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The name game: What should Leaside’s laneways be called?

Streets of leaside with laneways drawn outLast issue we put out the call for names for Leaside’s five laneways. We got mail!

Badali Alley, Lisa Lebitka Lane, Fishwich Lane, Mohring Lane, Mrs. Park’s Lane – all interesting possibilities for naming the remaining lanes in Leaside.  

Badali Alley

The suggestion for Badali Alley came from Mark Badali, who lives on Airdrie. His father, John, grew up in Leaside and played baseball at Trace Manes and Talbot parks.  According to Mark, “apparently, he was a pretty good hitter and the guys on the team said he often hit to a specific area of the outfield, which they called Badali Alley.” 

The Badali family boasts a long Leaside history, starting in the 1930s and continuing to today, both living here and running successful businesses in our area – not only Badali’s Fruit Market, but also Badali’s Esso on Village Station Road, and Baymanor Realty. The laneway between Bayview and Donegall might be a good possibility. One complication with this naming is that Councillor Josh Matlow has already proposed the naming of a lane northwest of Eglinton and Bayview in honour of the Badali family. Can there be two?

Lebitka Lane

Sharon Stanley of Airdrie Rd. proposed naming the laneway between Airdrie and Sutherland to honour Lisa Lebitka, the mother of three children who was murdered in her home on Airdrie in 2011. Through their father, Mike Donaldson, I learned that “the kids are fine with this (possibility).”

Fishwich Lane

Driving on McRae now, you wouldn’t know that adjacent to where that same laneway comes out to McRae was a business known to Jason Ash as “Tom’s Fish & Chips” when he was growing up and attending Bessborough. On alternating Mondays, Jason’s dad would treat him to fish and chips at Tom’s. Later, Jason would go in on his own to enjoy great halibut and chips, wrapped in paper, or prepared as a sandwich between two slices of white bread. He fondly remembers his chats with Tom, which ended when Tom sold the business and retired in 1994, just as Jason was heading off to Leaside High. Jason would like to commemorate this laneway as “Fishwich Lane.” A fishy idea?

Mohring Lane

Bianca Da Costa suggested Mohring Lane for the laneway in North Leaside parallel to Eglinton and Donlea between Laird and Sutherland. The name would honour Rosemarie Mohring, who has lived in North Leaside for 65 years, most recently on Laird. As her three boys were growing up, they all played street hockey in the lane. Rosemarie is a force to contend with. In her Toronto District School Board high school teaching days, she was known as “Mighty Mouse” by some of her students. She might have been short, but she was tough. She also has style. You might have seen her driving her signature red Jaguar around the neighbourhood. 

Mrs. Park’s Lane

Mrs. Park was a real woman who lived on Millwood opposite Leaside United Church and started Mrs. Park’s Nursery at Leaside United Church in 1961. At one point, it seemed as if you might need to sign up your child before birth to get him/her into the popular school. Our daughters were lucky participants in the 1970s. Laurie Rodgers of Sutherland Dr. suggested that a laneway to honour the memory of Mrs. Park would be appropriate.

And as you will see on the Letters page, there were other suggestions, too – either more personal to a particular family, or more generic. There may also be particular people we wish to honour who don’t have a geographic connection to a given laneway location, such as the Mrs. Park suggestion and others not yet mentioned.

Are we getting closer?

To have any of them make it to City Council, our councillor Jon Burnside needs to conduct a formal polling of the immediate neighbours to “buy in” for that particular laneway. 

Let him know what you think.