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Harper always was a dedicated right-winger!

The author, Terry Fallis, front row left, and his brother Tim, front row right, on a Leaside house league team with Stephen Harper, back row, left.

The author, Terry Fallis, front row left, and his brother Tim, front row right, on a Leaside house league team with Stephen Harper, back row, left.

The summer is behind us and there’s that ever so slight chill in the air. Fall is here. And for hundreds of kids in Leaside, you know what that means. No, not the sugar rush of Halloween, or even the Thanksgiving weekend, which will yield a precious day off school. No, it really means that hockey at Leaside Gardens starts for another season.

For my twin brother Tim and me, hockey was the great constant in our young lives growing up in Leaside. I remember so vividly my first practice for our first season of house league when I think we were nine. I wore a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey with the number 16 fashioned with white hockey tape on the back. I had no hockey socks as I’d never played organized hockey. So I wore a pair of my mother’s purple wool leotards again with white hockey tape masquerading as stripes. It looked faintly ridiculous. [click to continue…]

Leaside Memorial Community Gardens SketchOn Sunday, September 24th, Leaside Memorial Community Gardens celebrated its 65th anniversary of serving the community.

Working with our partner Sarah & Claire’s Food Drive, this celebratory event launched a friendly competition among the Gardens’ three major user groups – Leaside Hockey Association, Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey League, and the Leaside Skating Club – as well as the Leaside Curling Club. Dubbed The Hunger Games, the two-week long competition asks members of the Gardens and the Club (along with their families and friends) to collect as many donations as possible for the Daily Bread Food Bank. On Oct. 6th, the competition will conclude and the user group with the most donations will be crowned winner. [click to continue…]

Carol. Photo By Barry Samuel.

Photo By Barry Samuel.

Way back in January of this year, I began a series on health and wellness featuring two Leasiders – Carol Townsley and Dave Sparrow. Since many of us may be noticing the summer indulgences showing up around our waistlines about now, I decided to check in with one of our intrepid “guinea pigs,” Carol, to see how she has been doing since our last interview in April. I was excited to hear that she has stayed the course on her path to weight loss and wellness and is feeling better than ever.

The summer months can be a very difficult time to stay on a nutrition and fitness plan. BBQs, vacations, sweet summer cocktails and ice-cold quaffs of chardonnay and beer are temptations that many people just can’t pass up during the hot months. [click to continue…]

Barb Gosse’s crusade to end human trafficking Leaside People: Meet Your Neighbours

BarbBarb Gosse’s route to becoming CEO of the Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking was certainly not a straight one.

The Airdrie Rd. resident was originally an urban planner who moved to Leaside with her husband more than a quarter century ago. When husband Wayne and Barb were house-hunting in 1991, they weren’t even aware of Leaside as a community. They were living in a tiny house on the Danforth and looking at neighbourhoods like the Beach and Playter Estates. Then, their agent showed them a property on Airdrie, where they would be the second owners of a well-loved house. This one felt right, and has been the home where they raised three sons, all of whom attended local schools and are now adults. [click to continue…]

MacNaughton Road The Streets of Leaside

The Town of Leaside was laid out in 1912 as a railway town by entrepreneurs Sir William Mackenzie and Sir Donald Mann, owners of the Canadian Northern Railway. They had purchased 1,000 acres of land between Bayview Ave. and Leslie St. north of the airfield and hired Montreal landscape architect Frederick Gage Todd to lay out and subdivide this area. Not too surprisingly, Mackenzie and Mann named the new streets for friends, relatives, well-known politicians, and others they admired. [click to continue…]

Curtis Evoy

Cutis Evoy. Photo Courtesy of SVP Media.

For Grade 8 student Curtis Evoy, the class trip from Terrace Bay to Toronto, which included a visit to Allan Gardens, changed his life. When he finished high school, he enrolled at Seneca College in Horticulture, and has now spent 29 years working in the field for the City of Toronto, most recently at Toronto’s famed Allan Gardens.

Evoy and his family moved to leafy Leaside 11 years ago. Curtis’s wife, Virginia, had taught at the Children’s Garden School and she thought Leaside would be a good place to raise a family. Their children attended local schools and are now doing post-secondary schooling outside Toronto.

Before coming to Allan Gardens, Curtis spent nine years at St. James Park near St. James Cathedral where his mentor was Kew Garden-trained George Hetherington, and then he worked for 11 years at Riverdale Park in Cabbagetown. [click to continue…]

Four new members to join the Leaside Sports Hall of Fame

The Leaside Sports Hall of Fame will add four new members at its annual induction ceremony in November. Two of the new inductees were recently profiled in the pages of Leaside Life: distance runner Robert Moore and boxer Shawn O’Sullivan. The other two are NHL hockey player Dave Gardner and former recreation director of the Town of Leaside Phil Stein. The four will be inducted at a community reception on Fri., Nov. 17, in the William Lea Room at Leaside Gardens. More information is available at www.LeasideSports.com and tickets for the event can be purchased at the website or at the arena. In Oct. the committee will announce the name of Leaside’s Athlete of the Year, who will also be honoured at the ceremony in November. [click to continue…]

Alhayak family.

Photo by Jennifer Rajasekar.

Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and perhaps no one has more to be thankful for than Amjad Alhayak.

Amjad is a refugee from Syria, newly settled in our community, and the first thing he mentions is how grateful he is to have made his way with his family to Leaside and the Thorncliffe Neighborhood Office where they found food, clothing and shelter from a generous and caring community.

“We are lucky to be living in Canada,” he says. “There are precious rights and freedoms, and people feel safe and secure.”

The story of how the Alhayak family are building a new life in Canada is a textbook example of what can be achieved when people work together. [click to continue…]

The Leaside Gardener: A tribute to the Northern Spy Apple

We have a wonderful history of apples here in Leaside thanks to John Lea and his son William, who dedicated most of their farmland to apple orchards. Not just any apple either, but the Northern Spy Apple, also known as King or Northern Pie Apple, and with good reason. There is no better apple for baking than this one. Its firm, juicy flesh holds its shape and texture when heated but does so much more than that. This is a full flavour apple with hints of pear, cherry and spice that come through whether eaten fresh or heated, making it a top choice for juices and exceptional ciders too.

When John Lea started his farm in 1819, he must have heard some talk about a new apple variety being cultivated in East Bloomfield, New York. This particular apple was discovered at an orchard there in the 1800s and was being cultivated with great success. It took a number of years, but this apple’s popularity quickly spread throughout New York and the Northeast. [click to continue…]

Meet the principals, Part 2 Back to School

Donato Di Paulo. Photo By Janis Fertuck.

Photo By Janis Fertuck.

Leaside has welcomed another new principal. He is Donato Di Paolo of St. Anselm Catholic School, who came from Canadian Martyrs Catholic School in East York, where he was principal for three years.

Mr. Di Paolo studied history at York University before earning his teaching degree in Perth, Australia. He also has specialist qualifications in Religious Studies and Special Education, and a Master’s degree in Critical Literacy from Mount St. Vincent University.

Mr. Di Paolo’s teaching career began at two Toronto Catholic District schools in the west end, and served for three years as vice-principal at St. Jane Frances School in the Jane-Sheppard area. This high needs school, for a time, was the largest elementary school in the Catholic board. Over the years, he has served on a number of committees, including those dealing with Twenty-First Century Learning, Special Education, and the Effective Use of Technology. [click to continue…]

Men with axes invade Leaside!

Shane Skillen and Tyler Lang prepare for the Men with Axes fundraiser. Photo by Ginny Clark Hicks.

Leasiders travelling on Esandar Dr. behind Longo’s on the evening of Sat., Oct. 14 might be startled to see a number of men throwing axes in the parking lot of Amsterdam Brewery. They might think they’ve stumbled onto a movie set in the Middle Ages or a lumberjack camp. In fact, it’s the site of a fundraising event held by Bessborough Elementary and Middle School, their second annual “Men with Axes” evening.

Axe-throwing tournaments, the latest fad in recreational and team-building activities, are also a popular form of fundraising. Leaside’s upcoming event for swinging dads is run by BATL Axe Throwing Co., which has been in business since 2006 and has several locations across Canada. The evening starts off with expert instruction in the art of axe-throwing, followed by a tournament, and concluding with a prime rib dinner, prizes and auctions. [click to continue…]

Karli attempts to forge iron. Photo by Tom Mourgas.

Karli attempts to forge iron. Photo by Tom Mourgas.

Blacksmithing always brings to mind a certain era. Ages of old when Black Creek Pioneer Village may have been a bustling downtown core, when horses were hondas, and dragons were the stuff of legends.

Back then, it would have been rare to see a female blacksmith, but today, Leaside’s blacksmith Tom Mourgas says women are the way of the future and he couldn’t be happier about it. A third-generation blacksmith, Tom owns Metro Iron Works and says he’s had more women than men come to him to learn the trade and says female interest in blacksmithing is definitely on the rise. [click to continue…]

Photo Credit: Good Times Running

A wise person once said, “The only way you’ll catch me running is if someone is chasing me!” A wiser person hears about the Monster Dash and can’t wait to run! Or walk.

On Sunday, October 29th, batmen, princesses, ninja turtles, and other characters will participate in the sixth annual Monster Dash in Sunnybrook Park. While costumes aren’t mandatory, there are tons of prizes for best get-ups worn by kids, pets, adults, and groups. [click to continue…]

Photo By Robin Dickie.

There is plenty of buzz on Bayview these days. It seems every other shop is new or opening soon. For those of us who pass by daily, it can be hard to keep up.

Here’s a quick rundown of some of the new businesses on the strip:

2 BROS CUISINE: Formerly Rosie’s Kitchen, this place offers a taste of the Mediterranean, namely chicken shawarma, gyros, kebab, falafel, Greek or tabouli salad, samosas and more. Oh, and poutine, for good measure. I haven’t tried it yet, but if the Leaside Community Facebook page is any indication, the locals are loving it. Open daily until 10 p.m. (1549 Bayview)

ALPHA 2 OMEGA: European fashion for men and women. This little shop is next to the Toronto Hapkido Academy. Their store offers the latest styles in bags, purses and accessories, unique shoes and clothes. (1669 Bayview) [click to continue…]

Catching up with the Trace Manes playground revitalization

It has been just over two years since Jillian Walsh and a group of her friends approached me to discuss the future of the playground at Trace Manes Park. Much has happened since then with boundless hard work, love and passion. Soon, the entire community will benefit.

Although the playground is a favourite spot of many, there is a great deal of room for improvement. The wading pool is over 50 years old, and because of maintenance issues it didn’t open this year until July. The portable playground equipment was originally supposed to be temporary – brought in when the last set was deemed unsafe. And, a major issue is that the playground itself is not fully accessible. [click to continue…]

Why are there so many houses for lease in Leaside?

Recent leases of semi-detached two-storey homes in Leaside ranged from $2,800-$3,500/month while detached homes with three or more bedrooms leased for $3,300-$4,299/month. Bungalows typically rent for around $2,500/month. Recent leases were for 93-101% of the asking rent and on average were on the market for 24 days. Of course, the rent varies depending on the location and amount of updating. Not surprisingly, homes on busy roads such as Eglinton rent for less than those on more desirable streets.

It feels strange to be writing an article about Leaside real estate while sitting in my family room at the cottage overlooking a tranquil lake. However, having recently retired from a 34-year career as a real estate salesperson and manager, it feels pretty good. Hopefully my experience will allow me to provide you with some insight into the market. [click to continue…]

Which one are you: a NIMBY or a YIMBY?

Crosstown metrolinks diagram

As a Leasider I found the recent media controversy about “NIMBY” vs “YIMBY” in Toronto quite disturbing. Much of the media coverage seemed intent on pitting homeowners and established communities against those facing a genuine need for housing. There was more than a whiff of resentment toward people who already own their homes and value their neighbourhoods’ character and amenities, particularly in wealthier areas. [click to continue…]

Two-time Canadian champion leads the Rolph Road School Trailblazers

Campbell Bryson (centre) and the Trailblazers celebrate a good ride.

Campbell Bryson (centre) and the Trailblazers celebrate a good ride. Photo by Heather Gershon.

Torontonians are fortunate to have access to a wealth of trails for hiking, walking, running, inline skating…and for the kids of Rolph Road School, mountain biking.

Every Monday, when the weather is dry, the Rolph Road Trailblazers head to the Don Valley trails leading down from the Redway Loblaws and experience the thrills of mountain biking. This isn’t your stationary bike-type experience. With the constant variation of terrain and elevation, mountain biking challenges riders to use both upper and lower body muscles to maintain balance and tackle obstacles. [click to continue…]

Take your life in your hands at this intersection?

The intersection causing all the discussion.

The intersection causing all the discussion. Photo by Robin Dickie

Duck you, witch!

If you’re good at anagrams, you shouldn’t have a hard time figuring out the true meaning of these three words.

That’s what two guys in their 30s driving a new Acura SUV recently called my wife as we were attempting to cross Parkhurst Blvd., walking north on Bayview to our apartment.

We had entered the street ahead of the SUV, but these two hot shots saw an opening in the backed up Sunday traffic and went for it, cutting us off to get across Bayview to Soudan Ave. before the oncoming southbound traffic would arrive.

My wife yelled out, “How about a little consideration for pedestrians?” They responded with some “witty” retort, after which my wife responded with some equally “witty” words of her own (not cool, we realize), to which they responded with those three lovely words mentioned at the beginning. [click to continue…]