In reading about the early days of Leaside, I have been struck by how clearly the original planners understood that a successful, healthy community must be more than just homes where people sleep at night.
To an extent virtually unmatched among other Toronto neighbourhoods, Leaside’s schools, churches and recreational facilities – parks, baseball diamonds and the arena, among others – are all conveniently located right in the heart of the community.
From the beginning, Leaside has offered jobs right here.
The founders were affiliated with the Canadian Northern Railway and eager to attract workers for their railway maintenance yard with homes close by.
They designated the lands east of Laird Ave. for industrial development. Canada Wire and Cable, Lincoln Electric, and Leaside Munitions (during World War I) were among the first local companies. TREMCO and APCO Industries came in the 1930s.
Manufacturing facilities like Siltech are still a part of these employment lands today. Recent decades have also seen the repurposing of former industrial and warehouse facilities as office and studio space for the many small businesses and service professionals who represent the changing face of business today.
I recently held a Leaside Business Breakfast at the new Longo’s store to which I invited merchants, entrepreneurs and business operators from the area. I was pleased by the size and diversity of the group who attended.
My purpose was to provide a forum to discuss issues like regulation and taxes where government and business intersect, and I think we had a productive discussion.
Beyond that, I was reminded again about the importance of strong and vibrant local businesses for the continued health of the community. I encourage all who live in Leaside to patronise our local merchants and business operators.
I know the readers of this column will agree with me that Leaside continues to be a great place to live, work, play, shop, and raise a family!