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He died on the baseball diamond

Mr. Leaside 1943-2015

David Stickney died on Monday, May 11 of heart failure at Goulding Park in North York while at a game of the girls softball team of York Mills Collegiate Institute that he helped to coach.

He was known to some as Stick (origins obvious), and to others as Tank, from both his effectiveness at blocking home plate, and as a football lineman despite his diminutive stature. He was Mr. Stickney to the generations of Leaside High students to whom he taught math. And he was Mr. Leaside to so many others.

Several hundred friends and neighbours filled the William Lea Room at Leaside Gardens on Monday, May 18 to pay their respects.

The funeral service was to be held at Leaside United Church, Monday, May 25 (after our deadline).

How did David Stickney become Mr. Leaside?

So, how did The Stick [a.k.a. Le Baton] acquire the nickname Mr. Leaside? Let me count the ways.

David Stickney grew up in Leaside, attending local schools, as well as Leaside United Church, and participated in community baseball and hockey. Some older Leasiders might remember him delivering the newspaper or their dry cleaning from Bassett’s.

He started high school in 1957 and threw himself into every activity. He loved math and was inspired by Bill “Pops” Stafford who also coached him on Leaside’s football team. Dave, despite his relative light weight, played on the line and was given the nickname Tank, a moniker still used by his contemporaries. [click to continue…]


The annual Magical Gardens of Leaside tour is back, on Saturday, June 20. Leaside Garden Society members Margaret Rousseau and Eileen Patchett have lined up seven homes for the self-guided tour, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. On display will be a monkey puzzle tree and a needle palm. Tour tickets must be bought in advance. There will also be a flower show the same day at Leaside Library noon to 4 p.m.

Moms to be… and More at the corner of Bayview and Manor is gone, but owner Karen Becker is still around. She’s opening another store in the same location. It’s the seventh location in Canada for West Coast Kids, with similar merchandise for Moms. [click to continue…]

LSIApr302015The Leaside Stock Index’s April performance can best be described as mediocre, dropping 0.62 percent, excluding currency, and 3.3 percent including the exchange, with a good deal of the loss due to an appreciating Canadian dollar, which gained six cents against the U.S. greenback.

The LSI’s two benchmark ETFs – SPDR S&P 500 ETF and S&P/TSX Capped Composite Index Fund – by comparison gained 1.5 percent in April, excluding currency, but thanks to the Canadian dollar the benchmark ETFs saw an actual decline of 1.7 percent, half the LSI decline. [click to continue…]

Deadline to nominate someone for induction in the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame and as Leaside’s Athlete of the Year is Friday, June 5. www.LeasideSports.com. The new inductees will be announced in September.

The 2015 induction ceremony will be on Friday, Nov. 20 in the William Lea Room at Leaside Arena.

Ten inaugural inductees were honoured in 2013, including three – Peter Mahovlich Jr., Dr. Tom Pashby and Dr. Ron Taylor – who are also members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame. Four new inductees were added in 2014.

Olympic swimmer Martha McCabe was Leaside’s Athlete of the Year in 2013. Speed skater Ayanna Badali was named in 2014.

The churros are coming! The churros are coming… the churros are here in Leaside!

They started showing up in the odd spot in Toronto a few years ago. Now they’re right here at a restaurant that’s part of a big U.S. chain, the Local Public Eatery, the new place at Laird and McRae that used to be the CIBC building.

Olga Nikiforova, Millwood Rd., knows them well. Her two companions, Janice Canning, Randolph Rd., and Brenda French, Donegall Dr., were happy to share one order even though “we couldn’t quite finish our main courses,” said Canning. “And it turns out that Olga is something of a churros aficionado.” [click to continue…]

Letters – June 2015

The BIA’s efforts to improve parking issues along Bayview should not just focus on cars. Leaside is home to many cyclists (and the Leaside chapter of one of Toronto’s largest cycling clubs, Morning Glory).

Yet, despite the fact that the sidewalks were recently redone by the city, there is a serious shortage of bike racks along Bayview. [click to continue…]

South Leaside lot sells for $1,626,000

Leaside Sales by Street 2014 vs 2015

Leaside Sales by Street 2014 vs. 2015 (Click to Enlarge)

Leaside bungalows continue to set records.

A North Leaside bungalow on a 36-foot frontage sold for $1,418,000 in April, well over asking price. Another North Leaside bungalow sold for almost $100,000 more in April than a similar bungalow sold for in March.

A South Leaside storey-and-a half on a 39.9-foot frontage sold for $1,626,000, as land. There was no house inspection.

So far this year homes have been selling at an average of 6.2 percent over asking price. The highest in a multiple offer situation was 31 percent and the lowest was 19 percent below the asking price. With the historically low interest rates we are sure to see more multiple offer situations and strong demand for our rare for sale Leaside properties. [click to continue…]

A surging force fighting to save Leaside

Up in ArmsLeasiders have come out in force and in voice to a succession of community consultation meeting regarding private sector development applications in Leaside. In the past six months such meetings have included the following proposals:

  • a seven-storey seniors’ condominium and eight-storey rental retirement building at 146-150 Laird Dr.;
  • an eight-storey condominium on the west side of Bayview between Soudan and Hillsdale;
  • a proposed Costco on the Coca-Cola site north of Overlea (a meeting to consider additional parking);
  • a major development to replace and redevelop Sunnybrook Plaza with a twin-tower (19 and 13 storeys) condominium complex.

As well, applications have been submitted for two other proposals in the area: a major five-tower proposal along the west side of Brentcliffe between Eglinton and Vanderhoof and a nine-storey, 100-unit condominium at the corner of Southvale and the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens access road. Community meetings are expected to be called shortly for these two new applications. [click to continue…]

Is this on the wrong corner?

Up in ArmsSunnybrook Plaza, the first collection of stores in the city with a parking lot out in front, was opened on the northeast corner of Bayview and Eglinton in 1952. The strip plaza was a departure from the “main street” style of retail street, like Bayview, by catering to cars as much as to customers.

660 Eglinton elevationIt signaled that Leaside was “modern”, a herald of developments that in future, like Don Mills, would be car-centric, and low density suburban. Jane Pitfield in her book, Leaside, notes that it was also the last piece of Leaside to be developed.

But times change, and now, 60 years later, the planning mantra is for intensification.
If RioCan’s application is approved, Sunnybrook Plaza would be demolished and replaced with a pair of residential towers, with some retail at grade. [click to continue…]

‘Make it right-sized, not might-sized’

Sunnybrook Plaza meeting

A crowded William Lea room listened to Kate Whitehead about RioCan’s plans for Sunnybrook Plaza. Photo: South Bayview Bulldog

Kate WhiteheadMy name is Kate Whitehead. I am a mother of three and a resident of Leaside. I live on Bessborough Dr. in North Leaside.

The proposed high rise at Sunnybrook Plaza threatens the very fabric of our community. Leaside is not downtown Toronto. Anyone who has driven downtown, with all of the massive high-rise development occurring there, may have noticed the same thing I have.

The city is getting dark. As walls of condos fill in every available space in the streetscape one is left with an impression that they are driving through a tunnel. A tunnel where every building looks the same. A tunnel that blocks out the sun. [click to continue…]

A development we like, one we don’t

Up in ArmsEverywhere we look in Leaside, we are never far from a building site. We live in the midst of a construction boom. Given the rapid pace of proposed building applications for our part of the city, it’s hard not to wonder how much of what we think of as “Leaside” can survive so much development pressure.

Our neighbourhood has character and history, tree-lined streets, great houses and shopping, convenient transit, and good schools. But it’s these very attributes that attract developers whose proposals for high-rise, high-density complexes would completely change the community for the worse.

Not all building applications are too large or intrusive. Some may enhance their intended locations. In the past month, we have seen examples of both types of proposals. [click to continue…]

‘I see it as positive change’

The other sideRecently I found myself walking along the east side of Bayview just south of ReMax. A young couple and their small kids were looking across the street at the big black and white billboard attached to one of the four small bungalows on the other side of the street.

The husband suddenly said to his wife in total exasperation, “The developer wants to build a nine-storey building on that property. It’s ridiculous.”

But is it?

The hodgepodge of buildings currently on the almost 43,000-square-foot property include a 29-unit apartment building, townhouses, bungalows and several residential houses. The new proposal looks to create one unified mixed-use residential building with 172 residential units including 35 rental units (six more than in the extremely dull 3.5 storey apartment building currently at the corner of Bayview and Hillsdale) and ground floor retail. [click to continue…]

Stalag fences for our high school

How much barbed wire do we have in and around Leaside?

Not much, you would say, and you’d be mostly right. We have no prisons, livestock farms, no trenches separated by No Man’s Land. No need here for the fierce deterrence barbed wire affords.

We have lots of fences in our pleasant community, mostly wood, a few wire. We have a few No Trespassing signs and innumerable hedges. But on a quick survey it doesn’t seem that any neighbourly disagreements have resulted in anyone stringing the rough stuff.

The wood, plastic, and wire fencing protecting housing sites and endangered trees is conventional, benign, often perfunctory. Major construction sites, such as the Whole Foods complex at Broadway and Bayview, are also conventionally fenced. [click to continue…]

The old rivers that still flow below

map - underground riversThey are called lost rivers, but for many in Leaside they are a rude awakening.

The most recent of these, and on rather large scale, is the formation of what’s mischievously been called the “largest swimming pool (skating rink?) in Leaside” at the site of the SmartCentre North development on the Vanderhoof-Wicksteed block east of Laird.

It is on the path of the post-glacial Walmsley Brook, a tributary of the West Don River, and you would think that the people at SmartCentre would have known about it.

According to Lost Rivers researcher Helen Mills, Walmsley Brook (named for John Walmsley, a settler in the north Leaside area, interestingly right there north of the Lea lands) “started as two small streams near Duplex Ave. and Alexandra Blvd., which joined together west of Yonge St. and flowed southeasterly to Mt. Pleasant and Broadway. [click to continue…]

New arena board named

North York Community Council recently named the nine arena board members of Leaside Memorial Community Gardens who will be eligible to serve until the end of the current term of city council.

Reappointed are former chair Ray White and current vice-chair Elaine Snider, and current board members Cheryl Bannier and Jeff Dover. New appointees are Ann Brown, Julie Brown, Adam Gordon and Janice Ivory-Smith. Also appointed again after a decade away from the board is former member John Masterson.

Current board members Paul Burns, Charlene Kalia and Barry Samuel are retiring.

We are calling all the foodies

It isn’t a good omen when you and your husband come back from a honeymoon and get fired.

But it couldn’t have turned out better for Christine Manning and James Houston, and for Leaside.

The firing happened four years ago and the couple fortunately had a bumper crop of vegetables coming up in their garden. They decided that was the perfect time to make a start on a new business idea that they hope will draw food professionals from all over the city, and perhaps the country. [click to continue…]