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Leaside Graffiti

Photo by Chris Graham.

There are two kinds of graffiti, one less appealing than the other. Throw-ups, tags or “bombing” refers to quick work in a jumble of graphic lettering, usually the artist’s name. This is the illegal side of graffiti art as it’s unsanctioned by property owners and tends to be unattractive and messy. The other kind of graffiti appears as a more thought-out final image and is aptly called pieces or “piecing.” Pieces are commissioned by the city or property owner and take hours, sometimes days to complete, unlike tags, which take minutes and are often done on the fly.

Tags, not the more artistic version of graffiti, were the problem in an area of North Leaside. Brenda Dolenc, 53 Division’s Graffiti Liaison Officer, learned of the defaced alley behind Sutherland Drive a few years ago. Despite her many efforts to repaint, taggers retagged within days, proving clean walls were just blank canvasses. Dolenc works with Jodi Callan, project manager from the City of Toronto, who also runs the StART (Street ART Toronto) Program. Together they hatched project “Go Big or Go Home”. [click to continue…]

Old schools need new money

chart depicting various school information in the leaside areaAs a community we want our schools to be healthy, well-maintained places of learning for our students. The maintenance and upgrading of our schools is a serious challenge faced by the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). But this was not always the case.

As your trustee, I represent portions of three former school boards – East York, North York and Toronto. In 1998, these boards amalgamated to form the TDSB. I must say that, at the time of amalgamation, Leaside schools, although old, were in good shape. This would be in contrast to former Toronto schools, which had severe facility deficiencies. [click to continue…]

Leaside kidnapped by aliens

Most of you were at the cottage this past August, so you missed the remarkable happenings in Leaside.

On the surface nothing seemed to be happening. That was so remarkable. Every single day was exactly like every other. Every morning we woke to blue skies and soft winds. Every day was sunny and warm. Every evening it cooled off comfortably for sleeping. It never rained; even cloud sightings became unusual.

Almost every day in August the weather forecasters predicted thunderstorms for the GTA. They never struck Leaside. [click to continue…]

Letters – October 2016

A response to Alan Redway – Why Leaside home prices keep rising

In Leaside Life’s September issue columnist Alan Redway rightly explains Toronto’s record high house prices partly as a matter of low interest rates and mostly as a matter of supply and demand. He should have stopped there.

But he goes on blithely to pin the blame for the imbalance between Leaside’s current single family dwelling home demand and supply on former Premier Dalton McGuinty and the provincial Places to Grow Act.

Odd then  that house prices are also skyrocketing in Vancouver, well beyond the reach of Queen’s Park’s influence for good or ill. And they aren’t rising as dramatically elsewhere in other areas where Ontario’s Places to Grow Act actually does apply. [click to continue…]

No movie rescue for Leaside

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Remember the old movies of the past, featuring adventurous heroes who, captured by the bad guys, were chained to the wall of a small locked room? Water would be dripping down, soon to flood the room and drown our hero. Except that our hero was always rescued in the nick of time.

These days, we sometimes feel as if Leaside is experiencing something similar, but a rescue is not looking likely, and it’s not water dripping down on us: it’s one mega-development application after another. 660 Eglinton East (Sunnybrook Plaza). 939 Eglinton East (at Brentcliffe). And 815 Eglinton East at Laird (the Canadian Tire site), which has just filed with City Planning. Coming soon, the Celestica site at Eglinton and Don Mills. Recently approved by the Ontario Municipal Board, the large condominium and retirement home at 146-150 Laird Drive. [click to continue…]

Who is the LPOA?

The Leaside Property Owners’ Association (LPOA) is an advocacy group that takes an active role in reviewing development proposals, traffic studies, public safety, crime issues and other municipal affairs that affect the ratepayers of Leaside. The LPOA is led by co-presidents Carol Burtin Fripp and Geoff Kettel. On the first Wednesday of each month at 7:30 p.m. the LPOA board meeting is held at the Trace Manes Community Centre. All Leaside residents are welcome to attend and any property owner in Leaside is invited to become a member.

What most do not understand is that the organization is all run by volunteers on a shoestring budget. The board is composed of professional, highly skilled & committed volunteers. Love them or hate them, for them or against them, there is one thing for certain, the volunteers who work tirelessly to ensure good development happens in Leaside, really do love our community. Maybe it is time that you get involved, come out to a meeting, listen in and have your say. Leaside needs you. lpoa.ca

The good, the bad, and the poopy

Well…it’s another typical Thursday morning at 7 a.m. on our stretch of Rumsey Road. The clatter of rolling bins can be heard as sleepy-headed neighbours in pajamas haul their bins to the curb before even drinking their first coffee of the day.

Here’s a typical conversation at our place.

The Good

My husband Doug: “Hey Mike, how’s it going? Can I use some space in your recycle bin as mine is full? I’ve got space in my green bin if you need it.”

Mike: “Sure Doug, no problem. We’ve got the ginormous one, so use it any time. I think I will take you up on your offer of the green bin as I don’t have much and it’ll save the garbage guys some time.”

Doug: “Thanks. Have a great day!”

Mike: “Hey Doug, you too.”

Doug: “You know Cheryl; she’ll be picking up the dregs after the garbage guys come along. She has a passion for litter.”

Then they both laugh and shake their heads. Now that’s what I call ‘the good’. [click to continue…]

Left to right: Bonnie, Anika, Kaila and Mike Brophy

Left to right: Bonnie, Anika, Kaila and Mike Brophy

We recently decided to try one of the newer restaurants on Bayview, The Captain’s Boil, a franchise operation with locations in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. We knew little about it before dining there except that it was primarily a seafood/fish restaurant. Great news for the three out of four members of our family who love seafood! Our other family member was very relieved to see chicken offered as a choice.

The restaurant has a casual/nautical theme – walls painted with lots of sea creatures and ropes hanging from the ceiling – that matches the menu very well. We knew that we were in for a unique experience when we saw bibs and plastic gloves waiting on our table for us. We each donned our gear and reviewed the menu. [click to continue…]

Townhouses coming to Evergreen Gardens?

Save Bennington SignWill townhouses come to Bennington Heights? This style of housing development has spread widely in Toronto (just drive up Bayview Avenue north of Lawrence). Leaside has several recent townhouse developments (McRae at Laird, Millwood at Rumsey) and one under construction on McRae at Sutherland.

Now there’s an application in Bennington, but more may be in the offing on Bayview Heights Drive where there are signs of land assembly, with several homes with lease or rental arrangements.

But first some context. Evergreen Gardens, located immediately southwest of the Bayview Avenue and Moore Avenue intersection, is part of a unique area within Bennington Heights originally known as Heathbridge Park. Heathbridge Park comprises an interesting mix of five streets, four of which are cul-de-sacs (Heathbridge Park, Heathbridge Park Road, Windmill Road, and Orchard Road) plus Evergreen Gardens. [click to continue…]

Members of Leaside’s XSNRG running club before a recent workout in Sunnybrook Park.

Members of Leaside’s XSNRG running club before a recent workout in Sunnybrook Park. Photo by Allan Williams.

Long before the rise in popularity of the “Tough Mudder” and similar off-road running events, Leaside had its own trail race, the “Mad Dog Scramble,” which marks its 25th annual running on Saturday, October 30th at 11 a.m.

Unlike other races that take place in the Serena Gundy and Sunnybrook Park area and stick to the pavement, Mad Dog takes the road less travelled. In fact, runners won’t spend much time on any of the familiar pathways at all. Instead, the 8K route winds through the forests and streams of the Don Valley, sometimes following one of the many single-track mountain bike trails, sometimes not. [click to continue…]

Message from Kathleen Wynne

Dear Leasiders,

With summer clothes packed away and children back at school, we wave goodbye to another summer and embrace the sense of renewal that fall brings. Seeing students with their backpacks, freshly-sharpened pencils and optimistic smiles reminds me of why I got involved in politics in the first place.

I wanted to make sure that my children, and all children in our province, were getting the education they deserve. Giving kids a strong start in the public education system is one of the most fundamental ways government can help people throughout their lives. And helping people in their everyday lives is still what motivates me as Premier and your representative in the Legislature. [click to continue…]

Sunnybrook plaza map 2015

Photo by: John Naulls

It’s got to come to a head! Should the developer, with the tacit agreement of the City, be allowed to create a potential disaster for neighbouring (and future) residents? I’m referring to the placing of what amounts to a massive dam in the centre of an underground river, and not knowing what the effects will be on all the properties around.

RioCan’s 660 Eglinton Ave redevelopment project replaces a two-storey building with no underground parking with two 19-storey and 12-storey buildings with a two-level below grade garage. While the effects are unknown, we do have some documented past experience at the site to offer some clues. Since my column in the September Leaside Life, which mentioned the water issue, the litany of problems on this site has come to light. Solutions to these problems have been expensive, and have sometimes turned out to be only temporary fixes, and not solutions at all. [click to continue…]

Update on the OMB appeals

As we said in September’s Leaside Life, the date of October 12 is set for another pre-hearing conference when the chair will decide the Issues List and the Procedural Rules for the hearing. Since then RioCan has continued to press for mediation to begin on October 20. This will be decided at the pre-hearing conference on October 12.

Why Diamond proposal is good for Leaside 939 EGLINTON AVE. EAST

939 eglinton ave. Development proposal june 2016

939 Eglinton ave. Development proposal June 2016

“I think it’s too dense. I think it’s too tall. And I think it’s too much.”

Councillor Joe Cressy,
Ward 20, Trinity-Spadina

This comment by Councillor Cressy appeared in a September 12 article by Toronto Star City Hall reporter Jennifer Pagliaro discussing how Mizrahi Developments’ 80-storey condominium development, dubbed “The One,” got the thumbs-up from City Council.

But it just as easily could have been uttered by Leaside residents opposed to Diamond Corp’s 939 Eglinton Ave. East development that’s currently winding its way through the City’s lengthy application approval process. [click to continue…]

Karli VezinaStarting with this issue, our intrepid writer, Karli Vezina, will try a new venture in the hopes of learning something different, and then sharing her experiences with Leaside Life’s readers. First up – Pilates!

I told myself I was doing it “for science”. I would be a Pilates guinea pig.

For some reason, I envisioned a newborn giraffe learning to walk, doubling as me attempting Pilates. Nevertheless I accepted the mission…with some trepidation.

To me, Pilates is like a new acquaintance you wish were more than that. Someone interesting you met at a party but only hung out with once, and it’s too bad because she seemed really cool and chill. I had tried a Pilates DVD but didn’t feel I was doing the moves correctly. I decided if I had the chance to try again, it would be with an instructor so I could learn to get it right. Suddenly my chance was here, but was I ready? [click to continue…]

Crossing guard, Boris Cherkassky stops traffic at Millwood and Bessborough for St. Anselm’s student Chris Karnay Gayowsky.

Crossing guard, Boris Cherkassky stops traffic at Millwood and Bessborough for St. Anselm’s student Chris Karnay Gayowsky.

The outpouring of warmth and affection following the news of the sudden death of Leaside crossing guard Boris Cherkassky shows the high regard in which he was held by the children and families he helped to keep safe every morning and afternoon.

Boris suffered a heart attack while cycling to his post at Millwood and Bessborough on Friday morning, September 16th.

“This is a great loss to the St. Anselm School community,” said Principal Richard Walo. “Boris was loved by all the children and their parents, and always went above and beyond to keep everyone safe.” [click to continue…]

Remy Cattell, Grade 10 student at Leaside High School. Photo by Daniel Girard.

Remy Cattell, Grade 10 student at Leaside High School. Photo by Daniel Girard.

Remy Cattell still vividly remembers her first cross country race even though it was more than half her lifetime ago. She experienced pre-race nervousness and excitement, struggles through exhausting sand, a quick break to tie a shoelace, encouragement from a teammate, and finally, relief at the finish line.

“I didn’t really think about what place I came in,” recalls Cattell, who finished fifth in her Toronto District School Board cross country running debut as a Grade 1 student at Bessborough School. “I just ran.”

Fast forward nine years and Cattell, 14, is a Grade 10 student at Leaside High School. Last year, she won the city championship, then finished second at the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFFSA) finals in a race featuring nearly 300 of the best Grade 9 runners from across the province. [click to continue…]

Four new inductees will enter the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame this year, organizers have announced.

Former Toronto Argonaut Mike Bradwell, Former Toronto Marlboro and Chicago Blackhawk Terry Caffery, figure skater Tom Kalweit, and Leaside Girls Hockey Association builder Ian Shaw will be honoured at a public induction ceremony and reception at Leaside Arena on Friday, November 18th.

These four will join the 19 others who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame since it was founded in 2013. Leaside’s 2016 Athlete of the Year, to be announced in October, will also be recognized that night. Tickets for the November 18th event, at which Terry Fallis will be the guest speaker, may be purchased at the arena or online at www.LeasideSports.com. [click to continue…]

Peter Mahovlich Sr.

Peter Mahovlich Sr.

Fall is upon us; the air is a little bit crisper, school is back in session, and fall sports and activities are back in action. As we see new generations and community members of today using the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens (LMCG), we can’t help paying homage to those who came before and made their mark in our community through access to a facility like ours.

The name Mahovlich is well-known in Leaside, but has a special significance to those who were around the LMCG in the 1960s and 1970s. During those years, a man named Peter Mahovlich owned the skate-sharpening shop in the arena. He was a friendly fixture there, easily recognized by his signature black fedora, deep blue coveralls, and navy shop coat, and he could often be found with a skate in one hand and a cigar in the other. [click to continue…]

The tradition continues

Since 1991, Grant Krisman, the current owner of the Leaside Hockey shop has become the new fixture at the Leaside arena. As a teenage hockey player in the mid-seventies, Grant recalls having his skates sharpened by Mahovolich. himself. This year marks Grant’s 25th year at the Leaside arena.

Calling all Leaside gardeners!

TulipsTo celebrate Canada’s upcoming 150th anniversary, Leaside Life and Veseys (Canada’s bulb company) are holding a contest.

We are inviting Leaside gardeners to share your gardens and your stories – and you could win a prize.

Throughout 2017, we will be feature your stories and share with you the role that Leaside and Leasiders played in the birth and growth of our country.

So, tell us your story, what does Canada mean to you, what do you love about our country, what do you see and hope for the future of Canada?

The first 10 people who send us an email with your story to leasidelife@gmail.com will win a limited edition set of Canada 150 Celebration Garden Bulbs (an $80 value) pictured above. [click to continue…]

And now, something to consider the next time you go for a solitary walk, grab a coffee, or enjoy some free time.

If someone were to ask what Canada means to you in personal terms, how would you respond?

Of course, there are the familiar images of rippling wheat fields, the majestic Rockies, the Northern Shield, a thousand and one hockey games, the flag atop Parliament Hill. There are also the values we share, the history, good and bad, that we have lived as a nation, and the growing pride we feel about our place in the world, and our contributions to it. And also, very much at the root of all this…Leaside. [click to continue…]

Taking aim at Leaside’s pot shops

Unfortunately, Leaside is not immune to the wave of “pot shops” that have opened in Toronto.

While we are home to only one of 130 reported shops across the city, it is one too many. In my opinion, the operators are just drug dealers with fancy wallpaper. Judging by the number of calls I have received from local residents, my view is shared by many.

The situation has largely been created by the federal government, which indicated its intent to legalize marijuana, but has been slow to provide any sort of policy framework around regulation of its production and sale. [click to continue…]

Leaside’s Knit-wizzes

Leaside’s knitting ladies led by Doreen Sherk (back row, 2nd from the right)

Leaside’s knitting ladies led by Doreen Sherk (back row, 2nd from the right) Photo by Sarah Kelly.

Since January, a group of 14 women at Leaside Gate, calling themselves the Leaside Gate Condo Knitting Group, has knit an astonishing 1,500 seven-inch squares.

The knitting takes place mainly on Wednesday mornings in a pleasant common room in the building at 955 Millwood Rd. It’s a time for knitting, obviously, but also a time for
chatting, catching up and just being with other likeminded people.

And what happens to the squares? One of the knitters, Magda, assembles the squares into a pleasing pattern and crochets them together – making blankets, knee throws or shoulder shawls. Some of the squares are monochromatic, with no pattern, while others include fancy patterns, colourful variations, or both – but all are made of washable fibre so they are easy to care for. [click to continue…]



Allan Williams’ feature series on the Churches of Leaside continues next month with the story of St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church, 1399 Bayview Ave. celebrating its 125th anniversary.

LEASIDE LITERATI – Greig Henderson

Simon Day will be back to tell us about Greig Henderson. Greig is a full-time English prof at the U of T, but in his spare time he teaches plain English to judges. Out of that work has come a book, called “Creating Legal Worlds – Story and Style in a Culture of Argument,” published by the University of Toronto Press.


The curious idler is still sleuthing his – or her – way around Leaside and will be back soon. Stay tuned!


Guest columnist, Commercial Real Estate agent, will update you on the state of the commercial market in Leaside