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Michael Bliss

Moonbows over Leaside?

One of the difficulties of being a small town in the middle of a great metropolis is that Toronto keeps intruding on our airspace. I don’t mean planes on flight paths to Pearson, but rather the lights from the city that spoil star-gazing for Leasiders. It really isn’t very good for us, even on the [...]

Leaside Life is “still” great

It’s been said that the first decade or so after formal retirement is most people’s “still” time of life. Most of the questions oldsters are asked contain that loaded word: Are you still going into the office? Are you still working out? Still going up to the cottage? Still in your house in Leaside? Still [...]

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 [...]

Leaside’s free spirits

Some have said that all Leasiders are law-abiding and hard-working conformists. The evidence that presents itself in front of our house is distinctly to the contrary. Judging by what we see out our windows every day, Leaside is visited almost entirely by free spirits: free spirits of all kinds, ranging from the stupid and dangerous [...]

Oui the North — Leaside’s better moitié

Have you ever noticed that Leaside is a microcosm of North America? We have two very similar but somewhat different communities, divided by a clear line, Eglinton Ave. South Leaside is older, far more populous, much more built-up. It has more of just about everything – shopping, schools, cultural centres, playing fields, ice rinks, traffic [...]

I was being young — or is that ridiculous?

Michael’s age is really showing, the neighbours must have been saying in April. He has to use a cane to go out walking now. It’s true that my age – I’m in my mid-70s – doesn’t even try to hide itself any more. It’s also true that in April I was using a cane to [...]

Our Leaside includes Thorncliffe Park

In 1963, when Liz and I were about to marry, we began searching around the east end of Toronto for an apartment to rent. Although we were both U of T graduates, we didn’t know the city well at all. Everything east of Yonge and north of St. Clair seemed like darkest ‘burbia. The apartment [...]

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 [...]

Fictional stories can be truer than real life

1955:  Joe and Cheryl Joe works a regular shift at Canada Wire & Cable, brings home $5,000 a year, is a shop steward for the union. Cheryl makes his lunch, gets the kids to school, does the housework, does the shopping. Joe bowls on Tuesday nights, has a few beers at the Legion on Saturdays, [...]

Adventure in Corks wine bar

Hungry for adventure – actually just hungry – after a morning of yoga, my wife dragged me away from my desk for a luncheon out in Leaside. It was a cold, grey day, so we decided to bypass the patios and people-watching on Bayview. Where to go for visual stimulation and gustatory satisfaction instead? Answer:  [...]

Stalag fences for our high school

How much barbed wire do we have in and around Leaside? Not much, you would say, and you’d be mostly right. We have no prisons, livestock farms, no trenches separated by No Man’s Land. No need here for the fierce deterrence barbed wire affords. We have lots of fences in our pleasant community, mostly wood, [...]

Going to bed with North Toronto Post

Welcome home Leaside Life. We hope you enjoyed your March break, somewhere in the south. We missed you. Leaside has survived without you, though not without difficulty. In the month you did not publish no one knew what was really happening around here. It may be that businesses on Bayview disappeared without a peep, developers [...]

Our house is a teardown – we love it

We live in a Leaside teardown, and we don’t mind it a bit. In fact we might mind it it more if our house stopped being a teardown. We think our house is doomed when we sell it because, as is happening throughout Leaside and much of residential Toronto, a much better house could be [...]

Looking for happiest people in Leaside

Who are the happiest people you’ll see on the streets of Leaside? Right away we can rule out certain groups — everyone going to work, everyone coming home from work, and almost everyone at work in the neighbourhood. They all look grim and focussed, or grim and tired. The tradesmen who are tearing down and [...]

Baseball is saving our old way of life

Last winter was so bad that warm weather this spring actually caused some Leasiders to go casually strolling around the neighbourhood. It was a throwback to an earlier era when people out walking in Leaside were as common as bungalows. Twenty-five or so years ago our sidewalks were busy with pedestrians, many with their dogs, [...]

A grandparent’s eye view of this special community

Recently we had the annual call from a realtor friend asking if we plan to sell our house this year. It’s about her 30th annual call and it always gets the same response: “No, never. We’ll all be dead before this house changes hands.” No matter the issues filling the columns of Leaside Life: redevelopment, [...]