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The Pixies work their magic on Bayview

The Bayview Pixies

THE BAYVIEW PIXIES: (left to right) Kerin Frye, Helen Godfrey, Maggie Rogers, Jo Ann Davis, Debora Kuchme, Hannelore Mohring, Janis Fertuck, Erica Van Loon & Carol Smith. Photo by: Peter Tucker

Dog doo, cigarette stubs, a diaper, coffee cups, wrapping paper and an old shoe – these carelessly discarded items have given heartburn to Bayview Pixies, the volunteers trying to beautify Leaside’s main shopping area.

Pixies planted 750 plants under Bayview trees, then installed self-watering planter boxes with cedar bushes and trailing foliage.

But thoughtless people are making life hard for the “gardeners.” [click to continue…]

Kathleen Murphy, Greg Morton and son Raif.

Pictured: Kathleen Murphy, Greg Morton and son Raif. Not pictured: Sarah and Ross Wave and son Davis. We give $100 to help pay for a meal for three Leasiders at any restaurant in our area, the M4G postal code, which includes Leaside, Bennington Heights and the Leaside Business Park.

When the Beer Store at Bayview and Eglinton closed in August 2014, many Leasiders probably took their empties to the LCBO on Laird and never came back.

But as our latest group of dining critics found out, if you were one of those, you’d be missing out on some pretty good food in an interesting place.

The Beer Store beside the Metro supermarket is back, in smaller quarters, but with some of the old space now home to Tosto Quickfire Pizza Pasta, open since last November.

It is clean, bright and airy, decorated in an industrial cantina style where everything is self-serve. You order at the front, receive a buzzer and pick up your food when the order is ready. [click to continue…]

All our new developments put a strain on sewer system

As we know, Leaside is ground zero for major intensification. Every new development puts a heavy additional strain on the existing sewer system, which was already insufficient to deal with current neighbourhood usage.

At the LPOA’s July board meeting, we heard an important presentation from Debra Satok, a resident of the North York neighbourhood of Armour Heights, who has spent years investigating the causes of basement flooding. If you’ve ever had a flooded basement after a heavy rainstorm, you know just how disastrous and costly the experience can be. Insurance may or may not cover the damage and (after the deductible) some of the cost, but it never erases the experience. [click to continue…]

Put this in your calendar!

LPOA’s next board meeting is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 7th in the Trace Manes building. We will hear a deputation from Steve Diamond regarding his major development proposal for 939 Eglinton Ave. East at Brentcliffe Rd. (See Geoff Kettel’s feature on this development elsewhere in this issue.) This is the property about which the LPOA and Councillor Burnside jointly distributed a detailed survey in the spring, for your opinions and concerns. Almost 2,200 of you took part – a very strong response. [click to continue…]

This 88 year old could probably beat you

Ivar Liepins playing tennis

Ivar Liepins takes to the court at Leaside Tennis Club

Leasider Ivar Liepins is 88 and can do something many of his younger friends cannot – play tennis for two hours without difficulty, thanks to excellent reflexes and limberness.

Which is what he does twice a week at the seniors’ round robin social at Trace Manes Park, because, as the sports world says, “tennis is the game for a lifetime”.

Liepins plays with 15 others in the group, the youngest a relative youngster of 55, and he is still able to give them a run for their money.

“Many of the others,” says Pat Hynes, Trace Manes’ court supervisor, “are also doing something that a lot of their friends can’t do. It also provides them with exercise, a chance to meet socially with other members and a friendly competitive opportunity that boosts self-esteem.” [click to continue…]

Letters – September 2016

Merlin perched in Leaside

Cover Story – Meet a new neighbor

The bird in the picture of the above article is not a peregrine falcon but a merlin. My husband and I are bird watchers (very amateur), but when looking at the picture we knew the bird in it is not a peregrine.

(They usually nest on very tall buildings in TO.) We sent the pic to our zoologist friend who confirmed our suspicion. Merlin. Still pretty cool as they have also made a remarkable expansion in the last 30 years. Used to think of them as a bird of northern forests, but now they are nesting in urban areas where there are tall conifers.

Dana Armstrong,
Manor Rd. East
[click to continue…]

12 months price jump 13.5 percent REAL ESTATE

As we head back to school, we will see the usual increase in home inventory. The fall market, while a busy one, is not quite as robust as the spring. Those thinking of taking advantage of this year’s market appreciation would be advised to list their homes before the snow flies in November. We may also see a pop as foreign investors start to look beyond British Columbia due to the 15% additional land transfer tax that has recently been added by the BC provincial government.

The average price of the 188 homes sold in Leaside-Bennington Heights over the past 12 months (July 2015 – July 2016) has increased by 13.5% to $1,542,789. While the average price for detached homes is now approaching the $1.7 million mark, semi-detached homes continue to hover well over $1.1 million. [click to continue…]

Why I became a sun worshipper

Tim Short at his energy efficient home on Randolph Rd.

Tim Short at his energy efficient home on Randolph Rd.

Tim Short, 5 Randolph Rd., invites you to visit his home on Sept. 10, 9 a.m to 3 p.m., for a free sun-energy tour during the Green Energy Doors Open event.

I became personally interested in solar energy a decade ago when I first started hearing about climate change. Digging into the subject on my own, I became convinced that change was coming to all of our lives whether we believed in it or not.

Always one to be mindful of energy and water consumption (i.e. I didn’t want to pay any more than I had to!), I wanted to do even more than I was already doing. Right then, I also committed myself to sharing my learnings along the way with my family and local community. That brought me to harnessing solar energy, something that I thought many of my fellow Leasiders could also take up given the 100s of acres of asphalt-covered roofs that occupy our village. [click to continue…]

The future of Leaside? FROM THE LPOA

Readers of Leaside Life will remember that City Council made no decision, this past spring, on the redesign of Toronto’s ward boundaries. Instead, they sent the matter back to their consultants.

The controversy continues! There is no guarantee that the final map of the city will place Leaside in one ward, as opposed to splitting the community into two separate wards, with separate councillors. [click to continue…]

Anika Brophy reminds a driver near Bessborough school to slow down and stop.

Anika Brophy reminds a driver near Bessborough school toslow down and stop. Photo by: Allan Williams

It’s back to school time for the 2,000 or so students who attend one of Leaside’s five elementary schools and Anika Brophy has a message for each of them: “Walk or ride your bike to school and stay safe.”

The twelve-year-old, who lives on MacNaughton Rd. and is entering grade seven at St. Anselm’s, is part of her school’s Eco Team. The team came up with three goals last school year. The first two concerned reducing waste. “We noticed that a lot of stuff wasn’t going in the right bins, either garbage or recycling,” said Anika, “so we had a competition to try to change that. We also raised money for a water bottle filler to reduce the number of plastic bottles. In the end we cut the school’s waste in half.” [click to continue…]

This is what LBSA might have prevented

My previous column in July suggested that Leaside should come up with some kind of builders’ seal of approval as a way to ensure residents aren’t bullied by badly behaved builders who care little about the people who live here and only about lining their pockets.

The LBSA (Leaside Builders Seal of Approval), I thought, could be a combined database and ratings site that would ferret out the bad apples operating in the neighbourhood by chronicling resident experiences, both good and bad, when dealing with building contractors and the like.

Little did I know that my story would strike a little too close to home for one Leaside resident who also happens to keep the neighbourhood safe working out of Station 321 on McRae Dr. [click to continue…]

A hidden river makes RioCan change plans

Sunnybrook plaza map 2015

By: John Naulls

The Sunnybrook Plaza redevelopment proposal includes obvious planning issues, such as massing, height and shadowing, raised by a proposed residential building with twin towers of 19 and 12 storeys.

But did you know that the site also features natural heritage interest because it is part of the Lake Iroquois shoreline and it includes the (now piped) route of the Walmsley Brook, the so-called “lost river” that crosses Bayview just north of the Eglinton intersection on its way to join the Don River in Thorncliffe Park? [click to continue…]

Sci-fi right in the heart of Leaside

Terence Green

Terence Green

If you’ve been living in Leaside all your life you may know about him, but for those who haven’t been, allow me to introduce you to Terence M. Green, Randolph Rd.

Terence is an accomplished science fiction writer, with eight books published in his 40-year writing career – a huge accomplishment, and for anyone who knows about getting published, extremely difficult to achieve.

The 69-year-old author is also a devoted family man, who loves spending time with his wife and three kids in Leaside. He moved to his current home in 2002, but he would describe it as returning home to Leaside, since he lived here from 1978-1985 as well. [click to continue…]

Leaside comes out pitching for Lee Melymick

Lee Melymick throws out ceremonial first pitch

Lee Melymick throws out ceremonial first pitch at Talbot Park. Photo by: Daniel Girard

Lee Melymick has thrown many pitches but never one this inspiring.

Little more than a year since sustaining a spinal cord injury that left him paralyzed from the waist down, Melymick was back at Talbot Park, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of a Greater Toronto-Leaside Junior League baseball game between his Leaside Leafs and the Oshawa Legionaires.

“It was pretty special,” the 21-year-old said after capping the pre-game ceremony by steering his wheelchair to the mound and firing a strike on the outside corner to cheers from dozens of fans.

“It meant a lot that my team cared so much to do this.”

Lee Melymick Night at Leaside Baseball was just the latest example of the team – and community – supporting their teammate. A group of friends had the military expression “Leave No Man Behind” emblazoned on t-shirts. There were also scores of cards and letters sent to Lee to offer encouragement and inspiration. [click to continue…]


98 Parklea Drive

Buckingham Palace has taken note of the good work done by the Leaside Garden Society.

Congratulatory greetings from Her Majesty the Queen, along with messages from Governor General David Johnston, Justin Trudeau, Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Mayor John Tory are now on display in the Leaside Library where the Society holds it monthly meetings. [click to continue…]

“We wanted to take Georgia’s loss and turn it into something positive to unite the community,” says Jillian Walsh, “something to celebrate play and also celebrate her life.”

That something is the planned renovation to the children’s playground at Trace Manes Park. “Our goal is a safe and inclusive park, one that is fully fenced in, with an accessible, rubberised surface and new special-needs equipment; changing the wading pool to a splash pad and adding a shaded seating area under a trellis.” [click to continue…]

The Rev. Nick Athanasiadis of Leaside Presbyterian and the Memorial Window from the former Glebe church.

The Rev. Nick Athanasiadis of Leaside Presbyterian and the Memorial Window from the former Glebe church. Photo by: Allen Williams

When Glebe Presbyterian Church amalgamated with Leaside Presbyterian Church three years ago, it wasn’t just a sign of the times – a property-rich but cash-poor congregation with declining membership merging with another congregation in order to survive – although it was that to some extent. It was also a family reunion of sorts, with parent and child coming back together after decades apart.

The Leaside church began life in 1942 as a mission or daughter church of Glebe Presbyterian which had already been a thriving congregation for thirty years. [See excerpt from Jane Pitfield’s Leaside, published in 2000]. [click to continue…]

Student survey led to birth of LPC

Leaside, by Jane PitfieldIn the Spring of 1942, the students of Knox College, Toronto, conducted a survey of homes in the Leaside area. The official organization of a congregation began as a result of a meeting of interested people on October 28, 1942. Services of worship under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church of Canada were first held in the Bayview Theatre. Later, the congregation met in Bessborough Public School. Rev. W. T. McCrea was appointed the interim moderator and Glebe Presbyterian Church, located on the west side of Bayview, oversaw the congregation.

By December 1942, the name of Leaside Presbyterian Church was chosen. Officers and committees were appointed to organize the church and Rev. G. W. MacKay conducted worship. Mrs. MacKay and Mrs. John Fernie directed the Sunday School. In March 1943, Mr. J. C. Hay, a student of Knox College, was called to be the minister. Ordained in April 1945, Reverend Hay served his congregation for ten years. [click to continue…]

Brooke Beales in princess costume

Brooke Beales. Photo by: Chris Graham

Four-year old Brooke Beales may be Leaside’s tiniest little helper this Halloween. With the help of her mother Meredith Ashton Beales, Brooke has put together the Little Pumpkins Inaugural Halloween Kids Costume Drive for young families in need. When asked what inspired her to become a Halloween helper, Brooke said that when her mother told her there were kids without costumes, she said, “It kinda made me sad that some children don’t have any.”

Her mother Meredith added, “It’s never too early to start instilling in kids the importance of giving back to the community.” Halloween is special to the Beales family as they’ve had wonderful Halloween experiences in Leaside since moving here two years ago. Given that Brooke enjoys playing dress-up and loves Halloween, a kids’ costume drive seemed like a natural way to give back. Mom was right because Brooke is having fun and hopes to participate every year. [click to continue…]

Huge quality rating for our schools

Our neighborhood schools have a “HUGE- really huge” quality rating. And I say this not because I am partial to hyperbole like Donald Trump, but because I am a long-time trustee and I have had some unique experiences.

As former president of both the Ontario and Canadian School Boards Associations, I have visited schools across Canada and around the world. The reputations of our local schools are true. They are innovative, comprehensive and tuned-in to learning in the 21st century. Here are some small examples:

Shams Mehdi, a Leaside High School student, has been chosen from all the schools in the city (about 600) to represent students as a TDSB Student Trustee. Along with one other student, and adult trustees, he’ll debate important educational issues. It’s a tremendous accomplishment and we wish him well. [click to continue…]

At its July meeting Toronto City Council voted to approve the proposal of Leaside’s arena board to convert the existing billboard located on arena property at the intersection of Millwood and Laird to an electronic sign.

The proposal called for advertising on the southeast side only – facing away from Leaside, while the northwest side would display community-related public service messages at the discretion of the arena board, and include identifying graphics of Leaside Memorial Community Gardens. [click to continue…]

Revisions make it better, but is that enough? 939 EGLINTON DEVELOPMENT PROPOSAL

939 eglinton ave. Development proposal june 2016

Revised 939 Eglinton Ave. Development Proposal

The Diamondcorp proposal for 939 Eglinton East (at Brentcliffe), the largest development application ever in Leaside, has been revised.

The original plans for 1,500 residential units has been reduced to a now proposed 981 residential units. What would have been, four towers, two with heights of 19 and 24 storeys connected by an 8-storey mid-rise building, and two with 31 and 34 storeys, connected by an 8-storey mid-rise building is now proposed as three towers of 14, 19 and 31 storeys connected by a 9-storey podium fronting Eglinton and Brentcliffe, representing 800,000 sq. ft. of density. The south portion of the existing building is retained as commercial with the addition of a new 0.2 acre mini-park. [click to continue…]

Baghai reduces proposal by 30 percent

Shane Baghai, the developer of 3 – 5 Southvale, first submitted his proposal over one year ago for the sites immediately adjacent to Leaside Memorial Gardens. A community consultation was held by our Planning department and then . . . silence. Although this is often the case, the period of silence must have seemed unusually long. However, there were some unusual issues.

One issue related to the developer bringing a court application seeking relief involving a portion of City lands adjacent to 3 Southvale Drive. The developer was claiming a legal ownership interest on the basis of adverse possession (based on the previous owner’s use). [click to continue…]

Take a flyer on those flyers!

Lamp post near St. Anselm's Church

Lamp post near St. Anselm’s Church. Photo by: Chris Graham

One of the perks of my litter walkabouts is the opportunity to catch up with neighbours and friends. Our conversations traditionally span a wide range of topics and end, of course, with a discussion of their personal litter pet peeve.

Today I was doing my morning cleanup at the Trace Manes Children’s Park (not too bad…two Starbucks plastic iced tea cups with Mark’s name on them and a pile of dog poop by the wading pool) when I ran into a neighbour. As usual we bounced from topic to topic and finally landed on her husband’s litter pet peeve: flyers which get posted on their front yard lamp post. “The only ones I leave up are for lost dogs.”

I must admit that this is also one of my litter pet peeves. Earlier in the week, as I was removing a flyer for dog walking, I was actually approached by a woman on a bike who asked me why I was removing her poster. She said “I use it as a free way to advertise my services and build my business.” [click to continue…]

Leaside’s free spirits

Some have said that all Leasiders are law-abiding and hard-working conformists.

The evidence that presents itself in front of our house is distinctly to the contrary. Judging by what we see out our windows every day, Leaside is visited almost entirely by free spirits: free spirits of all kinds, ranging from the stupid and dangerous to this generation’s unchained avant-garde.

The stupid and dangerous free spirits are the hundreds of motorists and bicyclists who every day ignore the Stop signs at our corner of Broadway and Bessborough. This very busy intersection, processing huge volumes of traffic of all kinds, including pedestrian, is a kind of every-driver-for-herself circus, with cars turning left, turning right, turning around, heading straight through, getting stacked up and angry waiting for the Bayview lights, almost never actually coming to a full stop in the right place. [click to continue…]

Why Leaside home prices keep rising

Have you ever wondered why the price of a single family detached home in Leaside and elsewhere in Toronto is going through the roof? I often wonder whether my children and grandchildren will ever be able to afford to buy a house. I know, however, that I could never have afforded to buy the house we live in today if I had to buy at the present prices.

The real estate agents will tell us that the reason for the high prices is location, location, location. But that doesn’t explain why the price of houses in the outer suburbs are also going sky high. The bankers tell us it is all the fault of the low, low, low mortgage interest rates. That is what is driving prices up they say. [click to continue…]

Terry Fallis

Photo by: Tim Fallis

Leaside funny man Terry Fallis, author of The Best Laid Plans, will be the guest speaker at the 4th annual Leaside Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and reception on November 18th at Leaside Arena, organisers have announced.

“Terry Fallis was born and raised in Leaside, he was a Leaside hockey coach, his sons played sports here, and he’s a very funny guy, so we thought he’d be the perfect choice,” said Hall of Fame co-chair Tim Wright, of Hanna Road. “This will be a great opportunity for the community to hear him speak.” The Leaside Sports Hall of Fame was set up in 2013 to celebrate sport in Leaside. For more information and tickets visit www.LeasideSports.com.

Interested in seeing Ontario’s very best Lawn Bowlers take to the Green? Then, come on down to Talbot Park on Sept. 17th & 18th and watch 32 men and women from across the province battle to earn the title of Ontario Provincial Champion. Need more info?


Cristina DelagoIf you’ve been at Bathurst and Lawrence or at the Ferry Docks, you’ve likely seen some of Cristina Delago’s mosaic work. And come September, you’ll be able to admire her latest mosaic project at the Coxwell TTC and Toronto Parking Authority properties on the Danforth.

Cristina grew up in a small village in the Italian Alps. She came to Toronto to attend the Ontario College of Art & Design…and never left. She and her husband originally lived in Cabbagetown, but when they decided to start a family, they moved to Leaside, 27 years ago. [click to continue…]

Leaside is now cool, hip and happening

When you think cool, hip and happening, Leaside may not be the first place that springs to mind. Ossington, Corktown, Distillery District, definitely. But Leaside?

Yet that’s exactly where Leasider Adam Skelly chose to set up a barbecue business in April that is attracting notice well beyond the neighbourhood. Adam’s family are Leasiders through and through. His father owned a business in the Leaside industrial area, and Adam and his life and business partner, Alison Hunt, live just over the Leaside Bridge in East York.

“I grew up in Leaside, but it isn’t where I wanted to locate my barbecue,” says the 29-year-old. His father had offered him generous industrial space at 176 Wicksteed, but Adam had other ideas. After a year of futile searching for the perfect location, Adam decided to take his dad up on his offer.

Over the past four years Adam has grown from being a person who did some barbecuing and smoking meat in his back yard, to the co-owner with Alison of a small business, Stoke Stack BBQ Catering Company and food truck. [click to continue…]