“Bayview is in a recession and is heading for a depression. Unless Leasiders shop regularly on this street, it will be gone, and soon.” That is the grim forecast of Nancy Penny, owner of Absolute Beauty, a skin-care salon on Bayview Ave.
Penny has operated her business for over 34 years and has watched at least seven stores close over the past year, including most recently the restaurant Chai, Yeh! and The Mad Italian. She predicts many more will follow.
“Bayview used to be prestigious, now it’s not. I have never in my life seen the lack of people on the street.”
She particularly mourns the loss of boutique stores. “The more the interesting little stores go, the more people come at night. There are simply fewer people during the day.”
Penny attributes the business failures primarily to high rents. “The landlords are greedy. What people don’t realize is that tenants must pay for everything on the buildings. That includes property taxes, carrying costs and insurance. In the end, our profit margin is virtually non-existent.” Read more…
Sheila Lacroix of McRae Dr. has been chosen winner of this year’s Agnes Macphail Award.
She has a long history of service in the Canadian Federation of University Women Leaside-East York (CFUW-LEY), the Legislation Standing committee of the CFUW Ontario Council, Leaside United Church and the Centre for Addiction & Mental Health.
During her years of volunteering she concentrated on topics ranging from cyber-bullying, women in the boardroom and Ontario immigration strategy.
At Leaside United, council chair Graham Lute said she was “THE advocate for pastoral care, visitation and caring for the needs of others – in particular our youth and seniors. [This] took great courage on Sheila’s part and her advocacy was rewarded with a strong pastoral care program that was the envy and a true ‘Best Practices’ example for the United Church as a whole.” Read more…
Jean-Guy Sauriol with his wife Lucie Cossette and son Jean-Christophe.
Jean-Guy Sauriol moved into the Kilgour Estates about a year ago with the aim of doing something no one else in the world had done.
On Feb. 6 he did it: He became the oldest person to cross the Atlantic Ocean as a solo rower.
He started the trip on Nov. 23 in the Canary Islands with 4,828 kilometres ahead of him to Barbados, hoping to get there in 75 days. He made it in 74 days and three hours, a little after 3 p.m.
He had turned 60 on Dec. 31. That made Sauriol, born in Montreal, the oldest of two other Canadian solo rowers, and the fastest. Read more…
Veteran Trace Manes rink volunteers, from left, Neil Anderson, Al Keskikyla and Gary
The outdoor rink at Trace Manes Park has had a great run this winter after two years when the weather didn’t co-operate.
“With the right conditions the rink could still be in operation until the first or even second week of March,” says Gary Rollerson, one of the team of volunteers that looks after cleaning and flooding the rink over the winter.
But compared to the good old days, signs of declining interest are evident. Read more…
Photis Philos presents Sylvia Crossley with her Movado watch.
Sylvia Crossley says ,“I never enter contests.” Except she did for the Movado Valentine’s women’s watch raffled off at Bell Jewellers, of Bayview, on Feb. 10, and she won.
She entered, she said, because “I wanted to show my support for business owners in this community.”
A supply teacher, and a resident of St. Cuthbert’s Rd. in Leaside since 1988, Crossley was picked out of 88 entries at the draw by Photis Philos at Bell Jewellers.
I have recently begun a review of a 1990 Metro Toronto report on a proposal to extend Leslie St., widen the Bayview Extension and link the south end of the resulting roadway to Bloor St.
The proposal will be familiar to many Leaside residents. The report ranked the proposal as the most favourable of several options under consideration at the time for improving transportation conditions within what was defined as the Don Valley corridor. Read more…
As does everyone, Leaside author Jeff Walker likes sex. And he likes the Beatles. Fortunately for readers, he likes them together.
Walker, 61, has composed a rollicking tale of the seedy, often sad, yet always titillating behind-the-scenes erotic adventures and misadventures of the fab four entitled Sex and the Beatles (SomethingNow Publications, Toronto).
Told in a series of anecdotes, the book traces the Beatles’ sexual exploits as mop-top rockers playing nightclubs in Hamburg, Germany, to their struggles to keep their marriages intact as rich, middle-aged superstars, each pursuing his own creative path musically.
“These guys were sexually decadent in the extreme,” says Walker, whose interest in the group began in 1964 during their first North American tour, “and the extent to which they were motivated from the get-go by the availability of casual sex with groupies was a revelation to me.” Read more…
First the bad news: First two stocks did badly
RioCan (REI-UN.TO) and First Capital Realty (FCR.TO) are two of Canada’s largest real estate owners. Together they own 362,000 square feet of Leaside retail and office space including Leaside Village, 1670 Bayview, 180 Laird, RioCan Leaside, Sunnybrook Plaza and 1860 Bayview, home of a future Whole Foods store. As you can see they’ve got their hands in a lot of pies.
If you shop at any of these locations you’re directly contributing to their financial success. Following my “everyday investing” mantra, you might want to get some of that back by owning one of their stocks. Should you own both? You could. However, for the purposes of this article I’m going to tell you which of the two I think is the better stock to own. In the long-term they both make good investments. Read more…
This month at the library
- Memories of Leaside Revisited: Share your memories of people and places in Leaside. Bring any photos, memorabilia, questions or stories. Guest speakers: Karen Fraser, Fred King and John Naulls. Wed., March 19, 2-4 p.m.
- Layers of Leaside Exhibit: Encore presentation by the Leaside 100 committee. March 19-March 22 in the community room.
- Monday Afternoon Book Club: Books Made Into Movies. Discussion on suggested titles. No registration required. Mon., March 24, 2-3 p.m. Read more…
Leaside-Bennington Heights January home sales on MLS continued to trend upward in 2014. Here is a 12- month look at the current averages, up to Jan. 31.
Sales volumes changes
- All homes – up 9.6 percent, to 206 sales.
- Detached homes – up 3.3 percent, to 155 sales.
- Semi-detached homes – up 35.3 percent, to 46 sales.
Dollar value changes
- All homes – up 5.2 percent, to $1,275,817.
- Detached homes – up 7.7 percent, to $1,445,143.
- Semi-detached homes – up 5.8 percent, to $751,910. Read more…
Leaside Life columnist Karen Fraser, local history buff John Naulls and Fred King, a former resident whose father owned a variety store here, want to hear your memories and see your photos and memorabilia of Leaside at the library Wednesday, March 19.
They will be speakers on the returning date of the popular Layers of Leaside exhibit created last year during our 100th anniversary celebrations. It will be on display again until March 22.
The meeting will be in the library’s community room. It is part of the East York Historical Society’s five annual afternoon Show and Tell discussions throughout the year. Starting time 2 p.m
Councillor John Parker wrote in the last Leaside Life about the importance of planting the right trees in the aftermath of the December ice storm. It was a good start, but….
He is indeed correct that not all trees are created equal, but the trees he lists as having suffered the most serious damage are almost all weed trees, ones you won’t find in any nursery and that simply “volunteered.” Read more…
Local realtor Charlene Kalia is offering free tree seedlings to help restore Leaside’s tree canopy. firstname.lastname@example.org
A few issues ago, Lorna Krawchuk reminisced about rain water running down the basement staircase of the old Leaside Library and flooding the community room.
The mention of that room stirred a pleasant memory in me of weekly dances held there in the late ‘50s, and it had a soundtrack, Conway Twitty snarling It’s Only Make Believe.
When we opened the community room doors they revealed a wide staircase, visible from many directions, leading down to the white-tiled dance floor. Cool guys used this to make dramatic entrances. Read more…
Unlike my colleague Will Ashworth, I do not think that Bayview Ave. business owners are primarily to blame for the recent closing of several stores on their street.
Rather, they are victims of the over-development of retail centres on Laird Dr. These centres emerged as a direct consequence of the city’s planning policy to allow these former industrial lands to be converted into commercial areas.
Notably, the official plan allows for large-scale retail on the edges of employment areas, but only “if sufficient transportation capacity is available to accommodate the extra traffic generated by the development and the economic health of nearby shopping districts is not adversely affected.” Read more…
Bayview’s problems are of its own making. In fact, it’s a lot like an alcoholic. Until it admits it has a problem, stores will continue to close, perhaps in record numbers.
While it’s convenient to blame First Capital Realty, SmartCentres and all the other real estate people looking to develop the outskirts of the Leaside industrial area, honest reflection will show that blame lies within.
The scuttlebutt on the street is that in addition to the stores closed there are a number of shops currently open that are suffering like they’ve never suffered before.
Geoff Kettel would like you to believe there are external factors at work here, including a lack of parking, and high rents. If this is true, how do you explain the tremendous success of both Mom’s to be… and More, and Hollywood Gelato, two of the more popular stops along Bayview? Read more…
Meet your neighbour
Darryl Bunt was born, raised, lives and works in Leaside. His family home on Donegall Dr. is the same house that his grandparents lived in for 30 years.
But this 27-year-old will leave behind what he describes as the “comfortable and safe community” of Leaside this spring to travel with a service team to Tegucigalpa, Honduras where he’ll work for a week as a volunteer at an orphanage for abandoned children.
“A typical day,” says Bunt, “includes… doing manual labour, perhaps digging a trench or painting a building.”
He points out that they don’t have big equipment there, like here, and “digging a trench means using shovels”, he says. Read more…
Brian Domelle, the Canadian Tire franchisee at 825 Eglinton East, retired Feb. 12 after 37 years as a dealer, the last 17 in the Leaside Centre at Laird and Eglinton. Taking over from Domelle is Stephen Grand, currently the Canadian Tire dealer for its store at Sheppard and McCowan in Scarborough. Many factors weighed into Domelle’s decision including age (66), the fire that destroyed its garden centre in September 2012, the Walmart rumoured to be opening in SmartCentre’s new development, the opportunity to do something different and the impending LRT construction. Individually none of these factors made up his mind but when taken collectively they were enough to send him off into retirement. Read more…
Leaside Life welcomes Patricia Phenix as editor.
She was born and raised in Leaside and is the author of three published books: Olga Romanov: Russia’s Last Grand Duchess, Penguin Books Canada, 1999 (a national bestseller); Eatonians: The Story of the Family Behind the Family, McClelland & Stewart, 2002; and Private Demons: The Tragic Personal Life of John A. Macdonald, McClelland & Stewart, 2006.
She has worked extensively as a writer and editor, and has had articles published in such publications as The Globe and Mail, the Ottawa Citizen, Flare, and The Dorchester Review. Her experience includes acting as the national publications manager of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.
Most recently Phenix completed a six-year term as a citizenship judge with the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism.
The corner of Laird and Millwood during the 1985 mud slide.
Last December we suffered through a horrific ice storm followed by a deep freeze. Almost everyone was without power and heat for an extended period of time. It was an experience we are not likely to forget and yet how many of us can remember the other severe ice storms of 1959, 1960, 1961 and 1968?
That’s not really surprising if you weren’t born then. But it is surprising just how few long time Leaside residents remember much if anything about the time our telephone service was cut off in 1985. Read more…
A challenge to debate Leaside development
Bob Murphy may not live in Leaside but if home is where the heart is Bob’s home is definitely right here. It has been that way since he played baseball years ago at Talbot Park. While playing with Leaside kids at Talbot he came to understand and to share our feelings about this community and our desire to preserve its physical character. Bob Murphy still understands and shares those values with us. ~ Allan Redway, McRae Dr.
Will Ashworth has it all wrong.
To start with Yonge and Eglinton, there are more than 500 floors of condos in the process. The Yonge subway is beyond capacity. There isn’t space on local streets or in local schools.
The downtown relief line is at least 15 years off and before that an LRT will dump more riders on the Yonge line.
It makes one wonder what it is our planners are doing that actually involves planning.
Commuters will find a way, short of turn restrictions that will diminish the access of Leasiders to their own homes, to shortcut on Leaside streets not only during LRT construction, but also after the planners have put in the bicycle lanes recommended in the Eglinton Connects report.
The Big Move, at Section 1.4, cites climate change, at 1.3 it cites gridlock. But there is nothing in the Big Move to estimate the tonnage of emissions to be poured into the environment because the ideological planners are hell-bent to build a midtown LRT without making suburban transit improvements preparatory to Eglinton. Read more…
Councillor John Parker knows he took some heat for not simply opposing the SmartCentre North development proposal, as some Leaside residents wanted him to do. And he knows others might have handled the issue differently.
“Some councillors paint every developer as evil and pledge to fight them every step of the way. That may be the best way to get the crowd behind you,” he says, “but it’s not how you get the best result.”
The proof, Parker suggests, is in the record produced at the Ontario Municipal Board.
“The reason so many developers are successful at the OMB is because their application is initially dealt with on a political basis and that generates a result that doesn’t stand up under scrutiny. The room for political decision-making is limited to aspects that are not prescribed in the Official Plan. Read more…
The Leaside Lancerettes 1974-75: Back row:
Lisa Ritchie, Anne McGrath, Lynn Gilchrist. Middle row: Brian McGroarty, Christina Harron,
Wendy Tunnicliffe, Megan Paul, Lynn Daly, Dave Yarlett. Front row:
Barbara Edwards, Nancy Mallabon, Ann Brown, Janice Christensen,
Betty Ann Armstrong, Shirley Sheppard.
The uniform is blue and white, the number on the back of the jersey is 10, but the player on the women’s hockey team obviously isn’t George Armstrong, one-time captain of the Toronto Maple Leafs.
There is a relationship though.
Betty Ann Armstrong is George’s daughter and the Leaside resident loves hockey as much as her dad and her three brothers, even though she had a harder time getting to play.
Her father didn’t push his three sons into hockey, but didn’t object. With his daughter, however, he didn’t feel at first that hockey was a woman’s sport.She was envious when Brian, Fred and Lorne played for the Leaside Kings. But there was nothing for girls at that time. Read more…
The William Lea Room was well-filled and everyone was well-behaved. Quite a different atmosphere on Jan. 27 compared with the Jan. 8 public meeting about the proposed development for 220 McRae and 327-329 Sutherland Dr. that was cancelled amid allegations that the proposal had changed and was not the one described in the flyer.
This time audience comments were well-tempered but firm – while townhouses were allowed, the concern was that these did not look like townhouses – rather the eight-unit block looked more like a four-storey apartment building. Read more…
Short term pain for long term gain.
That’s what we face as construction for the Eglinton LRT reaches Leaside. While some of the pain will last only for brief periods, there will still be lengthy disruptions. For the next few years LRT tunnel-boring and station construction will be a constant presence. We will all be affected one way or another, whether we live close to the route or not.
The really big issue for residents will be traffic diverting away from Eglinton and onto our residential streets. Read more…
It was a treat to read the comments of my friend and neighbour Michael Stevenson in last month’s Leaside Life. They reflected his unsurpassed passion for Howard Talbot Park and his determination to keep the pressure on me to implement effective measures to improve the condition of its playing fields.
I have written on this matter myself in past issues. I have discussed the condition of the fields at length with Michael – most often in chance encounters on the street – and have been part of at least one formal community meeting involving parks staff and him at which needs, objectives, and strategies were canvassed. Read more…
In the two years that our paper has been in publication, we have received many letters in response to our writers’ and columnists’ articles.
These include critiques on development issues affecting both Leaside and Bennington Heights, such as the construction of the LRT, condomium buildings, and the creation of large shopping centres. We’ve been accused of not taking stands on issues, most notably on the proposed development for Brentcliffe and Eglinton. Read more…