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Just out of high school, our Athlete of the Year

Ayanna Badaliphoto: Allan Williams

Ayanna Badali

It’s a good thing Ayanna Badali broke her ankle when she was 13 years old. If not she might have become a hockey player and never taken up the sport where she is making a name for herself.

Instead she has become Leaside’s Athlete of the Year, just five months out of high school, named to the honour for her speed skating accomplishments by the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame. She won Ontario short track speed skating titles in 2013 and 2014, and competed for Team Ontario in the Canadian championships in Prince George, BC.

The broken ankle happened a day before hockey camp where she was to try out for a high grade competitive team. At practice she lost her footing and crashed into the boards.

The forced time-out made her and her parents think about what she could do while waiting for a new hockey season.  [click to continue…]

Leaside connects to World War I

Paul RobertPhoto: Geoff Kettel

Paul Robert

At least one Leasider, Paul Robert, Mallory Cres., answered the call back in July from the Great War Attic to share stories about what Leaside grandparents did during World War I.

At the Todmorden Mills Heritage Site early in October Robert talked about his great uncle, Paul F. McLaughlin, who enlisted in the Princess Patricia’s Infantry in 1915 and ended up in the Ypres area of Belgium. He became what was called a “bomber,” which meant that during attacks on enemy lines he carried grenades for throwing at their trenches.

In mid-June of 1916 he went missing in action. That is the only notice his family received. No remains were ever identified and nothing came from the searches, through the Swiss Red Cross, of prisoners in German camps. [click to continue…]

Mom and daughter to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Ashley and Anna HoyA Leaside mother and daughter are planning their first mountain climbing experience on the dangerous tallest free-standing mountain in the world to raise money for a new charity.

Anna and Ashley Hoy, of Parklea Dr., will start their eight-day climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania on Nov. 19 hoping to raise $5,000 for reform of the orphanage in the Nikoaranga community, where Ashley, 24, has been working since May as the marketing and fundraising co-ordinator there for The Small Things, founded in 2010 as a registered charity in the U.S. and U.K.

She’ll finish that posting on Nov. 7 in time to tackle the mountain and then return home where she will looking for another international development job.

Her mother Anna, 53, is director of operations at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management.

The summit on Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Uhuru peak, is 5,895 metres above sea level.


Putting local students and local businesses together brought Sarah’s Food Drive to a new high in its 7th year.

Sarah Jordan, 12, and her sister Claire, 8, raised 68,000 pounds for the Daily Bread Food Bank, bringing the total since the drive began to 150,000 pounds, says their mother Lynda Debono.

This year the school challenge, involving 12 schools and 6,000 students, brought in 28,000 pounds, and 20 businesses, which were part of a challenge this year for the first time, brought in 10,000. The public donated the rest.

Hampers and bags were put together at the valu-mart on Bayview on Oct. 11.

Sarah started the food drive in grade 1. The last couple of years Claire has become more involved and this year she’s been speaking about healthy foods when the sisters visit schools.

Early success for litter program

Signs of early success for Cheryl Vanderburg’s Adopt-A-Park and Leaside clean-up program, announced in Leaside Life in the September issue:

Vanderburg was out of the city for three weeks in September and October, therefore unable to do her usual daily clean-up in Trace Manes Park.

When she returned the park was clean. It’s clear her neighbours have caught her passion.

Vanderburg has also been contacting businesses where she’s found litter problems. Most, she says, have committed to reducing or eliminating the problem once they’ve been made aware of it.

And she recently received an email from a 40-year resident of North Leaside that said, “Just read of your accomplishments in Leaside Life. Maybe it was the damp summer and cool weather or more likely your efforts, but Leaside has never looked better!”

While the Adopt-a-Park program is still in the developmental stage at city hall, Vanderburg would appreciate hearing from you at 416-425-3022, or [email protected]

St. Anselm's 75th anniversaryBrightPics
When St. Anselm Catholic School opened its doors in September 1939, six-year-old Pat Caffery was there to start grade 1.

When St. Anselm marked its 75th anniversary late this past September, Caffery, now Pat Poole, was back to join in the celebrations, along with two others – Shirley Rouleaux and Joan (Sullivan) Crothers, who also attended in that first year the school was open.

“The original school building – now long gone – was just two rooms located where the playground is now,” recalls Poole. “Father Caulfield was the original pastor sent to build the first church and school. He was kind of a gruff old man, but he had his soft side – he remembered every student by name. I was at St. Anselm’s for eight years and made a lot of friends.” [click to continue…]

In our Hood – December 2014

Garden at 1 LairdAll Canadian Self-Storage at 1 Laird Dr. received this year’s honour of a non-residential facility for an exceptional landscaping effort. Hal Spradling, general manager, says, “I was on my hands and knees weeding for hours at a time.” In addition to flowers, his garden is packed with vegetables and herbs that Spradling preserves for the winter months in mason jars. Each year the Leaside Garden Society recognizes a non-residential facility that contributes to the beauty of our neighbourhood. Thanks to Don Beard and Bernice Holman for walking the streets in search of the nominees. LGS will present All Canadian Self-Storage with a certificate at the society’s November AGM. [click to continue…]

U.S. dollar saves September from a loss


September was a losing month on the markets both north and south of the border. For the first time since the Leaside Stock Index was established in February, both benchmarks were in negative territory.

The S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index Fund (XIC.TO) was down 4.8 percent while the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY) dropped 1.8 percent excluding currency. Meanwhile, the LSI managed to eke out a small gain of 0.8 percent excluding currency.

The big news in September wasn’t an individual stock but rather the U.S. dollar, which appreciated by three cents on the month.

As a result the LSI got a huge boost when it comes to the performance of its 10 American stocks which gained 1 percent excluding currency, but factoring in the exchange were up 3.8 percent in September.  [click to continue…]

Nearby Costco could be boon to Leaside business

My colleague Geoff Kettel made a well-considered argument in October’s issue outlining the reasons he feels the proposed 14,752 square metre Costco store to be built on the former premises of Coca-Cola Canada in Thorncliffe Park is a frontal assault on Leaside’s already overburdened traffic patterns.

He might be right.

But before we march down to city hall and demand planners toss this proposal in the dumpster, I believe it makes sense to examine the other side of this coin:

Could the additional 2.24 million vehicle trips Geoff says will flow into Thorncliffe Park on an annual basis (he knows his stuff so there’s no argument from me on the actual number) as a result of the new Costco, at least in part on Leaside roads, actually be beneficial to businesses both on Bayview Ave. and Laird Dr.? [click to continue…]

Little known Bennington home of a local author

A great deal is known and has been written about the old Lea and Elgie homes in our community but very few of us are aware of the story of 422 Heath St. East in Bennington Heights.

Built about 1910 or 1911 by Joseph Daniel, a stonecutter, it was occupied by him and his family until his death in 1959. Joseph Daniel was born in a log house three doors away at 428 Heath East where his daughter Josephine Daniel Lee lived with her family until 1959.

The original Daniel property consisted of three or four lots on Heath and one or two on the present Lumley Ave. An old survey shows a barn at the rear of the property. [click to continue…]

Letters – November 2014

Low flying noisy aircraft make music to my ears

Listening to aircraft flying into Pearson, I hear the sound of prosperity.

I hear Canadian business travellers returning from other parts of Canada, the U.S. or overseas.

I hear others arriving to attend conferences or to do business in the GTA and elsewhere in southern Ontario. To the economic benefit of our community.

I hear visitors arriving on holiday, to go the theatre, take in a ball game, visit Niagara Falls. For the economic good of us all.

And I hear the occasional Leaside resident returning from a beach down south, a ski hill out west or a trip to Europe.

All music to my ears.

Tony Koch
Randolph Rd. [click to continue…]

Give and take on Elgie House

The mediation has ended, the Ontario Municipal Board has approved the result and we can now announce what will happen at 262 Bessborough (the Thomas G. Elgie Farmhouse).

There will be two additional houses on the lot, and the Elgie Farmhouse will be moved some seven metres forward on the lot.

So the developer got all it asked for?

No, I don’t think so, but we need to recognize that in a mediation “everyone loses a little,” as the mediator said. There was a possibility we might have lost everything in a winner take all situation, as the OMB hearings tends to be.

There are a number of “wins” for the neighbours and the community:  [click to continue…]

The tennis conundrum

The Toronto District School Board has recently posted an open bid to the public to refurbish the tennis courts of certain schools, among them Rolph Road Public School.

Did you know?

A private company, Wilmington Tennis, is putting in a bid to create a tennis club there, on the east side of the schoolyard. It proposes to improve the tennis court and establish a clubhouse. They say it would not be a ‘classical tennis club’ which charges memberships, but people would have to pay a fee to book playing time in advance. Free play would only be allowed when there are no scheduling conflicts.

School boards are short of funds, and proposals like this one must be very tempting. [click to continue…]

Leaside Sales to Sept. 30 2014

Click to enlarge

Prices have been rising so steadily and for so long in Leaside and Bennington Heights that it’s getting almost boring.

Briefly, here is the latest good news.

Compared to the 12 months from September 2012 to the end of September 2013, the last same 12 months show an increase of 10.6 percent in all home sales through MLS.

The average selling price also rose by 8.6 percent to $1,346,440.

Comparing this past September with the last September, 24 homes sold this past month compared to 17, and prices rose 16.2 percent to $1,352,908.

Jethro Seymour is a broker at Johnston & Daniel. All figures are from the Toronto Real Estate Board’s Multiple Listing Service.

Volunteers make bike giveaway big success

The Leaside Morning Glory Cycling Club organized its first bike give-away in 2011, intending to do it every other year. But the 2013 event was so successful it was organized for this year too.

So the call went out again for bike donations for Thorncliffe Park, aiming to have 150 bikes, for the training-wheel set up to teenagers. Instead there were 165 youth presented with tuned-up bicycles, bike helmets and bike locks, and there are an additional 100 bikes being worked on by Kevin Wallace and his team at GEARS Toronto on Vanderhoof. They will be refurbished over the winter, ready for next year. Bikes not able to be refurbished will be used as parts for other bikes.

The drive was so successful because of the number of volunteers.

Michael MacEachern, a Morning Glory member and resident of Kenrae Rd., was the organizer. He had club members speak to friends and neighbours, put up posters and send out emails with requests for bikes to be delivered to GEARS before the give-away day of Oct. 5. [click to continue…]