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Ford Nation keeps Leasiders out

LPOA Mayoral Debate Oct. 7, 2014A sort-of subdued Doug Ford came to the mayoral candidates meeting in the Leaside arena Oct. 7, but his usual large band of supporters didn’t behave well.

They also took up so many seats that many Leasiders had to be turned away from the door.

That’s why the Leaside Property Owners’ Association had asked in writing that each candidate not bring a large number of followers.

But this was the Ford Nation, the same ones who appear at every candidates meeting. They made a frequent ruckus and with their clapping and shouts at the end of the meeting sounded like a Russian mob under orders.

They held aloft large Ford signs and incanted loudly, “Ford more years”.

It makes you wonder if they were paid clappers.

Ford and John Tory were at each other often during an evening of wild political promises. Olivia Chow told them to stop the bickering.

Otherwise there was one incident worth recounting.

Ford said he was all in favour of heritage and is a history buff. He loves watching the Discovery channel and reads history books.

That got a laugh from the audience.

But he didn’t get it. “I don’t know what’s funny about that,” he said.

Lost or found something?

We’ve started a new section for lost and found pets and belongings. Check it out – and let us know if you have a listing. It’s free!

Walk the wilds of Leaside

COME ON IN

walk-gageAttention South Leaside and Bennington Heights walkers, joggers, and stroller-pushers: Unlike your north-of-Eglinton ‘kin,’ you may be unaware of a nature wonderland right on North Leaside’s doorstep.

Other nearby nature walks such as the Rosedale Ravine and the Belt Line have more obvious entranceways. This one, at the very northern tip of Sutherland, at Glenvale, features two black-lantern-topped brick arches beckoning. But only the Toronto Rehab or Lyndhurst Centre seemingly lie beyond.

Not so. Hang a right past the arches and your journey begins.

Take the paved path past the car-gate or cut across the sprawling lawn studded with pine. You’ll soon come to a blue Dogs Must Be Kept on Leash sign near a pile of loose stones. Go past the open iron gate and you’ll find yourself on a paved no-cars-allowed road that winds rather steeply downward, affording a bracing view of a forested sheer drop, at the bottom of which you might make out romping dogs. More on that shortly.  [click to continue…]

Four new inductees

Leaside Sports Hall of Fame

Leaside Hall of Fame logoFour new 2014 inductees to the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame will be honoured at a reception at Leaside Gardens on Nov. 21.

The four are Jack Caffery who played in the NHL for the Leafs and Bruins, Joe Krol who won five Grey Cups with the Toronto Argonauts, Christine Pellerin of the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association and Dr. Sidney Soanes, a founding member of the Leaside Skating Club.

“There seems to be no end of athletic talent in Leaside past and present,” said Professor Michael Bliss, community advisor on the selection committee, “and in future the job of our selection committee is only going to get harder.”

Tickets for the induction ceremony and reception will be available through any of Leaside’s sports clubs and associations, and at the arena for $25 each. [click to continue…]

In our Hood – October, 2014

The community welcomes its 14th annual Bayview Art Tour and Sale Oct. 4, and 5, featuring the work of different artists in different venues. Leaside locations incude 53 Aidrie, 109 Rumsey, 19 Kenrae, 51 Laird and 1 Laird (All Canadian Self- Storage with several artists on display). One of this year’s participants, Linda Lundstrom, is no stranger to Leasiders. For many years a resident of Bennington Heights, Lundstrom’s original head office and factory used to be in the Business Park. After reinventing her company in 2010, Lundstrom now focuses on natural fabrics, linens, leather and furs. “I’m having a ball,” she says, noting that her design philosophy today celebrates the Japanese idea of “imperfections as beauty,” known as Wabi Sabi.

The newly renovated Sobeys on Laird Dr. “re-opened” with fanfare mid September, expanding by 10,514 sq. ft into the space formerly occupied by the LCBO. A highlight of the morning was the presentation of over-sized gift cards to both the North York and Daily Bread Food Banks. Originally from Cape Breton, store manager Joe Hastie was on hand with his Maritime charm to greet well-wishers.  [click to continue…]

Who knew? Little Free Library all over

Little did we know when we put a short article and photo of the Little Free Library on Southvale Dr. in our September issue of Leaside Life that it was not alone. In fact, there are at least six more similar libraries scattered around Leaside.

It appears that Leaside’s original library, attached to a picket fence in the front yard of the Barb and James Mason house on Donlea Dr. has been there for several years. It’s in the block between Rumsey and Hanna and when I was checking  held 14 books.

That library was the inspiration for the Thursfield library, which has been up for about a month. Mary Edwards had also looked at the Little Free Library website, and was enthusiastic about continuing this concept, especially since her daughter Kate, who had always enjoyed reading, is now the associate director of the Association of Canadian Publishers.  [click to continue…]

Sue Barrett, Param Ratna and Jeff Hohner

Sue Barrett, Param Ratna and Jeff Hohner

Once upon a time, back in 1940,  there was a restaurant called The Leaside Tea Room. It was the first commercial building on Laird.

Over the years many more commercial businesses have appeared on the street, but few would have as interesting a history.

The Tea Room (where you couldn’t buy liquor) became Leaside Restaurant and Tavern and then Fox and Fiddle, before becoming The Leaside Pub (where you can buy tea) this past June, thanks to three people who met at Bessborough School’s Mayfair several years ago and developed a dream.

The first of the three was Param Ratna, the franchise owner of the Fox and Fiddle at the corner of Laird and McRae. He was a generous donor for the event’s BBQ.  [click to continue…]

Sarah wins Me to We

Sarah Jordan, the 11-year-old who started Sarah’s Food Drive five years ago in Leaside, has beaten two other young Canadians to win the Canadian Living magazine’s 10th annual Me to We award in the Youth in Action category (under 12).

Six awards are given by Canadian Living  to individuals who have worked hard to make a difference in their neighbourhoods and the world. Last year Sarah, a student at Northlea, spearheaded the annual drive that raised 27,000 kilograms.

100 years old!

Long-time Leaside resident George Hart will enjoy his 100th birthday party on Oct. 15 with his six children, one coming from China and another from the Canary Islands.

He moved to Rumsey Rd. in Leaside from Montreal in 1975 when he became executive director of the Social Planning Council of Toronto. In 2010 he moved into SAHIL (Stay At Home In Leaside) at Bayview and McRae, where the party will be held.

The Leaside Gang that made Canada Happy

The Happy GangDuring the 1940s when I came home from school for lunch our radio would always be tuned to CBL. After the BBC news “direct from London,” and the Farm and Home broadcast, the Dominion Observatory in Ottawa would intone:  “At the beginning of the long dash the time will be exactly one o’clock.”

Immediately after the long dash we heard, “Knock, knock – who’s there? It’s the Happy Gang. Well, come on in.”

Then the gang would burst into song:

“It’s the Happy Gang with the boys and Kay Stokes. We hope you’ll like our music and our songs and our jokes – yuk, yuk, yuk. Keep happy with the Happy Gang, keep happy, start your day with a bang. ‘Cause if you’re happy and healthy the heck with being wealthy so get happy with the Happy Gang – la, la, la.” That was the opening number for their radio program which was broadcast five days a week coast to coast in Canada on the CBC. [click to continue…]

Summer’s come and gone; three-quarters of the year is already in the books. Fear not because the Leaside Stock Index is just getting started. August saw the LSI deliver its biggest gain of 2014 thanks to Burger King’s (BKW) $12.5 billion offer to acquire Tim Hortons (THI.TO).

The offer, which calls for $65.50 in cash plus 0.8025 common shares in the soon-to-be-merged company pushed Timmy’s stock up 44 percent in a single month providing more than a few double doubles for its shareholders. It’s too bad the LSI is only a hypothetical portfolio. These kind of quick strikes don’t come around very often. Kudos for anyone holding its stock. You’ve done well.

So, let’s forget about reality for a second and think about what should be done with the LSI’s position in Timmy’s? I have three options: [click to continue…]

Leaside Home Sales to Aug. 31, 2014

Click to enlarge

Summer doldrums had little effect on house prices in Leaside and Bennington Heights this year, according to MLS figures. Comparing this past August with August 2013, the average price increased by 10.3 percent to $1,409,346. There were also 13 homes sold that month, compared to nine the year before.

Only one semi-detached home sold in August this year, but for just shy of a million dollars, $987,000.

The value of 2014’s year-to-date 139 detached homes was up slightly by 1.9 percent to $1,469.806. Only 114 detached homes were sold in the first eight months of 2013.

The 27 semi-detached homes sold saw a 28.9 percent decrease in sales activity but a 14.3 percent gain in average value through to the end of August.

For the current last 12 months of August 2013 to August 2014, compared to the same period the previous 12 months, semi-detached home sales were down 9.1 percent but the average price rose by 11.6 percent to $822,721.

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

Ward 26 – Candidates answer questions

1. Many Leaside residents are forced to leave their homes because of property tax hikes. What do you think of freezing their rates?

Jon Burnside
Tax relief that relates to one’s level of income should only be undertaken by the levels of government that collect income based taxes. Given the massive capital demands of projects (i.e. public transit and upgrading our aging infrastructure), I’m not in favour of any property tax freezes at this time.

John Parker
The City of Toronto has comprehensive and generous policies in place now that provide tax and water bill deferrals, rebates, and in some cases outright exemptions  to low income seniors and persons with disabilities. I fully support retaining these policies and reviewing/updating the applicable thresholds regularly.

David Sparrow
A plan to freeze tax rates for seniors on lower fixed incomes is something I would welcome, along with better, more affordable homecare options and more assisted living spaces to allow residents to age in places in the communities they know and love. [click to continue…]

The changing inside face of the industrial park

28 IndustrialThe industrial area east of Laird has undergone changes in recent years that have resulted in a mix of tenants different from the norm, most of which probably wouldn’t have existed 25 years ago among a bunch of messy industries, but do now because of the movement to more of a mixed-use neighbourhood.

Originally this column was to provide information on some of these businesses. But then I visited 28 Industrial St., a massively long and narrow two-storey warehouse/ loft smack dab between Kreitmaker, a supplier of concrete mix, to the south, and to the north Apco Industries Co. Limited, which supplies oils to metalworkers, etc., and I knew I had to write about this building and the people within its walls; everything else could wait. [click to continue…]

Update on Cheryl’s litter-free progress

Last month we featured Rumsey Rd. resident Cheryl Vanderburg’s one-woman crusade to clean up Leaside.

This month we start updates about the Adopt-a-Park/Roadway program being set up in conjunction with the city.

Here are some interesting notes from Vanderburg’s email she sent us in September:

“The article has certainly started a dialogue. I have three volunteers: Audrey MacKinnon, who lives on Randolph Rd., my husband Doug Harris, and Jeff Walker of Donegall Dr. There’s been interest from the Leaside Garden Society about refurbishing Trace Manes with new furniture, flower beds, etc.

The permit holders at Trace Manes (Pedalheads and baseball teams) have been contacted and are leaving the field pristine. The Boy Scouts have committed to leaving their Christmas tree site clean.  [click to continue…]

Why Costco would be a big headache

The death of Georgia Walsh was a wakeup call to all Leasiders. The Slow Down Kids At Play signs hit a chord in Leaside and demand for these signs has “gone viral” with demand from across the city. City council has approved a “no right turn on red” at McRae and Millwood, and has requested staff to report back to the next meeting on several legislative measures, like a reduction in speed limits on local roads in Leaside from 40 kmph to 30 kmph.

These are good measures but we need to take a larger perspective, and ask, “What is causing the traffic in the first place?” People are going “somewhere,” whether to work, to shop, or for other reasons.

The Eglinton Crosstown will eventually help with travel to work, but in the meantime drivers seeking an alternative route to Eglinton will increase traffic in our community for years. The travel to shop issue is affecting Leaside big time and is the only one that the city could affect if there is a determination to do so.  [click to continue…]

Spooky contest back again

It’s back!

The second Leaside Halloween Home Decorating Contest begins Oct.18. Visit www.halloweencontest.org for contest details.

People whose spooky creativity had entertained their neighbourhood for years appreciated the online recognition. The winners enjoyed prizes like tickets to a Leafs’ game, dinners for two in local restaurants, gourmet pies and artisan jewellery.

This year you can nominate a neighbour, enter your own efforts and vote on the site. There will be prizes again.


I had never attended a high school reunion. When asked to do a presentation on their era at Leaside High for the class of 59 Reunion I was both honoured and curious. I wore a plaid jacket to honour the Scottish fiefdom of founding Principal Norman McLeod. [click to continue…]

Four Seasons sold

The property at the corner of Laird Dr. and Wicksteed, Four Seasons Auto Collision at 199 Laird, has been sold.

Pat Ricci, a member of the family that own the property, won’t disclose the name of the buyer or the price until the sale closes Oct. 8.

SmartCentre, owner of the adjacent property now being developed, says it is not the new owner.

The Ricci family has operated the company since 1964.