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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…]

LETTERS – October 2017

Re: Will Ashworth’s Business of Leaside column,
“To hell with pedestrians”

Given that a stoplight at Parkhurst and Bayview would drastically increase the dangers to the many children walking to and from school, Will’s contention is categorically wrong. Parkhurst has been harder hit than many Leaside streets, as it’s a clear path from Bayview to Laird and an excellent bypass instead of Eglinton. To say that Parkhurst families will see a dramatic increase in traffic should a light be installed, is an understatement. There are other alternatives which are being looked at including moving or eliminating the crosswalk. For the safety of the families who live on Parkhurst, it would be merciful for the City, should they deem it necessary, to delay putting in a set of lights until the Eglinton Crosstown is complete.

Catherine Bertmount [click to continue…]

Leaside Viaduct enters its 10th decade

Leaside Viaduct

On October 29 raise a glass to celebrate the Leaside Viaduct as it enters its 10th decade.

Built in 1927, the Leaside Viaduct (aka Millwood or Leaside bridge) over the Don Valley was a game changer for the Town of Leaside. The bridge drastically improved access from the south and east to the community and stimulated a building boom in the 1930s that continued into the ’40s. The impressive structure, which has since been widened to accommodate more vehicles, tends to be overlooked in favour of its more famous cousin to the south, the Prince Edward Viaduct (Bloor St.). [click to continue…]

This is why Vanderburg must pick up every piece of garbage

When I took on the personal mission of becoming the litter police in Leaside, I did so for many reasons.

I like a clean park for my son, grandchildren and all children to play in, so I pick up random litter at the Trace Manes children’s parkette. I like a clean vista to gaze upon over morning coffee, so I worked with the Leaside Library to put a litter abatement program in place. I like to play tennis, so I worked with the Leaside Tennis Club to keep the courts and grounds clean. I want the Trace Manes sports fields, dugouts and bleachers to be clean for all users and neighbours, so I advise the City and the permit holders when things get a little too messy. I worked with the Boy Scouts to clean up strings and branches after their annual Christmas tree sale. And I continue to clean up on those days I walk around the park. I also like a clean neighbourhood, so I worked with the BIA, Leaside Gardens, Leaside United Church and Gyro Mazda to keep their areas clean. And I hoped other Leasiders would join in to keep their sidewalk and street areas clean or adopt a favourite green space. I hoped I could inspire Leasiders to show they care. [click to continue…]

The Curious Idler – October 2017

“Seas Gu Dileas” Calling all former Leaside High School students and staff

Seventy-two years ago, as World War II was drawing to a close, Leaside High School (LHS) was welcoming its first students. In a few short years from now, in 2020, Leaside High School will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. Former student Larry Hurd and others have organized a Leaside High School Alumni General Meeting to strike a new committee to oversee the upcoming event. The committee will be responsible for setting direction for alumni including the website, reunions, and scholarships. All former students and staff – and anyone else interested in getting involved – are invited to the meeting on Sun., Oct. 22nd at 1:30 – Leaside Pub, 190 Laird Dr. For more information or to get involved, email: alumni@leasidehighshool.com. [click to continue…]

Bayview properties up for heritage listing

Example of Bayview/Leaside buildings in line for heritage listing.

Example of Bayview/Leaside buildings in line for heritage listing.

Forty-three Bayview commercial properties, including 31 on the east (Leaside) side and 12 on the west (Davisville) side are recommended for listing under the Ontario Heritage Act. City Council will decide on October 2nd. Really! Accustomed as we are to hearing about heritage losses through “as of right” demolition, such as at Stollery’s (Bloor and Yonge) and the BMO Bank building at 2444 Yonge St., this seems like a breakthrough. But what does “listing” accomplish Will affected property owners lose their right to make changes to their properties?

[click to continue…]

Noteworthy and disappointing: 30 Parkhurst Blvd. and 34 Cameron Cres.


30 Parkhurst Boulevard

30 Parkhurst Boulevard

Two recent decisions, one from the OMB involving an appeal by the LPOA of a Committee of Adjustment decision, and the other involving a Committee of Adjustment decision, are noteworthy – and disappointing.

Both cases concerned applications for minor variances involving demolition and replacement of the existing dwellings: original two-storey houses in Tudor Revival style, each part of an ensemble of similar (but individually unique) homes in intact blocks on their respective streets, Parkhurst and Cameron. [click to continue…]