 Disney Cruise. Their 2017 travel plans include Cuba and South America.

Harry and Ruth with their four grandchildren, l-r: Kelvey, Rachel, Michaela and Nathan on a 2016 Disney Cruise. Their 2017 travel plans include Cuba and South America.

One of my fondest memories of both Harry and Ruth concerns the last day of a municipal election when my wife Beth and I decided we should finish my campaign by saying hello to all our neighbours. [click to continue…]

“It was a milestone in Canadian history,” says Drew Hamblin of Sutherland Drive, “the first time the four Canadian divisions fought together as a single unit, and the day Canada stopped being a colony and became a nation in the eyes of the world.”

The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought 100 years ago next month, on the morning of April 9, 1917 – Easter Monday. And Hamblin knows far more than most about the day “when Canada came of age.” He’s read the books and is familiar with the manuscripts, films and other sources. But the battle is of more than academic interest to Hamblin; there’s a personal connection, too.

Hamblin’s grandfather, Frank Edgar Hamblin (1897-1988), served in the First World War and fought that day at Vimy Ridge. And while many veterans of his grandfather’s generation were famously reticent to talk about their wartime experiences even to their own family members and often took their tales with them to the grave, Frank Hamblin opened up to his young grandson. [click to continue…]

A small ad placed in this very publication about a year ago piqued my interest. It said simply, we’d like to retire and we are selling Leaside Life. It is not that I had a lifelong dream to own a newspaper or magazine, but Leaside Life had always been a cover to cover, must-read for me, so I made an inquiry.

It did not take long to figure out what made Leaside Life so appealing: It was Leaside news, written by people who know Leaside for Leaside people.

For the past five years, the publication created by Harry and Ruth Goldhar has told the important stories about our community – its people, businesses, development issues, traffic…the joys and the tragedies. The news was always local, local, local. [click to continue…]

Premier Kathleen Wynne at the Suomi-Koti Seniors Centre with honourees, (l -r) Benita Kopamees, Rauha Salonen and Aili Kukkonen.

Premier Kathleen Wynne at the Suomi-Koti Seniors Centre with honourees, (l -r) Benita Kopamees, Rauha Salonen and Aili Kukkonen.

On Friday, February 17, 2017, Premier Kathleen Wynne paid a visit to three remarkable women who will be turning 100 this year. They all live in Suomi-Koti, the Toronto Finnish-Canadian Seniors Centre on Eglinton near Laird, just steps away from Wynne’s constituency office as MPP for Don Valley West.

The three centenarians are Aili Kukkonen, whose birthday is March 10, Rauha Salonen, whose birthday is December 16, and Benita Kopamees, whose birthday is December 29. Each woman was pleased and surprised to receive a visit from Wynne, who presented them with a small potted chrysanthemum and framed certificates congratulating them on reaching this milestone, and wishing them a celebration that is “a joyful reminder of a century of living life right.” [click to continue…]

March Break can either be a welcome time for a vacation with your family or a week or two filled with the classic cry of ‘I’m bored, what do we do now?” For those of you who have chosen the ‘staycation’ route, Leaside Life has compiled a guide to some of the camps for kids and happenings right here in Leaside for you to participate in over the break.

CAMPS FOR KIDS

Pawsitively Pets

Specializing in all things animals and kids, Pawsitively Pet’s camp is a great choice if your child, aged 4-14, is an animal lover. Kids are taught about animal care in two available sessions for a full week, half week or two-day camp. Session A runs March 13-17; Session B March 20-24. For more information, visit www.pawsitivelypetskidscamp.com/leaside [click to continue…]

Home Security Tips

If you happen to be one of the lucky Leasiders jetting off for March break, make sure you take some time before you go to ensure your home and belongings are safe.

March break is prime time for break-ins, with so many homes in the area left vacant. Toronto Police Services has some excellent information to help you keep your home safe and secure:

Inform your neighbours you are going away and provide them with your departure and return dates.

Cancel or redirect your mail and newspaper deliveries, or have a neighbour/friend come to collect on a daily basis.

Arrange to have your walkways shoveled if it snows. Nothing says ‘I’m not home’ like a driveway that hasn’t been cleared. [click to continue…]

Olde Yorke Fish & Chips, located at 96 Laird Dr.

Olde Yorke Fish & Chips, located at 96 Laird Dr.

The first customer in the door when Olde Yorke Fish & Chips opened on March 16, 1997 was the TTC driver on route 56, who had been keeping an eye on what was happening to this property from a bus stop on Laird. Rather than leave his bus idling while he checked out the new eatery, he finished his shift and returned as soon as he could to savour a generous helping of fish ‘n chips, courtesy of the Feathers.

When Peter and Anne Feather first saw the property, they had to evaluate whether they could make a go of it. It had been a restaurant before, but the tenants weren’t able to make it work. Laird Drive at the time was a quiet street, with industry on the east side. The Feathers had never been to Leaside before and knew nothing about the neighbourhood. They sat outside at McSorley’s on Bayview and watched who was walking by, and thought those passersby might be interested in eating fish ‘n chips. They also knew that for the business to be successful there had to be “quality in the kitchen and service in the dining room.” [click to continue…]

Pat Prentice

Pat Prentice

As a young girl from Arnprior, Pat Prentice headed off to Queen’s University in Kingston to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Nursing – then a five-year course, with the first and last years at the university, and the three middle years, in Pat’s case, spent at Hotel Dieu Hospital in Kingston.

With her freshly minted degree, in 1959 she headed to Toronto to teach at St. Michael’s Hospital School of Nursing. While there, she estimates she taught more than 2,000 student nurses. Then, as nurse training changed, she headed up the road to Ryerson to teach in their college nursing program. Plus she wrote a textbook on Huntington’s Disease for the Huntington Society of Canada, accompanied by films also made at Ryerson.

Feeling she needed a break, Pat headed off to the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto to acquire additional qualifications. This led her to Centennial College, where she became one of five people – and the only woman – teaching continuing education night school courses. When she got off the subway at the Warden Woods campus, there were cattle in the nearby fields by Providence Villa. Scarborough has changed mightily in the ensuing years. The place she taught had been part of the World War II munitions factory, with a still-functioning rifle range in the basement under her classroom. [click to continue…]

Sergeant Matt Moyer

Sergeant Matt Moyer

Matt Moyer is just the kind of guy most Leaside residents would love to have as a neighbour. He grew up in the community, has worked in it for most of his career, and in his position as Staff Sergeant, Community Response Unit Manager, with 53 Division, he knows virtually everything about it. Plus he still calls Leaside home.

Moyer has seen a lot of changes take place in the area over the years. He remembers as a child playing hockey in the arena and baseball in Leaside Park. After the games in the evening his only concern was getting home on time. Today, however, a young boy or girl alone at night might be in a much more precarious situation given the increase in robberies and assaults in the park, and certainly much more vehicular traffic than there was in his day. [click to continue…]

L-R: Ann Aguilera, Elke Sengmueller, Carole Macaulay, John Macaulay and Dave Aguilera

L-R: Ann Aguilera, Elke Sengmueller, Carole Macaulay, John Macaulay and Dave Aguilera

A full-service restaurant inside a grocery store? This sounds like a match made in heaven, with myriad fresh and varied ingredients readily available for a menu. But grocery stores are not exactly known for being places to kick back and relax with a great meal and stimulating conversation. This has certainly not been my experience as a registered dietitian for 20 years and counting, a career that has me regularly perusing grocery stores. The creation of the Corks restaurant in the Leaside Longo’s definitely piqued my interest!

Situated in the open loft of a beautifully restored, cavernous old locomotive barn, Corks has a paradoxical modern feel. A long table near the bar lined with taps featuring local brews reminds me of a beer hall, but the cozy lounge chairs, booths and tables of reclaimed wood that fill the rest of the space remind me of a gastropub. Overall, the open concept space elevated above the grocery floor below in this grand heritage structure with 40 ft. wooden ceilings creates an ambiance that is comfortably casual, but with a subtle dignity that accompanies the legacy of such an important piece of Leaside history. [click to continue…]

Spring-cleaning, Leaside style – when your stuff has stuff

The arrival of spring brings to mind visions of “spring cleaning,” for me a somewhat dreaded and overwhelming task. Looking for some new inspiration I picked up a copy of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant, at the Trace Manes Library. The book is described as “a comprehensive, illustrated manual on how to declutter and organize specific items throughout the house, from kitchen and bathroom items to work-related papers and hobby collections”. Kondo’s principle is simple. Put your hands on everything you own, ask yourself if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it.

For the next few weeks I picked up the book when I had some time and energy to spare, opened it to a random topic and followed the instructions. It made a dull task manageable and fun, handling each item sparked a mixture of nostalgia and gratitude, and I had a lot of success letting go. The result? Numerous boxes filled with items to donate and a freshly organized drawer of happy socks! [click to continue…]

Laird Drive THE STREETS OF LEASIDE

Prime Minister Robert Laird Borden

Prime Minister Robert Laird Borden

One of Leaside’s most interesting streets has to be Laird Drive, a major artery running north and south and incorporating the commercial and industrial streetscape (slowly changing) south of Eglinton to the quiet, residential section north of that major dividing line.

As most Leasiders know, Leaside was a thriving railroad community, whose executives seemed to wield great sway in naming local streets.

The Canadian Northern Railway’s dynamic duo, William Mackenzie and Donald Mann, named Laird Drive after William’s close friend, Robert Laird Borden, Prime Minster of Canada from 1911 until 1920. Ironically, another Laird, Alexander, from Scotland, became the first bank manager of the CIBC on Laird Dr. [click to continue…]

When Swedish statistician Hans Rosling died recently, the world lost an incredible communicator – someone who brought to life the concept that decisions should not be based on hunch or instinct but on the facts. In this tradition, the TDSB wants to make the best possible decisions for our students so we are about to commence a massive census/survey. We need your help.

Educators want to remove systemic barriers to student success and develop more effective programs and services. Trustees want to allocate resources where there is most need and advocate for funding and resources for students, families and communities. In April 2017, the TDSB will launch its third Student & Parent Census for all Grade 4-12 students and all parents of JK-Grade 6 students, and we need everyone to participate. [click to continue…]

Carol hard at work

Carol hard at work

You know the saying: “You can never really understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes”? So guess what I did? I walked in Dave and Carol’s gym shoes at InsideOut Health & Fitness for a 45-minute training session. Now I really understand how hard they’re working to reach their goals. But the physical side of the journey is only one part of the equation. Another is diet, and what exactly they’re eating in conjunction with their workout regimen to achieve weight loss.

When Barry at InsideOut initially met Carol and Dave, he had them keep a journal of everything they ate and drank for a week. From this he was able to tweak their diets in collaboration with a nutritionist, and steer them toward healthier lifestyle habits. He encouraged clean eating and didn’t expect perfection right away since expecting perfection is a very quick road to failure. Instead Barry encourages honesty. With both Carol and Dave, Barry advised regulating blood sugar levels to avoid the dreaded “afternoon crash.” You know the one, when you’re reaching for a Kit Kat or box of Oreos? He also encouraged them to be mindful, not militant, about their wheat gluten, alcohol, caffeine, and refined sugar intake. [click to continue…]

Math today is no longer just 2×2=4

Math Night with Robyn Israel, co-chair of Bessborough’s School Council, and Vice-Principal Caroline Rosenbloom

Math Night with Robyn Israel, co-chair of Bessborough’s School Council, and Vice-Principal Caroline Rosenbloom

Everyone has seen movies such as “A Beautiful Mind” and “Hidden Figures” where math whizzes work out complex equations on blackboards, leaving the audience dazzled. But many people remember mathematics as being a difficult subject at school, especially with geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and calculus in the higher grades. Students today face the added challenge of EQAO testing in Grades 3, 6 and 9, and many university programs, such as business and economics, require at least one Grade 12 math credit for admission.

In response to parental concerns about the difficulty and importance of math today, Caroline Rosenbloom, the vice-principal at Bessborough Elementary and Middle School, initiated an event called “Parents Only Math Night” two years ago. Ms. Rosenbloom has an extensive background in math as she was a math instructional leader at the TDSB and an education officer for the Grade 6 EQAO Test. [click to continue…]

Food can be a great comfort in times of need. There is something about a hot, home-cooked meal that warms the belly as much as the heart. For those who are finding difficulty with shopping, commuting and cooking, a good meal often falls by the wayside in favour of something fast and easy.

East York Meals On Wheels (EYMOW) has been serving Leaside and the surrounding area since 1969 to help locals eat well. You may remember the Meals On Wheels commercials from back in the day, but many may not know that the organization is still helping neighbours today. [click to continue…]

The Flames Minor Peewee A team finished 1st in their division and won the GTHL Kraft Cup.

The Flames Minor Peewee A team finished 1st in their division and won the GTHL Kraft Cup.

Around the North York Hockey League…

The Leaside Hockey Association website states, “Leaside hockey is about more than winning and losing, it is about community.” This was very evident at the recent 27th Annual Leaside Select Invitational Tournament. With 116 teams and 2,000 athletes participating, the Leaside Arena was buzzing. And Leaside teams did do some winning, 18 of the 29 participating teams advanced to the finals, with 9 Leaside teams being crowned tournament champions. Congratulations! [click to continue…]

Leaside will have no excuse for eating unhealthy

An artist's rendering of the Leaside location of Organic Garage

An artist’s rendering of the Leaside location of Organic Garage

Leasiders were greeted in early February with news another grocery store would soon open in the area, bringing the total count to 10, including the much anticipated Whole Foods store opening at the northwest corner of Broadway and Bayview Aves.

The latest entry is Organic Garage, an Etobicoke-based company with two existing stores in Thornhill and Oakville, with a third scheduled to open in Toronto’s Junction neighbourhood sometime in March or shortly thereafter. [click to continue…]

Mental health and wellness in Leaside schools

Students of the Leaside High Mental Health & Wellness Committee. Photo By Janis Fertuck.

Students of the Leaside High Mental Health & Wellness Committee. Photo By Janis Fertuck.

The enormous success of Bell’s “Let’s Talk” Campaign is one of the most visible signs of a more open attitude toward mental health and wellness in our community and country today. But our Leaside schools are also more actively involved in bringing about a greater awareness of these issues, and in helping students to cope with them:

Leaside High

Two years ago, Leaside High School’s Assistant Curriculum Leader for Guidance, Denise Wilson, formed a Mental Health and Wellness Committee in response to an initiative of the Ministry of Education. The purpose is stopping the stigma around having a mental illness and helping students to cope with their illness. [click to continue…]

John Blickstead (left) with Maggie Lawson, who guest stars in an upcoming episode of The Great Indoors entitled “Cubicles.”

John Blickstead (left) with Maggie Lawson, who guest stars in an upcoming episode of The Great Indoors entitled “Cubicles.”

If you’re a fan of Millennial comedies, you’re sure to be watching the hit series The Great Indoors.

But maybe you’ll be even more of a fan when you learn that one of the writers on the series is none other than Leasider John Blickstead, who is now an accomplished Hollywood screenwriter. Although he works and lives in California, the writer still thinks of Leaside as home.

John was born and raised in Leaside. His family have lived in the same house on Heather Rd. all his life. Like many kids growing up in Leaside, John was a part of a number of sports leagues. He played hockey at the arena every year and softball, even though he would tell you he was an awful player. His father was even a coach for the hockey team. [click to continue…]

Jon Burnside’s winter roundup

The dog run of Sandy Bruce Park. Photo By Stan Flemming

The dog run of Sandy Bruce Park. Photo By Stan Flemming

I thought I would use this opportunity to update you on a number of issues in Leaside – a winter roundup!

The apparently dormant Smart Centre site near Wicksteed and Laird is stirring. Although this site has not been confirmed as the future home of Walmart, they are a partner in the joint venture, so it would seem to be the worst kept secret. The developer recently confirmed that much of the two-year delay was caused by a 100 sq. ft. section of land being conveyed to the City to extend Vaughan St. This contaminated soil had to be remediated and the Ministry of the Environment only recently issued approval. The developer is currently working on the final layout of the buildings and expects to submit a building permit request at the end of the year so that construction could begin in early 2018. [click to continue…]

Tipping point for heritage action?

Parkhurst Blvd.

Parkhurst Blvd.

Leaside’s streetscape and stock of character homes are under siege like never before.

Here’s what happened recently with a couple of properties which were the subject of Committee of Adjustment (CoA) applications. Both applications are to construct new two-storey dwellings with an integral garage, and the existing dwelling would be demolished. The applications are located in two of the few remaining vintage 1930-1940 era blocks untouched by new construction.

 

 

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L•E•A•S•I•D•E Then & Now

Donegall Drive Photo By Stan Flemming

Donegall Drive Photo By Stan Flemming

Thirty, even 20 years ago, when Leaside homes changed hands, the new owners might put in a new kitchen or upgrade the bathroom. Some settled for a new coat of paint. It was pretty big news if more extensive renovations were planned.

Not any more.

These days, regardless whether a house has been bought by a developer or by people who are actually going to move in, there seems to be an overwhelming desire to redesign the house completely, or demolish it totally. They buy, and then replace what was once referred to as a ‘typical Leaside house’ or bungalow with a different, much more ambitious, model. We see geometric boxes cheek-by-jowl with traditional Georgian designs, and Disney-esque turreted affairs nestled between examples of original Leaside Tudor architecture. [click to continue…]

Karli has volunteered at St. Cuthbert’s Church, tried curling and pilates for the first time and sampled craft beer at the Amsterdam brewery in her quest to try new things.

Karli has volunteered at St. Cuthbert’s Church, tried curling and pilates for the first time and sampled craft beer at the Amsterdam brewery in her quest to try new things.

From interloper to local resident, I think I’m finally starting to feel like a Leasider. The advent of this column, “I’ll Try Anything Once,” has allowed me to explore my new neighbourhood in ways I could never imagine.

First there was the pilates class at North Movement Studio. There, my awkward limbs learned the language of grace at best and humility at least. Then there was the arctic adventure of sports on ice with curling at the Leaside Curling Club. Who knew I could survive a winter sport? What fun that was! [click to continue…]