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A special place – Leaside, take a bow!

As your Councillor, I normally like to use this opportunity to update you on important issues along with my views and actions. However, this month, I wanted to share a different perspective. I am keenly aware – especially at this time of year – that what makes Leaside such a special place is the high level of volunteerism and the overwhelming generosity. While these don’t necessarily go unnoticed, I often think they are underappreciated because of lack of awareness.

The Leaside Guys Night Out & Toy Drive is a case in point. It was started by Daryn Everett 13 years ago as a modest affair to help others and also as a way for “Leaside Dads” to get to know each other and further build a sense of community.

What began as a Christmas get-together with 20 guys in 2004 has grown to well over 100. Each year, Daryn and his helpers, Edward Wong, Mike Zivot and Jeff Hohner, begin planning in mid-October for the one-night event in early December at the Leaside Pub.

Guys being guys, most invitees fail to respond to the invitation and the organizers are left worrying about attendance. Fortunately, it’s never a problem and each year is more successful than the last.

This year I invited Mayor Tory to join me, and he was the hit of the night. His schedule normally allows for 30 minutes, but he ended up staying for almost two hours. Formally, he spoke about the importance of neighbours helping neighbours; informally, road tolls seemed to be the hot topic of discussion.

The real highlight though was the $15,000 raised – the most ever! The funds will be used to buy toys for children in three Flemingdon Park schools as well Thorncliffe kids (through the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office).

Many thanks to the numerous donors, including Andy Elder of Grill Time. Andy’s “Backyard BBQ for Ten” received the highest bid – a whopping $1,800!

It’s people like Daryn, Edward, Mike, Jeff and all the generous attendees who make Leaside so special. See picture on page 20.

Happy New Year

councillor_burnside@toronto.ca