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Bennington belongs
 with Leaside

Once a decade, following the census, electoral districts are adjusted to reflect population shifts and growth.  The Electoral Boundaries Commission must try to keep all ridings approximately the same size while attempting to respect municipal boundaries, historical ties, and communities of interest – not an easy job.

In the consultation following the release of the preliminary maps a year ago many community groups spoke of the importance of keeping neighbourhoods united within a single riding wherever possible.  Now the commissioners have released a revised proposal – still not final – and they’ve put both parts of Don Mills back together in Don Valley East and reunited all of Thorncliffe Park in Don Valley West.  

They’ve also proposed two new changes of interest to Leaside.

First, they’ve joined Leaside with the area to the west of Bayview Ave., from the cemetery north to Broadway Ave. and as far west as Mt. Pleasant Rd.  I am happy with this idea since “Davisville” shares many characteristics with Leaside and it makes sense to unite the communities on both sides of the vibrant business district along Bayview Ave..

I’m not happy with their second new proposal – to sever off Bennington Heights and attach it to a new riding to the south and west to be called University–Rosedale.  In my May 7 submission to the House of Commons committee considering this I objected to this change and pointed out that Bennington Heights has always been more closely associated with Leaside than with Moore Park or with Rosedale.

Bennington Heights was joined with Leaside in the Borough of East York 1967-97 and before that with the Township of East York, not with the areas to the west, from which it is physically cut off by the ravine.  Bennington residents have no choice but to drive east when they leave their driveways.  They shop and do business in Leaside, their children feed into the Leaside schools for higher grades and play minor sports in Leaside, and for over 40 years Bennington has been part of the M4G postal code that describes Leaside.

For all these reasons I told the commission that Bennington Heights should remain with Leaside in Don Valley West.  I made a similar case for the adjacent community of Governor’s Bridge, though admittedly that area has connections with Rosedale that Bennington does not.

We will learn the final boundaries later this year.