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Making beautiful music together for 30 years

Mitch Bondy & Northlea Choir

Northlea Junior Choir (grades 5 and 6) with conductor and music teacher Mitch Bondy perform one of their many annual concerts at Northlea United Church.

He has been called “one of the greatest music educators of our time” by Jean Ashworth Bartle, founder and conductor laureate of the Toronto Children’s Chorus, one of several high profile supporters nominating him for an Order of Ontario.

In his 30 years at Northlea Mitch Bondy has continually won awards for the elementary and middle school’s choirs.

Unfortunately this is the last school year for Bondy at Northlea. He is retiring.  [click to continue…]

New plan for 284 apartments on Laird Dr.

A rezoning application for two buildings with a total of 284 apartments on the west side of 146-150 Laird Dr., between McRae Dr. and Markham Ave., has been submitted to the city.

City planner Guy Matthew says the application was filed by of Bousfields Inc., a Toronto-based land-use planning firm, on behalf of Viva Retirement Communities, a Canadian-owned and operated company with five locations currently open and a sixth on the way.

Its application calls for two mid-rise buildings with almost 24,000 square metres of gross floor area.  [click to continue…]

WWI — what did your grandmother do?

Toronto’s Museums and Heritage Services wants to know what your grandma or great grandma did in World War I.

Maybe she worked in the Leaside Munitions plant. Or maybe you have a great grandparent or great uncle or aunt who also worked for Leaside Munitions, a branch of Canada Wire and Cable.

Leaside was newly established as a municipality and the Canadian Northern Railway was in trouble with the advent of World War I in 1914. Canada Wire and Cable (which was incorporated in 1911), through Leaside Munitions, became the largest manufacturer of ammunition in North America. Leaside was an important industrial contributor to the Allied war effort. [click to continue…]

In our Hood – July 2014

100 years young. A big happy birthday to Bertha Armstrong, who turned 100 this May. Mrs. Armstrong still lives in her house on Randolph Rd. (she’s the original owner) where she and her husband raised two children, Jim and Judy. Judy, who lives on Mallory, tells us that her mother loves to attend to her garden and care for her cats, Emily and Ebony.  Happy Birthday!

Prominent Canadian poet and Leaside resident July 2014 was one of three writers short-listed for the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize. Awarded June 4 in front of 1,000 attendees, the prize is the world’s richest “for a first edition single collection of poetry” in terms of amount ($75,000). Although fellow Toronto-writer Anne Carson won, congratulations to Michaels for being a top nominee for her poetry collection, Correspondences. She is also known for her internationally bestselling novel, Fugitive Pieces. [click to continue…]

Letters – July 2014

The following is an exchange of letters about seeking heritage designation for South Leaside:

I am pleased that steps have been taken to protect South Leaside as a heritage designation district but I am very concerned that no equal steps have been taken to protect North Leaside.

Our original homes are essentially the same as those in South Leaside, but we are even more at risk because our lots are bigger and can hold a more gigantic mini chateau.

Why was North Leaside not included?

Alison Baxter,
Tanager Ave. [click to continue…]

Average home price up 22% for past year

Leaside sales by street 2013 vs. 2014 year to date (end May)

Leaside sales by street 2013 vs. 2014 year to date (end May)

There are a couple of negative figures in the latest MLS real estate numbers, but they haven’t stopped prices in Leaside and Bennington Heights from showing strong upward strength.

During May this year 32 houses sold, compared to 42 last year, a drop of almost 24 percent, but the average dollar value went up by 22.2 percent to $1,443,566.

And figures for the first five months this year, compared to the same time last year, show a small 1.2 percent drop in average dollar value for detached homes, to $1,494,435. But the value of semi-detached homes saved the day with a 4.5 percent increase. [click to continue…]

In Brief

July 2014

Sarah Jordan, of Sarah’s Food Drive, is one of three young Canadians nominated for Canadian Living magazine’s Me to We Awards in the Youth in Action category (under 12). Internet voting ended early June and the winner will be announced this fall.

Leaside has been included in the Canadian tour of the world-hopping Chapel Choir from Christ’s College in Cambridge, England. The concert starts 7:30 p.m., Friday, July 18, at St. Cuthbert’s Church, 1399 Bayview. Tickets are $20, or $15 for seniors and youth, available at the church office.

The 21-member undergraduate choir is one of the finest mixed-voice ensembles in Cambridge with a repertoire spanning many centuries.

The attempt to restart a Lions club in Leaside is off to a slow start. Only six people showed up at organizational meeting called for June 11, said Rollie dela Cruz, one of the organizers. Twenty are needed. The group is still looking for possible members.

Students go to the dog for best lessons


FLASH, a 10-year-old Golden Retriever, listens attentively to what her students tell her at St. Anselm school. Handler Andrea Villiers, centre, brings Flash every Wednesday to help teacher Marisa DeNicolais, second from right. (photo: Richard Walo)

If there were a contest at St. Anselm Catholic School among the six students in the special education class to pick the best teacher, Flash would probably win, paws down.

Flash is a 10-year-old Golden Retriever who helps Marisa DeNicolais teach reading, math and how to be a good host.

Before Flash shows up every Wednesday afternoon with her handler, Andrea Villiers, Kenrae Rd., the students have already visited the library for each to pick a book to read to her, which is different from reading to a teacher. [click to continue…]

Sudden death sent strong
 emotions throughout Leaside



The Dominion supermarkert at Eglinton and Bayview, now a Metro store, was voted by industry experts the top performer in North America with Tom Sanders as manager.

Many of the customers who came into the Metro supermarket at Bayview and Eglinton on the morning of May 23 expected to find the genial manager Tom Sanders at the front counter, where he usually held court.

Instead they found a notice inside the main doors that made many of them break into tears.

“It was pretty bad,” says Nikki Georgiou, a deli employee of 18 years.

The notice announced that Sanders had died suddenly the night before at the age of 67. As the news quickly spread through Leaside it caused an unusual amount of emotion. [click to continue…]

Thousands of neighbours loved Tom

Peter Neal

Peter Neal wrote this as a eulogy.

I first met Tom 22 year ago, the early years when my brother Chris and I were just starting our business. Tom had asked to stock our original tortillas, in a clear bag with a simple sticker, in his top-performing Dominion store.

That was a big deal for us because we were not listed with head office at the time and we couldn’t afford the listing fees. Here we were being invited into the #1 Dominion store in Canada.  Not only that but he called two other store managers and told them they needed to stock our items as well.

Tom was like that. He did what he wanted in HIS store.  If his customers wanted a product and it was not listed he would find a way to make it available. [click to continue…]

Check out our new What’s On listing page – events will be updated monthly. Note: expired events will be automatically removed. To have events listed, please contact us by the 10th of the month preceding the month of your event. Missed the deadline? Send it to us anyway and we’ll do our best – we do list some events of wide community interest in our “After the deadline” section.

We experienced cruel autocracy of the OMB

March 20, 2014 will long be remembered by residents of Rumsey Rd. as the day they experienced firsthand the cruel autocracy of the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

The hearing concerned the appeal to the OMB by the owners of the property at 28 Rumsey following the rejection of their application by the Committee of Adjust-
ment.   The application included 12 minor variances for floor space index (size), lot coverage, setbacks and height.

And by the way, they would demolish an existing classic Leaside home on a street block that had intact frontages thus far.  The neighbours felt the development would have a most significant impact on the established neighbourhood and adjacent homes. [click to continue…]

What the OMB said when approving the plans

In its final order issued on May 28, the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) allowed applicant Kevin Hall to successfully appeal the decision of the Committee of Adjustment (COA) to deny minor variances for his property located at 28 Rumsey Rd.

The decision paves the way for Hall to demolish an existing house at the location and to replace it with a new two-storey home.

Stephen Chamberlain and Nicole Brasseur, residents of abutting property 22 Rumsey Rd., were concerned that the new development was “too large” and “too close” to their home, and might create a feeling of being “walled-in.”   [click to continue…]

The LPOA has $25,000 waiting for a BIA

If you’ve read some of my columns in recent months you’ll have noticed most discuss one specific subject — the business of Bayview. I’ve been on a mission since February 2013 pushing for a livelier, more entertaining, customer-friendly shopping strip.

It hasn’t been easy to get local businesses to think bigger picture but as we enter the second-half of 2014 people like Trae Zammitt, Grant Allardyce, Raymond Gork, Sal and Dom Badali, and so many others (including  Councillors Parker and Matlow and their respective staffers) have pulled together like never before to ensure that Bayview finally gets a business improvement area, otherwise known as a BIA. [click to continue…]


Bayview Ave.Leaside Life would like to play a part in this discussion by asking you to forward your ideas, thoughts, concerns or anything else that tickles your fancy about shopping on Bayview. Simply send an email to us, remembering to include the words “Bayview Suggestion Box” in the subject heading. We will then forward the comments to the BIA (we hope) which can use the information (we will not supply any personal information without your expressed permission) to assist its members in better meeting the needs of Leaside residents.

Learning life skills in the church kitchen

Russell and Bonnie Mills

Russell and Bonnie Mills originated the Community Kitchen for Frontier College. (photo: Beth Parker)

Robbie carefully measures out the spinach so that he gets the portions correct. Debbie studies the salad dressing recipe. Sandy and Kerrie help with dessert.

“We cook, we learn things, we sing,” says Sandy.

They are members of the Community Kitchen assembled in the basement at Leaside United Church and have come from as close as North Leaside and as far away as Finch and Sheppard.

“I cook for myself now,” says Robbie. Debbie adds, “I don’t eat out as much. That saves money and I know it is healthier.”

Community Kitchen members are adult students associated with the literacy program at Frontier College, which operates a variety of literacy programs, including an Independent Studies Program in Toronto for people with cognitive or developmental challenges. [click to continue…]

Do you know who these people are?

Rolph Road Rm 13, 1960 Are you in this 1960 photo, or know who is? The Rolph Road school’s 75th anniversary organizers would like to know who and where they are, as well as their contact information and of anyone else who was a Rolph Road student, or a parent or staff. It’s for a big party Friday, Oct. 24 at the William Lea Room in the Leaside arena and an open house the next day at the school. The organizers are looking for photographs, newspaper clippings, interesting stories or any other memorabilia. To register for the event or volunteer contact Petra Grantham at rolphroad75@gmail.com

When the last bell rang we were out of Leaside

When I was a child fathers worked 9-5 and read the Globe and Mail, mothers worked in the home  making everything we needed appear like magic, and children spent summers at the cottage or at camp.

On the last day of the year at Rolph Road Elementary School we sweltered in classrooms not built for summer use and watched the clock. At recess autograph books were signed (I made you look, I made you stare, I made the barber cut your hair) and addresses were exchanged with promises to write.

The bell rang and I was free!  After an endless wait of an hour father was home, the car was stuffed with necessities and we headed north. [click to continue…]

Leaside Stock Index through May 30, 2014As I write this half way through June the S&P 500 on a daily basis seems to be setting all-time record highs and is up almost 7 percent through the first half of 2014. Yet one of the U.S. stocks in the Leaside Stock Index — Best Buy (BBY) — continues its bumbling ways, down 25.2 percent year-to-date. While its recent performance holds promise, at some point you have to cut your losses.

In the June edition of the paper I wondered whether Walmart (WMT) would make a better holding for the LSI given the sorry state of Best Buy’s business. However, since Walmart won’t be eligible until late next year I concluded that since a lot can happen in 18 months I wasn’t going to make any rash moves altering the portfolio. [click to continue…]

Early Leaside from the Toronto Archives

Fonds 1244, Item 4536

Picture 1 of 5

1916 At the old Leaside airport aviator Bert Acosta prepares to take photographer William James Sr. up to make the first movies from the air in Canada.

Make some noise to fight the airplane noise

It is not your imagination. Leaside’s airspace has gotten busier and our skies have gotten noisier.

How come?

Working with our local federal MP, John Carmichael, I have done some research and learned a bit about an industry I never would have guessed I would come across as a city councillor.

Jet planes flying into Toronto today land at privately owned Toronto Pearson Airport, having been guided in by navigational systems operated by privately owned Nav Canada, following international flight management protocols determined largely by international air travel industry convention. [click to continue…]

We just missed being relegated as lobbyists

This could have been very bad news:  on reading the agenda for the June 10 City Council meeting, my LPOA co-president Geoff Kettel noted an important motion which would have significantly affected how groups like the LPOA interact with our elected municipal representatives.

The motion, Requirement to Register with the Lobbyist Registrar’s Office, was proposed by Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly and seconded by our councillor, John Parker.

It would have required “non-profit organizations, unions and all community organizations designed to target specific city-wide issues resulting in financial impacts… and… all grass roots campaigns, regardless of who started them” to register as lobbyists. [click to continue…]

Leaside’s long connection with the Gurkhas

Many different things show up in basements and garages.  In Carol Burke’s home on Tanager Ave., where she’s lived for 47 years, you’d find the archives of the Gurkha Welfare Appeal (Canada).

There is a long story about how they came to Leaside.

Carol’s late husband, Major Michael Burke, was born in India and served as a member of Gurkha Officer Cadets.  Years later, after service in the Royal Inniskillen Fusilliers in Britain, he made the decision to move to Canada, thinking of going west and trying ranching. [click to continue…]