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The boys with their siblings from left to right: Josh, Tate and Jacob Golden, Will and Mike Reilly. Photo by Susan Scandiffio.

The boys with their siblings from left to right: Josh, Tate and Jacob Golden, Will and Mike Reilly. Photo by Susan Scandiffio.

June 24th, 2017. National Hockey League Draft Day. As many young hockey players paced the floor nervously or chewed on their fingernails hoping they might hear their names being called by a big league team, Leasiders Jacob Golden and Will Reilly were spending their days somewhat differently.

On that Saturday, Golden’s parents had left to take Jacob’s siblings to activities, and Jacob watched the draft alone. When he saw his name on the TV screen, he says, he was excited. Jacob’s mother, on the other hand, was more than just excited. When she returned home she immediately hung a home-made sign on the front window announcing the big news.

Meanwhile, Will Reilly was watching the same channel at his house. Not really expecting his name to be called, Will watched until he saw his friend Jacob’s name announced, then left to play golf. It was only when his phone “lit up” on the golf course that he discovered he had been selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins. [click to continue…]

Happy 65th! Leaside Memorial Community Gardens

Photo by Robin Dickie.

Photo by Robin Dickie.

The Leaside Memorial Community Gardens will be celebrating its 65th anniversary this season. Although the Gardens first opened its doors in 1951, it wasn’t until October 6, 1952 that it hosted its first hockey game. The significant legacy that the Gardens has left, and continues to carve out for itself, whether through its part in crafting championship teams, forming and solidifying friendships, or connecting and uniting the Leaside community, could not have been predicted at that first puck drop. However, that legacy is undeniable now.

When the ice was first flooded and benched seating freshly painted more than six decades ago, the facility stood on a plot of land donated by the Lea family, from whom Leaside bears its name. The building was named in honour of World War II veterans; outside the arena stands a commemorative plaque that reads: “In memory of the men of the Town of Leaside who gave their lives for their country in the second World War – 1939-1945.” [click to continue…]

Photo By Robin Dickie.

Photo By Robin Dickie.

Boxing commentator and radio personality Spider Jones will be the guest speaker at this year’s Leaside Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony and reception, organizers have announced. The 5th annual event will be held on Friday, November 17th in the William Lea Room at Leaside Arena.

Jones was an amateur boxer him-self, a three-time Golden Glove champion and is a member of the Canadian Boxing Hall of Fame. He is also a musician. [click to continue…]

Michael at Rahier Patisserie. Photo by Janis Fertuck.

Michael at Rahier Patisserie. Photo by Janis Fertuck.

Over the past four decades, Canada has become something of a hotbed of children’s books produced by Canadians. We owe much of this interest to the imaginative works of author Robert Munsch and his long-time illustrator, Michael Martchenko, who resides right here in Leaside and is often inspired by what he sees from his window.

Michael emigrated from France to Canada with his family when he was seven. Before long his artistic abilities emerged, as he responded to the bright artwork in comic books and cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tarzan and the Lone Ranger. He started copying comic book covers to study the artists’ techniques, and by Grade 9 was creating sets for school plays, producing cartoons for the school paper, and planning to take illustration at the Ontario College of Art. [click to continue…]

The Irvine Family

The Irvine Family

On a stroll through Leaside, you may have noticed a gleaming Airstream. Or perhaps you were one of those fortunate enough to catch this famous glamper’s makeover on CityLine last year.

The travel trailer belongs to Leasiders Stacy and Tim Irvine of Totum Life Science, who traverse the distance every summer to visit family in Saskatchewan.

Totum Life Science is a boutique fitness studio in Toronto, offering classes as well as nutritional counselling, physiotherapy, youth training, and more. “As owners, we felt there was a lack of adequate fitness facilities in the 1990s, which led to the formation of Totum Life Science,” Stacy tells me. “With professional health backgrounds, we were motivated to provide a more thorough approach to clients in the healthcare field. Our focus remains helping, not selling to clients, and is the foundation for what continues today.” [click to continue…]

Summerhill’s Ian Morton spearheads a new BIA for Laird MEET YOUR NEIGHBOURS

Ian Mortan

Ian Mortan

Leaside Industrial Area. Leaside Business Park. Both the same physical area, but as times change, so do names. And according to Ian Morton, the founder and executive chairman of Summerhill on Commercial Rd., there may be a new name denoting a Business Improvement Area (BIA) in the not-so-distant future.

There certainly was a time when the municipal strength of the Town of Leaside was its very healthy industrial area, with a wide range of profitable industries. But in the recent past, many of those long-established industries have moved elsewhere, with retail and residential properties replacing them, or the properties remaining vacant. [click to continue…]

Leaside students, get ready for a revolution in education!

I love the first day of school! It’s a joyous event and full of promise. Yes, there is the occasional tear, but during those first days, the anticipation of the coming year is palpable and so filled with hope. At this time I always ask: are we adequately preparing Bennington, Rolph, Bessborough, Northlea and Leaside students for the world that will be theirs as they leave school?

Children entering JK this year will enter the workforce around 2036. Is the TDSB preparing them for the skills and attributes they’ll need in an era of swift and radical change? How must schools change? It’s these big picture questions that trustees must consider, along with dealing with busing, budgets, school organization, HR issues, etc.

During the school year I have little time for reflection, but this summer I considered the words of three leaders on the future of education: Dr. Yong Zhao (renowned educator); Dr. Yuval Noah Harari (respected historian); and Sir Ken Robinson (international advisor on education in the arts). Each approached the future of education from a different perspective. [click to continue…]

Leaside’s Eco Team Goes Platinum

Vanessa Mo, Doris Du and Anna Postill in front of their Eco Team bulletin board and the Platinum Ecoschools Certificate. Photo by Janis Fertuck.

Vanessa Mo, Doris Du and Anna Postill in front of their Eco Team bulletin board and the Platinum Ecoschools Certificate. Photo by Janis Fertuck.

Leaside High School was awarded platinum certification on its Ecoschools audit this past May. Ecoschools is an Ontario program whose mandate is to certify schools that attain certain benchmarks in institutionalizing the concepts of sustainability and stewardship among their students.

After achieving gold status for two years in a row, the Eco Team and Vanessa Mo, a Grade 9 science teacher and their staff advisor, set their sights on achieving platinum status this year through adding some new initiatives to their regular annual activities.

To qualify, the team had to complete an application with 60 questions, and then accompany an auditor from Ecoschools around the school while she rated them on different aspects of their program. [click to continue…]

Meet the principals

Sandra Larosa of Rolph Road, and Barbara Sandler of Northlea.

Sandra Larosa of Rolph Road, and Barbara Sandler of Northlea. Photo by Janis Fertuck.

Throughout my 39 years as a high school teacher, the last 30 of which were spent at Leaside High, I experienced many different leadership styles. To me, the most successful at creating a positive school environment, were those who were visible, encouraged collegial involvement, and celebrated student and staff achievements.

Two of Leaside’s public elementary schools are welcoming new principals this September: Sandra Larosa at Rolph Road Public School and Barbara Sandler at Northlea Elementary and Middle School.

While both are first-time principals, they are eminently qualified, with a wealth of experience and expertise, and a passionate enthusiasm for their work. [click to continue…]

Wilket Creek Park

Wilket Creek Park, just west of Leslie St. and north of Eglinton Ave., is a favourite today for many Leaside residents who enjoy picnicking and hiking in summer and snow-shoeing and cross-country skiing in winter.

It also boasts a fine history.

By 1963, this park was described as a boys’ paradise where children could build tree-houses and hang from ropes in the water. Then, across Wilket Creek was Toronto’s only suspension bridge into Serena Gundy Park with signs “Please walk on the grass”. [click to continue…]

The Curious Idler – September 2017

Changes at Leaside United Church

The Rev. Rose Ann Vita has announced that as of August 31st, she will be leaving Leaside United with her next appointment being with the Emmanuel United Church in Brampton. Rev. Vita most recently worked to facilitate the recent merger of Leaside United and Presteign-Woodbine United. Rev. Emily Gordon will continue to lead the newly merged congregations.

Badali matriarch dies

Lena Badali, the matriarch of the “First Family” of Bayview and one of its original retailers, Badali’s Fruit Market, died in August. Lena will be sadly missed by her 5 children, 13 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. [click to continue…]

Since my August column in Leaside Life, Container Gardening- Growing up to cool us down!, I asked a few friends with condos in Leaside why so many balconies are empty. Their response? “It’s too windy, hot, dirty, noisy, a lot of work, difficult to dispose of expired plants, and repeating the same process every year is just too expensive.

All so true and yet I also know that plants can minimize these problems, too. They can buffer wind, cool your balcony, collect city dust, and muffle noise. If you plant perennials, they do even more because they save you work and money.

Right now in my back garden, I have over 50 filled containers. If they were filled with annuals a few times a year I’d be broke and exhausted. Instead, 40 are filled with “permanent” plantings of hardy evergreens and perennials that come back year after year.

For all of you with small or standard balconies that you’ve given up on, left empty or turned into bicycle storage, I’m hoping to inspire you to try a perennial container or two. [click to continue…]

Garden winners: 198 and 200 Bessborough Drive.

Garden winners: 198 and 200 Bessborough Drive.

The Leaside Garden Society, now in its 31st year, has been busy.

In June, a band of nine volunteers from the society spread out through Leaside and Bennington Heights looking for front gardens with a ‘wow!’ factor. After much thought, and among several stunning candidates, seven front gardens were selected as recipients of the 2017 “Gardens of Distinction” awards. These awards pay tribute to the loving care Leasiders provide to create interesting, beautiful, and welcoming gardens that all can enjoy viewing. You can spot the gardens by the sign in front of each one. [click to continue…]

Owner Adam Skelly

Owner Adam Skelly. Photo by Karli Vezina.

I’m standing outside 176 Wicksteed Ave., looking for Conspiracy Pizza. There is no pizza to be seen. I know it’s next to Adamson Barbecue and I’ve read about the pizzas: the ones with the heavy names and murky pasts.

The Grassy Knoll, named after the location of the suspected other shooter in the John F. Kennedy assassination plot. Egg Trails, a play on the term “chemtrails,” the theory that aircraft leave bad stuff in our air. The Day of Deceit, from the Pearl Harbour conspiracy that Roosevelt let Japan invade America. Big Parma, a play on “Big Pharma,” a term used to describe pharmaceutical industry thugs. I want to believe. The Men In Black may already have been here. Just as I was about to abort the mission, someone came to let me in. All systems go. [click to continue…]

Letters – September 2017

Hooray for the Leaside traffic officers

Wonderful to read about this fabulous group of young people and their efforts to make a difference in the traffic nightmare we are all experiencing. Can we borrow them for the corner of Southvale and Mallory Crescent?! The clever “Stop. Don’t do the ‘Leaside Slide’” sign that someone recently posted on the stop sign here seemed to have helped short term. But this major route from Bayview to Laird continues to see drivers barely stopping or sometimes ignoring the stop sign altogether. Send us the Junior Traffic Officers – please!

L. Patterson, Mallory Cres. [click to continue…]

Beware Leaside’s critter litter

Leaside has a lot of critters, both wild and domesticated, and they create a lot of unwanted litter!

Our house has an underground garage and amazingly enough there is actually room to park a car! As I was pulling out one day I noticed some insulation scattered on the garage floor. A simple fix, I thought – just sweep it up. A few days later there was even more insulation mixed with chicken bones and carrot tops, and upon closer inspection, rodent droppings. Worrisome to say the least! This time I swept it up and put out some snap traps.

We keep our green bin in the garage, and it has certainly had its share of chicken bones and carrot tops. Thinking this might be the attraction, I locked the lid shut. Then around midnight my son knocked on our bedroom door. “I hear some scratching and it sounds like it’s coming from the wall behind the cupboard.”

I bravely went down, opened the sliding glass door, then the cup-board door, hoping the critter was inside and would run out. Alas, no such luck. [click to continue…]

Red Mulberry Building

Although there was very little development in Leaside during WWI, things began to pick up in the early 1920s when Canada Wire resumed building homes for its employees, according to local historian John Naulls.

“There was other industrial activity, too, with the Durant Motors factory opening in 1921 and the completion of the CNR yards on Laird Drive,” Naulls added.

But there was also news on the retail front.

“When Mrs. Perrem heard the news that 100 homes were planned, she bought a lot at McRae and Sutherland Drives on May 30, 1922 with the idea of selling ice cream and soft drinks during the summer months,” he said. [click to continue…]

Rolph Road The Streets of Leaside

Dr. John Rolph

Dr. John Rolph

As many Leaside kids get ready to hit the books at Rolph Road Elementary School, they should take a moment to reflect on the street after which their school is named.

Rolph Road officially opened in 1938, and it then led to the naming of Rolph Road Public School, which was built on August 29, 1939, but, because of construction delays, did not open until September 29, 1939.

The school was named for Dr. John Rolph, one of the first lawyers in Upper Canada and founder of the Toronto School of Medicine. But, when Rolph Road School was built at 31 Rolph Rd., others thought it was named for Dr. Albert

H. Rolph, Medical Officer of Health for Leaside in 1913.

John Robert Rolph was born on March 4, 1795, Thornbury, England, where he studied medicine before emigrating to Canada. Here he studied law in 1821, attending court cases at Osgoode Hall in the mornings and attending his patients in the afternoons. In his saddlebags, he carried law books on one side and medical supplies on the other side of his horse. [click to continue…]

50 years later, LAPI’s only case remains unsolved

I don’t exactly recall what prompted us to establish LAPI in the beginning. It was probably a misspent childhood reading every Hardy Boys mystery my twin brother Tim and I could lay our hands on. Or perhaps it was after we’d read the official Hardy Boys Detective Handbook. Surely there was a demand for such an organization. After all, back then Leaside was a very rough neighbourhood seething with crime and intrigue. At least that’s how it seemed to a couple of 10-year-olds with over-active imaginations. So we recruited a good friend who lived down the street and the Leaside Amateur Private Investigators –or LAPI as it is still known in family lore – was born.

The first item of business was not to find a mystery to solve, a case to crack, or a crime to tackle. No. First, we needed business cards. We dug out my Mom’s electric typewriter and carefully typed out the key information we thought you might find on a detective agency business card. Then we typed it eight more times to fill up the piece of paper we’d rolled into the old Smith-Corona. Next, we used a little too much Elmer’s glue to stick the paper onto a piece of cardboard from the One-Hour Martinizing dry cleaner on Bayview. Finally, with our round-edged scissors, we carefully cut out the nine business cards. Some of them even had straight edges, and from a distance, if you had bad eyesight, actually resembled business cards. [click to continue…]

To hell with pedestrians!

An accident at Parkhurst & Bayview

An accident at Parkhurst & Bayview

That’s how I felt about people who don’t travel by car. Then the construction started for the Crosstown LRT at Bayview and Eglinton. It made me reconsider my viewpoint.

It’s funny that I would have a problem with pedestrians because anyone who knows me will tell you I’m a big walker. I like to walk everywhere. If my wife’s at The Shops at Don Mills picking up a new dress, I’ll walk through Wilket Creek and up to the mall where we’ll have a snack before heading home in the car.

It’s what I do.

But in the course of all my walking, I’ve come across a lot of really dumb pedestrians, who pay more attention to their silly little phones than remaining aware of what’s happening around them. [click to continue…]

Talbot Quads at risk

1755-1757 Bayview Ave.

1755-1757 Bayview Ave.

On August 3, 2017, the North York Committee of Adjustment deferred sine die consideration of severance and minor variance applications for the property at 1755-1757 Bayview Ave. The applicant wanted to construct a new three-storey semi-detached dwelling on two undersized lots. The existing double duplex dwelling would be demolished.

These applications would remove one of the 10 highly esteemed “Talbot quadraplexes,” intimately associated with the development of the Town of Leaside, which have existed in a prominent location on the east side of Bayview, just south of Eglinton, since the mid-1930s. [click to continue…]

Leaside, the town that never sleeps

New York City used to be called “the city that never sleeps.” That description increasingly describes Toronto, at least in the policy sense. Even in the hazy heat of summer there are always deadlines to meet, new or continuing issues to attend to, something going on.

Construction and reconstruction of roads and intersections are either underway or about to be. Local traffic issues continue throughout Leaside with the LPOA’s Traffic Committee preparing to hold more public consultation in the autumn regarding traffic calming.

Suffice to say, the summer of 2017 has not been free of official meetings, reports to analyze or write, or hearings to prepare for! [click to continue…]