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The family that wears those great hats

Eleanore WynnEleanore Wynn’s favourite Leaside location is her own home, the house on Randolph Rd, where she’s lived all her life, first with her parents and now on her own.

“My parents paid $5,000 for it in 1940,” says Wynn, now 72, “It was a Brockington style home, designed by the family of one of my classmates at Leaside High.”  (Arthur William and his sons, George and Horace Brockington, built many homes in the Tudor revival style in Leaside and Toronto),

When built it was the only house on the street, surrounded by open fields. “You could see a few houses on Sutherland,” says Wynn.

Following a 37-year career at what today is known as the tax, audit and consultancy firm of Deloitte, Wynn took early retirement to take care of her mother.

Many neighbours remember Nettie Wynn well, walking about the community wearing one of her wonderful hats. She lived to be 100 and was able to remain at home in the care of her daughter until a year and a half before her death,

Eleanor inherited her mother’s fashion sense and often adds one of her still stylish hats to an outfit.

Where did she go to school? 

“Rolph Road, which had opened a few years earlier, and then Leaside High. On my first day of school in grade 9 I met lifelong friends, Judy (Morgan) Cassidy, Karen (Fishlock) Paavila and Jane (Hoare) Aitken. We still get together at least once a year.”

After high school, Wynn graduated from teacher’s college, but was more interested in pursing a career in a business environment. This led her to Deloitte,

What does she enjoy in the neighbourhood?

There’s not much Wynn hasn’t participated in here through the years. She’s curled at the rink (where she and her parents were charter members), played at the Tennis Club, and as a child took figure skating and swimming lessons at the “old” arena and pool.

She continues to be an active member and volunteer at Leaside United Church, a place she’s been a part of since her baptism at three months of age.

“I love that church,” she says. “It’s a very special place for me.”

Like many neighbours, Wynn figures that her stretch of Randolph Rd. is one of the best in the community.

“I’ve got wonderful neighbours, “she says, “and I love seeing all the young families now on our street, watching kids playing like we did when we were young.”

What do you wish was different in the neighbourhood? 

“Traffic is so much more of an issue than it was when I was growing up. And as children we were allowed to go anywhere by ourselves and feel safe, especially the 25 cent movies on Bayview.”

Is there something that people might not know about her? 

“I’m a ‘Red Hat’ lady,” she says. Red Hats are groups of women across North America determined to greet middle age with humour and energy.

Although activities vary, all adhere to the advice in the famous poem by Jenny Joseph: ‘When I am an old woman I shall wear purple/With a red hat that doesn’t go and doesn’t suit me.’