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Friends Lauren Essaye and Helena Giamos with their collection efforts Photo by: Katherine Ross.

Friends Lauren Essaye and Helena Giamos with their collection efforts. Photo by: Katherine Ross.

If you knew that every AA battery had enough zinc to save the lives of six children, you might think twice before disposing of your used AAs. Lauren Essaye and Helena Giamos are two 11-year-old North Leasiders who learned this last fall and didn’t take the news lying down.

The “Zinc Saves Lives” Battery Recycling Campaign started with Teck Resources, a B.C. mining company which teamed up with WE Day for a good cause. A project dedicated to a better tomorrow, WE Day celebrates youth leadership and inspires tens of thousands of students across Canada, America and England to continue making positive change. Helena attended WE Day Toronto last October and became inspired by a local girl who had collected 10,000 batteries to help save children in developing countries. That night Helena came home and told her friend everything. By morning, Lauren was on board and their plan to start their own Zinc Saves Lives campaign was underway. [click to continue…]

The large stained glass window on the western end of the church facing Bayview Avenue depicts St. Augustine of Canterbury, for whom the church is named. Photo by Allan Williams.

The large stained glass window on the western end of the church facing Bayview Avenue depicts St. Augustine of Canterbury, for whom the church is named. Photo by Allan Williams.

Like Northlea United, profiled in the January issue of Leaside Life, St. Augustine’s Anglican Church is a product of the optimism and post-war boom of the late 1940s.

It began as a mission of St. Cuthbert’s to serve the rapidly growing population in North Leaside, with the first service held in the basement of Northlea School on April 28, 1946, the first Communion service a month later on May 26th – St. Augustine’s Day – and the parish formally created and given that name in October.

A house at 38 Donlea Drive was purchased as a rectory the following year for $12,500, and, in June, a young priest, the Rev. H. Newman Bracken, arrived with his wife and daughter to begin what turned out to be a 35-year tenure as rector. [click to continue…]

Senator Frith

Senator Frith

This year as we mark the 150th anniversary of our country, we should also celebrate the part that Leasiders have played in it. Long-time residents, particularly those who live in North Leaside, will remember when one of their neighbours, Royce Frith, later Senator Royce Frith, served as a Councillor and then as Deputy Reeve of the Town of Leaside during the early 1950s. After the Town Solicitor, Stan Shatz, was appointed as a Justice of the Ontario Supreme Court, Royce and his law firm, Magwood, Frith, Pocock and Casey, were appointed as the new Town of Leaside Solicitors.

In addition to graduating from the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School, Frith had received a Dipl. D’études supérieures (droit) from the University of Ottawa. This degree in French and the fact that he was a prominent member of the Liberal Party of Canada resulted in his appointment by Prime Minister Lester Pearson as a member of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in the 1960s. [click to continue…]


J. C. Rykert, K. C.If you’re on your way to Serena Gundy Park you may find yourself on one of Leaside’s smaller streets, a crescent named Rykert, abutting another crescent, called Thursfield.

When the Town of Leaside was laid out in 1912, many of the streets were named for railway executives or politicians. Rykert Crescent was named for John Charles Rykert (1832-1913) who served in all levels of government and enjoyed a successful legal career in his hometown of St. Catharines.

Rykert’s family came to Canada right after the War of 1812. His father, George, was born in Schenectady, N.Y. in 1797, and he served as a Member of the Legislature of Upper Canada, 1822-1841. [click to continue…]

There’s an app for that!

Have you ever come home and wondered why your garbage bin was the only one on the street not emptied and then realized it was recycling week? Or put your yard waste out only to have it sit for weeks because you got the dates mixed up? Or after a serious case of spring cleaning wondered what to do with your broken coffee maker, half empty paint cans and that broken Muskoka chair in the back yard you realize you will never fix? Or had a debate with your husband on what items go in the blue, green or garbage bin? [click to continue…]

Letters – February 2017

David Blyth Hanna, the man behind Hanna Road

How interesting to read that David Blyth Hanna came from Thornliebank, Scotland. I grew up there and lived there until I immigrated to Canada in 1967!

Thornliebank was a great and safe place for a child to grow up in during the 1940s and 1950s. We could walk or bike to swing parks, woods, playing fields, schools, churches, etc. There was a wonderful park nearby called Rouken Glen which has just been voted the best park in Scotland. There was a pond with row boats and a motor launch which we could ride on for a penny. We called Thornliebank “the village”. There was a Main Street with shops including fish & chip, ice cream (the “tallies”)in those unpolitically correct days because they were generally owned by Italian immigrants. And of course two pubs, a post office, grocery store, and a cinema! We were lucky enough to be within commuting distance of Glasgow by tram, bus or train so had access to live theatre, several large department stores, concert halls, museums and art galleries. This has taken me on a lovely journey down memory lane! [click to continue…]

Leonard Linton Park The Parks of Leaside

Leonard Linton and his wife Norma. Photo By Allan Williams.

Leonard Linton and his wife Norma. Photo By Allan Williams.

Leaside is home to some of the most interesting – and not just green – parks in Toronto. From the well-loved and well-used Trace Manes and the sprawling Sunnybrook Park to the so-called “Batman Park,” Leaside is brimming with green, recreational spaces.

Here’s one that may not be quite as well-known….

Who’s that imposing gentleman one sometimes sees at Leonard Linton Park picking up stray pieces of debris and carefully depositing them in nearby receptacles? [click to continue…]

Angela and John at Fukui SushiReviewed by ANGELA BURLEY and JOHN BECH-HANSEN

What better way to be greeted upon entering Fukui Sushi on a brisk January evening than by the smiling faces of three sushi chefs?

We’ve actually been coming to Fukui since our two university-aged daughters were in diapers, so when the opportunity to look at Fukui in a critical light came up, it was a no-brainer. It also afforded us an opportunity to order some items outside of our usual bento box.

Despite our many years of patronizing this restaurant, one of our daughters is still discovering the pleasures of sushi and fish in general – although going to Dalhousie University in Halifax has certainly expanded her palate to include such things as raw oysters. She opted for the steak teriyaki combo, one of many non-seafood items on the menu. (Our other daughter is a fearless omnivore whose tastes extend to such marine delicacies as raw sea urchin!) [click to continue…]

Chris' Gold Medal Pork Tenderloin with peppercorn sauce, dauphinoise potatoes and carrot bundles tied with blanched leeks.

Chris’ Gold Medal Pork Tenderloin with peppercorn sauce, dauphinoise potatoes and carrot bundles tied with blanched leeks.

In many ways, Northlea resident Christopher Lexovsky has been preparing for his upcoming appearance on ”Chopped Canada Teen” for much of his life.

The 17-year-old Northern Secondary student will be a competitor on the Saturday, February 11, 2017 episode of the popular show airing at 9:00 p.m. on the Food Network.

“Chopped Canada Teen” features 20 of Canada’s best teen chefs (aged 14 to 17), four per episode, who use their skills and creativity to turn baskets of mystery ingredients into outstanding three-course meals within a limited amount of time. After each course, the rotating panel of judges “chops” one contestant, and the last chef remaining collects the prize of $10,000. [click to continue…]

TDSB Bits and Bites Schools of Leaside

TDSB Did you know?

• In 2016 the TDSB celebrated an all-time high graduation rate of 85%!

• This past year the TDSB opened our classrooms to more than 600 newly arrived Syrian children and youth. Children were introduced to the Ontario education system and assisted in socializing with TDSB students.

Closer to home, here in Leaside….

• At Northlea, hundreds of students lined the hallway as an honour guard to cheer school crossing guard Jake Apacible, who retired at the age of 82 after serving students for many many years. This heart-warming tribute is available on YouTube at https://youtu.be/JYAbx0t7HtA. Jake has been steadfast in keeping Northlea students safe. In 2013, he was deservedly named Canada’s Best Crossing Guard! [click to continue…]

OliviaAt their February 16, 2017 meeting, the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Leaside-East York will welcome a 12-year-old, not as a child prodigy university graduate, but as a guest speaker who is an expert on homelessness.

Olivia Walsh, a Grade 7 student at St. Anselm Catholic School, was a co-winner of the Agnes Macphail Public Speaking Contest in February 2016, the only Grade 6 student to take part in the contest last year.

The contest, organized by the Agnes Macphail Recognition Committee,is open mainly to schools in the old Borough of East York, the area which Agnes Macphail represented as one of the first female MPPs in the 1940s. Macphail was also the first female elected as a Member of Parliament in 1921, the first female in a Canadian delegation to the League of Nations, and an advocate for the rights of women, miners, immigrants, farmers and prisoners. The purpose of the contest is to raise awareness in young people of Macphail’s accomplishments, and to promote the art of public speaking, one of her many talents. [click to continue…]

Gayle StretchingGayle Boxer was a young ballet dancer with an injury preventing her from doing the pointe work that’s such an important part of classical ballet, so she decided to try to get into musical theatre in New York instead. While there, she also tried fitness classes for the first time and fell in love with the new types of exercise. Loved them so much that instead of staying in New York, she returned home to Toronto and used her connections at Glendon College, from which she had graduated with an Honours B.A. in Language and Dance, to set up fitness classes in available space. Now, more than 30 years on, Gayle is still a force to be reckoned with in fitness. She believes that she is the first and longest running fitness studio sole proprietor in Toronto. [click to continue…]

Write soon and often book coverA deep love of Northern Ontario infuses the writing of Leaside author and retired North York history teacher and curriculum consultant Andy Thomson.

“I grew up in Sudbury and my extended family had a connection to a remote lake alongside the Spanish River where my grandfather, W. B. Plaunt, had operated a lumber company during the 1930s,” the author told Leaside Life. “After the mill closed, he renovated one of his former logging camps on Lake Pogamasing for his family to spend our summers. I soon learned through my canoeing adventures in the surrounding lakes that there was a lot of history to the area. Fortunately for me, my mother and my uncle also had an interest in the area’s history and they kept records, photos and stories. I discovered that we were living in an area that was a microcosm of the development of the Canadian wilderness. To share my findings, I wrote and published my first book, “Pogamasing, The Story of a Northern Lake.” [click to continue…]

Million short foundersLeasiders Sanjay Arora and Ruby Singh are out to change the world of internet search engines.

Since 2012 the husband-and-wife team have been busy developing their unique internet search engine business.

Essentially Million Short gives users the capability to customize their internet searches through the use of filters to include or exclude sites based on their popularity, advertising, live chat options and e-commerce as well as refining searches based on countries and locations of origin.

Sanjay and Ruby are working on expanding the business into new markets, such as selling subscriptions to employment recruiters and libraries. Within the next couple of months they plan to launch a new application which would allow parents to screen and monitor the internet searches of their children and to work collaboratively with them to find information for education, information and fun. [click to continue…]

Alice and Honey

Alice and Honey

If you live within miles of Laird and McRae, you’ve probably seen Alice Morgan and her faithful companion, German shepherd Honey, on their four times daily walks. Alice, who lives on Randolph Rd., is a dog owner who takes her responsibilities seriously. Her life’s priorities are in this order: God, country and Honey.

Alice grew up with German shepherds from the time she was a child. In her young adult life, she also owned a shepherd, and was heartbroken when they had to part. Six years ago, in her 70s, Alice decided it was time again to welcome a shepherd into her life. She was turned down for one adoption in Toronto, because the dog was deemed too young, while she was deemed too old.

When she saw a photo of a five-year-old shepherd at a shelter in Ohio, she promptly drove there to have a look. That’s when she met Honey. Alice was just returning to her car to get a leash to walk Honey, when the dog decided, independently, to go with Alice.

She got into the car and wouldn’t move! It was love at first woof. [click to continue…]

l-r: Bob, Jane and Bill Pashby in what is now officially the Dr. Tom Pashby Play Safely Rink. Photo by Allan Williams

l-r: Bob, Jane and Bill Pashby in what is now officially the Dr. Tom Pashby Play Safely Rink. Photo by Allan Williams

The new rink at Leaside Gardens is now officially the Dr. Tom Pashby Play Safely Rink following a celebration in the William Lea Room January 19 attended by more than 100 invited guests, including Dr. Pashby’s three children, Bill, Bob and Jane Pashby, and past and present board members of the arena, the East York Foundation, and the Dr. Tom Pashby Sports Safety Fund.

The name change acknowledges a $500,000 donation from the Pashby Fund that means “Leaside Gardens will have the funding to be a best-in-class facility for programs, design and equipment to reduce catastrophic injury in sport and recreation,” according to Bill Pashby, who chairs the Fund board. [click to continue…]

Taxed to the max? How high are Leaside’s property taxes?

Each year at budget time, the discussion of taxes – property taxes in particular – reaches a fever pitch.

As a new member of the Budget Committee, I heard firsthand the call of some citizens to increase property taxes by up to 25%. The basic premise is that Toronto’s taxes are far too low compared to other GTA municipalities. Knowing that most Leaside residents pay between $5,000 and $15,000 annually, I found this claim to be questionable and decided to dig a little deeper.

While numerous comparative tools are used, it is important to remember that the Municipal Land Transfer Tax (from which the City will collect over $450 million from residential home sales this year) and fees for solid waste collection are exclusive to Toronto. Although the MLTT isn’t borne equally by residents, both these taxes are uniquely paid by Toronto home owners and must be included in any property tax comparison. On average, these two fees add approximately 17% to property taxes. [click to continue…]

Double tempest BeerAmsterdam Blonde is one of the first beers that the Amsterdam Brewery ever brewed, back on John St. in 1986. The Amsterdam Blonde also happened to be my personal favourite, ranked first place in the six-pack sampler I had received as homework after my tour.

Earlier, I met with Heather Mundle of the Amsterdam marketing department for a walk through the brewery. Despite my general distaste for beer, I was curious about the art of brewing and what it took to become a brewmaster. Once I learned that Leaside had a brewery I couldn’t resist the temptation to look around. Had I missed my calling as a legendary master of hops? I was about to find out. [click to continue…]

Carol and Dave BeforeOne month of winter down and two to go! How have you been keeping up with your New Year’s goals? I’m going to brag for a quick second and say that I have been doing great in my goal to drink more water and stretch daily, but more importantly so have Carol and Dave. While it’s only been a few short weeks since they started into their new health and wellness program with Barry Samuel at Inside Out Studio, I’m pleased to say that Carol is feeling “positive” and David is “still alive and feeling good.” Can I get a collective ‘yippee’ from all over Leaside please? [click to continue…]

Leaside likes Honda the Best

They say the type of car you drive says a lot about your personality.

Read on to see what types of cars Leasiders are driving, and then draw your own conclusions.

The British marketing research agency, YouGov, in the course of its consulting work, has gathered a database of information over the years profiling the attitudes and behaviours of 200,000 Americans. It uses this database to help advertisers and brand managers make better decisions for reaching their target audience.

YouGov took this information and attempted to figure out what the personalities of the drivers of specific cars said about the brands themselves.

It found that BMW drivers believe they are more knowledgeable than other people; Ford drivers felt they were friendlier; Mercedes-Benz’s drivers thought of themselves as more adventurous than drivers of other car brands; and General Motors drivers view themselves as more mechanically intelligent than other drivers. [click to continue…]

Three years ago, I embarked on an exercise of fun — and potential learning!

The Leaside Stock Index was born in February 2014 as the result of an innocent drive past the Canadian headquarters of Lincoln Electric on Wicksteed Avenue in the Leaside Business Park. At the time, I wondered what the company did and when I found out, I recommended to my readers at Investopedia.com that they buy its stock.

Well, it hasn’t turned out so great for anyone who might have listened to my recommendation: Lincoln Electric’s annualized total return including dividends is up just 3.8% through the end of December, almost six percentage points worse than the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust, an exchange-traded fund tracking the performance of 500 of America’s largest companies. [click to continue…]

What have we learned from wrestling with tigers?

The Leaside community has recently participated in two applications for major projects on Eglinton, with a third underway. Each project is spurred by the provincially funded Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit project.

The three major projects, roughly comparable in terms of size and impact, have proceeded on quite different paths:

• 660 Eglinton East (Sunnybrook Plaza) at Bayview and Eglinton – the application now approved by the OMB, following a mediation process involving the applicant, City staff, and the LPOA.

• 939 Eglinton East at Brentcliffe and Eglinton – the application now approved by the City, pending OMB approval, following a “working committee” process involving the applicant, selected residents, and City staff.

• 815-845 Eglinton East at Laird and Eglinton – an application was recently submitted, and the City is proposing a community meeting. [click to continue…]

Strength in numbers The LPOA wants needs YOU!

I’d like to share with you why the Leaside Property Owners’ Association encourages you to become members of our ratepayers’ group. No, it’s not just a question of finances, important though finances are. And no, we don’t only advocate for those of you who are full dues-paying members – we represent all residents of Leaside, whether paid up or not.

A brief history:

When the LPOA formed back in the 1950s, you could become a Life Member with a one-time $5 fee, registered by your name and street address. This made our bookkeeping very simple and membership easy to confirm. Once the $5 fee was paid, our accountant had very little updating to do. When we needed more funds, we appealed for voluntary donations. Or we held cookie sales, or neighbourhood garage sales. A lot of work for not a vast return, but Leasiders responded time and again with their support. [click to continue…]

Rolland Road HouseThe pressure to renovate or demolish and rebuild Leaside homes is huge. Whether it’s existing residents who want to expand their homes to meet growing needs (and presumably financial capacity) or developers who want to make a fast buck, the pressure for physical change is without parallel.

Committee of Adjustment approval of minor variances is usually required to proceed. A couple of recent cases at the Committee of Adjustment illustrate how the pressure for more space (but not necessarily more people in that space) reflects in different types of houses and lot patterns, and affects the neighbourhood in various ways. [click to continue…]

Leaside Life: The first five years

For our first issue of the New Year, it’s an honour to feature some of the faces of Leaside – people who have graced our pages over the past five years. We have been privileged to share the stories of some truly remarkable people. The photos you see here represent just a sample of those whose lives have touched Leaside in some way. We look forward to celebrating even more stories – and Leaside personalities – in the years to come. [click to continue…]