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The biggest home for girls hockey in Ontario

Dewey-Decker Girls in hockey Jerseys

ICE CHIPS OFF THE OLD BLOCK: Karen Dewey-Decker’s three daughters, from left, Jaclyn, 10, Jordan, 14, and Megan, 12, play in a much larger Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association than their mom did some 25 years ago. Photo: Daniel Girard

Karen Dewey-Decker began her minor hockey career in the late 1980s wearing borrowed equipment. Few of her female high school friends played the game.

She was familiar with the ice from weekly public skating with their family, but that was always in figure skates.

“It wasn’t that we were deprived or that anyone was keeping it from us,” says Dewey-Decker, 45, who played two seasons of house league with the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association (TLGHA) before she graduated from high school. [click to continue…]

How we voted

Leaside voters mirrored the shift to the Liberals that saw Rob Oliphant elected in Don Valley West on Oct. 19 as part of a Liberal majority government.

Liberal support was highest in South Leaside with 57 percent, 54.6 percent in North Leaside and 50.7 percent in Bennington Heights. For the respective areas Conservative percentages were 36.4, 38.7 and 43.8.

The overall vote for Leaside plus Bennington Heights was 55.8 percent Liberal and 37.6 Conservative. The NDP got 4.2 percent in that area. [click to continue…]

A summer’s worth of litter

Here is what I’ve been up to this summer:

I’ve been holding park litterers accountable for cleaning up after themselves and holding non-residential property owners accountable for cleaning up the litter on their property.

Trace Manes has never looked better!

I hounded Leaside Atom Baseball about the deplorable state of the dugouts and bleachers after baseball games and they now leave the sports field spotless or will come by when notified to clean up. [click to continue…]

Reid Humphrey in Hockey Equipment

Photo: Ray White

Sixteen-year-old Reid Humphrey, named Leaside’s Athlete of the Year for 2015, is described by his coach, Ray White:  “In my GTHL coaching career spanning 20 years I have never witnessed a player with a better hockey IQ than Reid.”

Reid was the leading scorer in the Leaside Hockey Association for each of the past two seasons. He garnered 75 points in 36 games and was also named team MVP this past season. It was an exceptional end to a 10-year career as a Leaside Flame in the GTHL (Greater Toronto Hockey League) AA Division.

Capping off his season, Reid was named to the varsity team at Upper Canada College. [click to continue…]

Leaside churches are once again banding together, with a few others outside Leaside, to produce the Little Miracle in Your Neighbourhood.

In one day last year volunteers collected 16,000 items in a canned food drive.

The churches are Leaside Presbyterian, Leaside United, Northlea United, Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Rosedale Presbyterian, Rosedale United, St. Anselm’s, St. Augustine and St. Cuthbert’s.

They are looking for about 300 volunteers to deliver flyers on Saturday, Nov. 21 and then collect the food the next Saturday, Nov. 28. [click to continue…]

Bill Pashby has been trying for years to reestablish the connection between Leaside and Thorncliffe Park, which was part of Leaside from the 1950s for many years.

For seven year the Leaside resident has been chair of the board of the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, and before that was vice-chair. His efforts to reconnect include Flemingdon Park.

“It’s a gradual thing,” he says, and he’s started seeing good results in the last couple of years.

Probably the largest company operating out of Leaside, he says, DH Corporation, at Brentcliffe and Eglinton, is a major sponsor. Members of Leaside United Church and the Leaside Rotary (which helped send 360 kids to a summer camp)  are getting involved with efforts to help the 50,000 people who live in the two communities. More than 45 percent of those families live below the poverty line and have the largest percentage of children under 14 in any Toronto neighbourhood. [click to continue…]

From $520K to $1.4M in 10 years

Leaside Home Value IncreasesIt’s been mostly a long and happy ride for prices of homes in Leaside and Bennington Heights the last 10 years, with the average $520,496 in 2004 zooming up to $1,395,218 this year to date.

That comes with an overall 10-year average growth of 8.01 percent.

The last three years have seen a slowing down of increases, with the 2013, 2014 and 2015 (to date) averages at 2.52, 6.92 and 3.72 respectively.

There was only one bad year during the decade, with 2009 showing a decrease of 18.99 percent, but it came after a year with a 24.57 increase, and 2010 bounced back with 14.23 percent. [click to continue…]

How would you solve North Leaside traffic?

By now, most North Leaside residents should have received a traffic survey in their mailboxes.

The purpose of the survey is to start the engagement process as well as to identify residents’ greatest concerns and their enthusiasm for changing the status quo.

After studying past efforts in North Leaside and in other areas of the city, we concluded that the difference between success and failure was often directly related to the success or failure of the prior consultation process with the various affected groups who held differing opinions of the problem and the potential solutions. [click to continue…]

November will be a busy month at the OMB

November has been re-named Movember by prostate cancer fighters, but for Leaside this November is OMBovember.  Here are the scheduled hearings that involve Leaside properties.

The second pre-hearing for 146-150 Laird (the retirement home plus seniors’ condo on the site of the former Durant Motors office building) will be held Nov. 13. The applicant, VIVA Retirement Homes, appealed to the OMB before getting the city’s decision on their zoning application.

The Leaside Property Owners’ Association will be making a decision on its status at the hearing, depending on whether the city includes LPOA and residents’ issues and concerns in its Issues List. [click to continue…]

Brian McFarlane will be guest speaker

Former Hockey Night in Canada host and Peter Puck creator Brian McFarlane will be the guest speaker at the third annual Leaside Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony at the Leaside Arena Friday, Nov. 20.

“I commend you for honouring people in your community who have contributed so much and have earned the recognition you now provide,” said

McFarlane of the upcoming event. “And I’m a huge fan of George Armstrong.” [click to continue…]

When parents take advice from their kids

Parents don’t typically take advice from kids.

But 10 years ago this fall, that’s exactly what six parents did – and it has paid off handsomely ever since for all Leasiders.

The once-quishy, muddy Bessborough school playing field  –  an essential part of childhood for many Leaside youngsters  – is today a manicured field of artificial turf that gives children thousands of hours of healthful exercise and fun every year, regardless of weather. [click to continue…]

Finally, BIA has SmartCentre’s $25,000

LPOA Board Members with Cheque

From left, Grant Allardyce and Trae Zammit, BIA co-chairs, and treasurer Stephen Betts, and LPOA board members Carol Burtin Fripp, co-chair, Agnes Vermes, treasurer, and Geoff Kettel, co-chair. Photo: Will Fripp

A $25,000 cheque has been handed over to Bayview Business Improvement Area (BIA) in partial settlement from SmartCentres Corporation. The largesse was initially given to Leaside Property Owners’ Association, which fought for some money on behalf of local merchants, and held until Bayview BIA was officially formed. The money was part of the LPOA’s settlement with SmartCentres North, ending the fight against the shopping mall being built between Vanderhoof and Wicksteed. [click to continue…]

CIBC on Bayview at Millwood is one of five test sites across Canada where customers will soon be greeted in an open reception area by “digital specialists,” helped to use automated money machines for deposits and withdrawals, and assisted (or taught) to perform other banking functions, such as money transfers.

The traditional counter will be removed.

A sign in the window gave few details but told customers:

“We are building a new exciting banking experience for you.” (The number 1-800-465-2422 was posted for further information.) [click to continue…]

Leaside could use more homeless ruse creativity

Raising the Roof, a national charity dedicated to finding long-term solutions to homelessness, recently raised the ire of Leaside residents by executing arguably one of the most creative marketing campaigns by a GTA nonprofit in many years. It was designed to put the spotlight on homelessness.

Businesses in Leaside might want to duplicate the efforts of Raising the Roof and Leo Burnett, their pro bono advertising partner.

“In the week leading up to people making their decision [federal election], we wanted to make sure homelessness and housing is top of mind,” said Caitlin Boros, marketing and communications coordinator for Raising the Roof. “It was very immediate [the reaction]. People were stopped by it right away.” [click to continue…]

Stickney party raises $15,000

The fundraising event at The Leaside Pub the end of September raised $15,000 in memory of Dave Stickney.

Daryn Everett, one of the organizers, said, “Our committee is thrilled. With these funds we will be able to accomplish all of the elements that we had identified, including a scholarship fund, a park bench and memorial plaque, and possibly renaming one of our streets to Stickney Way.

“We are humbled by the generosity of the Leaside community and we look forward to sharing more details regarding our David Stickney Memorial initiatives in the coming weeks.”

Take a scale, weigh the complaints against the praise, and Lemongrass, on Bayview south of Manor Rd., which specializes in Asian fusion, is a big winner.

The only major fault, according to Cynda Fleming, Hanna Rd., and Ellen Dimitropoulos, of Rumsey Rd., was the amount of salt in their main dishes.

During their mid-day visit Fleming chose the lunch special of Thai lemongrass soup and a spicy eggplant tofu stirfry ($11.99). The last, she said, had a “lovely texture with lots of cashews that work well with the nuttiness of the tricolour rice. Sometimes those aren’t very plentiful in stirfries.” [click to continue…]

Letters – November 2015

Metrolinx is getting a bad rap

Recent issues of Leaside Life have included columns that sound an alarm bell over word that Metrolinx is acquiring land at the south-east corner of Bayview and Eglinton in connection with the proposed LRT station to be built there.

The comments drip with speculation as to a hidden agenda driven by Metrolinx in its – heretofore well concealed – alter ego as rapacious developer. They go so far as to suggest that Metrolinx and the OMB, both being provincial “agencies”, may eventually enter into cahoots to foist on the community a development of up to 20 storeys in violation of the city’s policies.

The speculation stems largely from the further news that Metrolinx will benefit financially from development activity at the enlarged site. Metrolinx has been called “duplicitous” under the circumstances. There is another way to understand the situation. [click to continue…]

The 1936 Stauntons Ltd. building

The 1936 Stauntons Ltd. building. Photo: City of Toronto Archives

There’s nothing remarkable about it. Just a typical industrial commercial block with some retail on the ground floor and a large parking lot in front.

But the site has been proposed for the largest development project in Leaside to date.

Its address (939 Eglinton East) belies its large size, extending the whole block from Eglinton to Vanderhoof, on the west side of Brentcliffe, south of Eglinton.

You know it for Nando’s Chicken, Pure Fitness, Tim Hortons, Motion Specialties and Walking on a Cloud (shoes). [click to continue…]

Where have all the flamingoes gone?

Our household has a harmless affection for pink flamingoes.

Some years ago our teenage son threatened to leave home if we didn’t remove from our garden the pink flamingo ornament we had brought back from Florida. In his maturity he is more tolerant, so there was no objection to the several dozen pink flamingoes that visited our lawn to share Liz Bliss’s most recent milestone birthday.

And it seemed like a neat idea to give half a dozen pink flamingoes to our youngest grandson to mark his sixth birthday. [click to continue…]

Why it’s hard to protect Leaside

Is our city working?  More to the point, is it working in the public interest?  Using Leaside as the test area, it’s a fair question to ask.

Toronto’s Official Plan is targeted by developers who read mid-rise and propose high-rise.  Arterial streets like Bayview, Eglinton and Laird attract the most attention, with applications for giant condominiums, retirement homes and big box stores. Rules are treated like guidelines. The Official Plan has become a mere starting point.

On Leaside’s inner residential streets, speculators buy homes and either demolish or alter them, all too often building higher or wider than regulations permit. The Committee of Adjustment has too many applications to review in too short a time; the result is that traditional Leaside streetscapes are changing, and not for the better. It takes forever to get a city inspector to note infractions, or to get a cease work order to stop illegal construction. [click to continue…]

Our churches move quickly to help refugees

Vatche & Sonia Boyadjian

Vatche & Sonia Boyadjian. Photo: Allan Williams

In my column in Leaside Life’s May issue, the topic was local support for bringing refugees into Canada. Since the photo of the body of Alan Kurdi on a beach in Turkey highlighted the plight of the Syrian refugees, it seemed a good idea to check in with this topic again.

Leaside’s churches are all actively engaged in determining how to respond to the Syrian refugee crisis. St. Augustine’s Anglican in North Leaside is the furthest along in their plans. They’re working with St. Matthew’s Anglican in Riverdale which had started a refugee support committee earlier in the year, so was already well into the process through AURA, the Anglican United Refugee Alliance. In fact, they have just learned who their family is: a mother, father and three-year-old arriving in three to five months’ time. [click to continue…]