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We will ask all Leasiders their opinion

939 Eglinton Proposal Technical Diagram

What do you think of this proposal for 939 Eglinton?

“Development” has become a four-letter word in Leaside.  All too often, the planning process proceeds in its official way without enough feedback from neighbourhood residents. A single city-held public consultation meeting is hardly sufficient to measure local opinion, or to identify and generate alternative suggestions.

Fortunately the Ontario legislature passed The Smart Planning Act (Bill 73) in December 2015; it requires municipalities to explain how residents’ input has been incorporated in development decisions.

The LPOA board believes that the time has come for a detailed neighbourhood-wide survey on residents’ attitudes toward development in Leaside, suggesting measures to improve, resolve, or oppose proposals. [click to continue…]

Curious Idler – February 2016

curious-idler-one-colWanna buy Second Cup?

The Second Cup on Bayview, just south of Fleming, is for “sale”. The surprise announcement was made recently via a simple card propped on the counter that read: “Enjoy the experience? Own this café!” The printed offering promised: “Together with our franchisees, we will ignite our customers’ passion for the ultimate coffee experience.” One intrigued patron made several calls to a posted number for more details (1-800-569-6318), but each time a recorded voice asked for name and phone number, and promised a reply “within 24 to 48 business hours.” Coffee shop staff had no further details.

Don’t expect to order a brandy with your coffee at Leaside’s Starbucks on Bayview any time soon. Two baristas have quashed hopeful customers’ speculation that a liquor licence was being sought. Starbucks in the U.S. is seeking licences.

Unlucky pedestrians were soaked by spray from traffic when a torrent of rainwater flooded down the north side of Millwood, between MacNaughton and Bayview, in early January. To the dismay of passersby, gushing water from the downpour was obstructed by mounds of asphalt used to seal recently-dug holes.  The pesky mounds need levelling, or more drenchings are ahead for the unwary.

The new LRT crosstown station being built at Bayview and Eglinton will be called Leaside. (The working name on plans had been Bayview.) However, the Laird station will keep its name, reported Metrolinx.

Every class to me was an inspiration,” says Maija Nummi, 81, who has just retired after running ladies’ exercise and acquafit classes at Suomi Koti Centre on Eglinton Ave. for 27 years. Maija taught exercises as a hobby in a variety of places for 60 years.

Discouragingly, after an overnight fall on Jan. 12, snow was still unshovelled in front of nine businesses on the east side of the avenue between Fleming and Millwood at 6 p.m. (Note to realtors: Three stores were empty, but law still requires frontages be cleaned.) Unsafe footing poses risks to passersby. And possible lawsuits, too.

Kudos to owners of the former Sleep Country bedding store on Bayview for quickly removing unsightly graffiti from store windows the same day it appeared.

Confessing to an old secret

Ralph Cameron

Ralph Cameron

Subject: Life in Leaside 1932-1946.

I recently found your newspaper on the internet. Leaside brings many fond memories from skating in the park at McRae and Millwood and early Sunday school at Leaside United. I remember one severe winter when I had to ski to the fire station near McRae and Millwood to get bread as all the streets were impassable.

I can tell you a secret – during the war, roughly 1944, there were frequent alerts and scares about Japanese weather balloons drifting toward eastern Canada and starting fires by using timing devices designed to drop incendiary bombs over North America.

My brother, who was a bit of an experimenter, assembled his version of a weather balloon by gluing Japanese rice paper into strips and hanging a box underneath and quite successfully launched a bogus balloon which drifted and landed somewhere about a mile north of our home. [click to continue…]

Where has the plaque gone?

Where is the plaque?The parkette at the west corner of Bessborough and Eglinton east occupies a fine vantage point with a view over the playing field at Leaside High School. In its centre sits a tree, girdled by an impressive wrought iron fence, which is the former site of a plaque, which mysteriously disappeared sometime in 2014.

Divadale resident Geoff Clark noticed it missing while on a daily walk late that year. It’s still missing, and he would like to see it put back.

But what did it commemorate? He thinks it had “something to do with Leaside as a community, maybe the Queen’s visit or East York amalgamation.” And who placed it? The province or municipality? The  town of Leaside or Borough of East York? [click to continue…]

LOL back by popular demand

Three years ago Charlene Kalia, of North Leaside, decided she was going to stop presenting Laugh Out Loud (LOL) because it had served its purpose – raising over $130,000 to help rebuild the Leaside arena.

But she was stopped, she said, by friends and customers who insisted she continue. They enjoyed it too much and appreciated helping worthy causes. The calls to continue came from Leaside and surrounding areas.

So the fundraising show goes on, but with a special focus now on which charities to help.

“I wanted to give the money to organizations small enough to feel the impact,” said Kalia.

The first year after the arena it went to New Circles, a Thorncliffe and Flemingdon Park  charity that supplies clothing and also helps high school students there get dresses and suits for their proms. [click to continue…]

Writing a book can teach you many things LEASIDE LITERATI

Larry Rose

Larry Rose

Leaside is full of authors we don’t hear much about, but would probably like to. If you have recently had a new book published, get in touch.

Leaside has been home for me for about 25 years and tucked down in the basement of our house is my little office. Like a scene out of a movie, it’s a mess. Books stacked all around, magazine articles in cardboard bank boxes on the floor and some pictures on the wall of my days as a television journalist.

My desk—well, actually, I have not seen the top of it for months, maybe years.

I used to be the producer of CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson but I retired five years ago and since then most days I work here writing.  This is also where I wrote my book Mobilize! Why Canada Was Unprepared for the Second World War, which was published in 2013.

It took me five years of research to finish the book and I had no idea if it would ever be published.  The best thing about it was that I learned so much and I met such marvellous people.

I interviewed more than 25 veterans, which may not sound like a great number but I wanted ones who had joined up before the Second World War began.  There are not many of them around. [click to continue…]

Time to meet the new Mrs. Park MEET YOUR NEIGHBOUR

Mrs. King (AKA Mrs. Park the Second) at Mrs Park's School

Mrs. Mary Dwan King, AKA Mrs. Park the Second. Photo credit: Pat Warren

On October 21, 1998 Mrs. Mary Dwan King became Mrs. Park.

No first name.

No matter. In Leaside most people never think of Mrs. Park’s first name, and haven’t since 1961.

That’s when the first Mrs. Park started Bayview Nursery. That’s another name hardly anyone thought of.

Everyone knew it as Mrs. Park’s School, a famous name then and now in Leaside.

But Mrs. Park the First (first name Joan) decided to retire and Mrs. Park the Second bought Bayview Nursery in 1998 and changed its name to Mrs. Park’s School to honour its first owner. [click to continue…]

Pool will close from mid-May to January

When the current season wraps up in mid-May, the Leaside pool will close for major repairs and not open again until probably next year.

“The work is expected to take about six months,” said Henry Stachelbeck, manager of Leaside arena. “If the work is completed on time, we’ll need a couple more weeks to fill the pool and get it ready again, so programming isn’t likely to resume until January.”

The $800,000 project has three components: repairs to the lower roof over the offices and change rooms, mechanical upgrades to the drainage system, and grading improvements to the grounds behind the pool. Funding comes from the city’s Parks and Recreation budget.

Councillor Jon Burnside said that “some of these items were identified in the city’s capital plan as long as 10 years ago.”

“The good news,” he adds, “is that city staff tell me the building is in good shape so the pool should be available to the community for many years to come.”

Fewest home sales in 10 years

The number of home sales in Leaside and Bennington Heights last year was the lowest in 10 years.

Only 162 homes traded hands in 2015 compared to the 10-year average of 220 homes per year.

December was very slow: five homes sold, only one a semi-detached.

But it was a good market for sellers: Those 162 homes last year sold on average 5 percent higher than the asking price and in 13 days.

Over the last decade there’s been an average price increase of 10.14 percent per year. [click to continue…]

SAHIL: At one point it looked dead

Leaside Life January 2016

The story of SAHIL part 2

At the end of last month’s Part 1, banks had refused to provide loans to the planners of SAHIL, at Bayview and McRae, because they were unfamiliar with the life lease program. Money was eventually found, and so were more problems. But the end was a happy success.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) eventually approved a $45,000 seed loan, and ultimately got back every penny. That loan allowed the SAHIL activists to order up planning drawings from Seppo Kanerva.

Money, however, remained the stumbling block. Deirdre Gibson, Barbara Carter, Geoff Kettel and others were hunting for financing. One loan fell through when the broker imposed a requirement that only union labour be used on the project. That would have destroyed the construction budget, according to George Knott. Backing out of the deal resulted in a $25,000 contract penalty, a bitter pill for the activists to swallow. [click to continue…]

We chose Vero Trattoria, an Italian restaurant that has been a feature on Bayview for the past seven years. My wife and I have enjoyed eating there several times over the years. Under new ownership for the past two, Vero’s quality has been maintained.

Our other critics were Nick Basaliga, who made the move to Leaside a couple of years ago and  Barbara Carter, my wife. Barbara and I have been Leasiders since 1979. In July, 2015 we sold our house and moved into SAHIL on Bayview. Nick and his wife, Barbara, are our neighbours and new friends. [click to continue…]

33 Laird plan has a serious problem

33 laird site

33 laird. Photo Credit: Geoff Kettel

The drive to re-vamp the east side of Laird Dr. for retail continues unabated. The latest is an official plan and zoning by-law amendment application for 33 Laird, at the corner with Canvarco, for which a community consultation was held Jan. 5.

In my view the major finding of the community meeting was the revelation of issues with the location that are sufficiently serious to necessitate a re-thinking of the proposal.

The testimony of businesses on Canvarco about the effect of the development, jeopardising their viability, is an extremely significant concern. [click to continue…]

We need more crossing guards

The appallingly dangerous driving practices of many travelling on Leaside roads and the corresponding concern for pedestrian safety has generated many requests to increase the number of crossing guards at busier intersections.

Staff Sgt. Moyer of 53 Division has been very supportive and once the police receive my formal request,  they will conduct a “real time” investigation, counting vehicles and pedestrians to verify that a crossing guard  is warranted.

Last spring the police carried out their site inspection at Bessborough and McRae and deemed that the traffic to pedestrian ratio was not high enough.  However, local resident Jennifer Avveduto wasn’t convinced so she asked me to put in another request in the fall. [click to continue…]

This letter writer has a good point

The Eaton Centre is open 78.5 hours a week, 52 weeks of the year. Closed only on Christmas Day, every store is open the other 364 days of the year, rain or shine.

If I want to buy my wife a nice blouse from Aritzia or J. Crew I know that Monday through Friday I’ll be able to do so between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9:30 p.m. without fail

Can you say the same about Bayview? Not a chance.

In this issue’s Letters to the Editor section a Leaside resident had some harsh words for the stores on the strip as well as for the Bayview Leaside BIA that’s tasked with improving the shopping experience there. [click to continue…]

Syrian refugee family arrivals here have started

**UPDATE: The St. Augustine refugee family arrived January 15. The St. Anselm family was to arrive January 21.

The Church of St. Augustine, on Bayview, has partnered with St. Matthew’s Church, in Riverdale, and knew that a family of four, a mother, father and two girls, ages 3 and 6 months, were on their way. A successful fundraising campaign was chaired by Peter Shepard and myriad items stashed away in cupboards and garages. To help contact Gina Davidson at adriad@rogers.com, 416 484-1874.

Organizers of the family sponsored by St. Anselm’s was reluctant to divulge information about the family before their arrival, but report that they have had a very generous response from parishioners in donations of money and all things needed to set up a home in Canada.  They also have secured accommodation.

To help: Tim Wood at gerrardwood@rogers.com. [click to continue…]