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F E B R UA R Y 201 8

Leaside Life

No. 69

Road warrior: Leaside’s Laila Biali takes her act on the road

Leaside High grad and entrepreneur Scott Mason page 14


By HAILEY EISEN Canadian jazz musician Laila Biali has become a bit of a road warrior of late. In the midst of launching her seventh album, the award-winning pianist and singer-songwriter spends more time in hotels than she does at home. Still, she says, her favourite place to land is always her cozy Leaside bungalow with her son, Joshua, and her husband and fellow musician Ben Wittman. The 37-year-old has presented her music at prestigious venues spanning five continents including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Tokyo’s Cotton Club, Peru’s Festival Internacional de Poesía de Lima, and Carnegie Hall in New York. She has toured with GRAMMY award winners Chris Botti, Paula Cole, and Suzanne Vega, and recorded with and supported international star Sting. Most recently, she was brought on as host of the national CBC radio show, Saturday Night Jazz. Despite the acclaim she’s garnering world-wide, if you were to meet Laila on Bayview you’d be greeted with the warmth and kindness of someone who values family, community and friendship above all else. The Vancouver-native and Humber College graduate was living and working in Brooklyn, New York, before making the big move north. “In September 2015, we loaded all of our earthly possessions onto a 26-ft. Penske truck and drove ourselves, lock stock and barrel, up to Canada,” Laila recalls. The couple had each turned down huge career opportunities – Laila to be on a major



LAILA, Page 2



Jazz musician and Leaside mom Laila Biali.



Leaside Life • February 2018


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Laila... From Cover NBC primetime show, The Meredith Vieira Show, and Ben to play in the stage musical Hamilton (before anyone had heard of it) – to make a better life for their family in Toronto. “We came to Canada for the healthcare and quality of life, and chose Leaside for the excellent schools and access to nature,” Laila says. With her son in Grade 2 at Rolph Road, Laila has joined the community by way of the schoolyard. This past December, she performed alongside Rolph’s new music teacher, Chris Bailey, at the school’s annual Winter Fest event. “We’ve been welcomed with open arms to Leaside, and feel fortunate to live in such a lovely community,” she says. Laila grew up in a similar neighbourhood in North Vancouver. She was drawn to music from the time she was a toddler. Despite her passion, she was awarded a science scholarship to the University of British Columbia and had her sights set on becoming a medical practitioner like her older sister. “That all changed when, basically on a whim, I decided to move to Toronto and

study jazz at Humber, just for the fun of it,” Laila recalls. Balancing motherhood and the unpredictable schedule of a professional musician has proved challenging at times, but Laila handles it all with grace. “Things get busy, often too busy,” she says, “but if you keep love and meaningful connection at the centre of everything you do, it’s okay for things to be a bit ‘unbalanced’ at times.” Her new self-titled album LAILA BIALI, which she co-produced with her husband Ben, launched January 26, and combines original songs and beautifully reimagined covers of David Bowie, Coldplay, and more. With plans to tour her album across Canada, the US, Europe, Asia, and Australia for the remainder of 2018, Laila says she has a few tricks up her sleeve to make her time away from home easier. “What’s most important to me is that I engage with others, even people I don’t know,” she says. “Strangers can become friends when you’re on the road. Those human connections definitely brighten the journey.” Her Toronto album release will be held at Jazz Bistro on February 13. For all tour dates and to learn more about Laila’s music, visit ■

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Francess Halpenny has died at the by Canadian universities and was age of 98. named a Companion of the Order Halpenny joined the of Canada. Francess Halpenny University of Toronto Halpenny was a trailPress as an editor in blazer for female aca1941 upon graduating demics and in some with a Master’s degree ways a Leaside pioneer in English language as well. “My father and literature. She was the manager of served a two-year stint Tamblyn’s Drug Store in the RCAF as a meteat Laird and Eglinton,” orological observer in she told me when I met Newfoundland and with her last summer. PEI before returning “Northlea United to the Press where Church began in my she became, in the words of histoparents’ living room, at 32 Glenbrae rian Christopher Moore, “surely the Ave. The man responsible wanted greatest Canadian scholarly editor of my parents to form the church – they the second half of the 20th century – already had the site in Leaside. My should we just say ever?” mother was a very capable woman, During her long career Halpenny very good at talking and a good was from 1969-1988 the General person to go door to door. There were Editor of the Dictionary of Canadian a lot of returned veterans moving into Biography, and from 1972-78 Dean North Leaside right after the war.” of the Faculty of Library Science She was a charter member of (now Information Studies) at U of T Northlea United when it was founded and professor of library sciences. She in 1949. “I didn’t attend much in the was awarded 11 honorary degrees MEMORIAM, Page 10

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Leaside Life • February 2018

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Dressmaker extraordinaire sews success Inspired by her mother who made clothes for the entire family, a young girl in Tashkent, Uzbekistan started making outfits for her dolls. From dolls it didn’t take long before young Irene Estrin graduated to somewhat larger models. Her expertise and creativity have earned her a reputation as Leaside’s most popular dressmaker. After studying at the Textile Institute in Tashkent, and spending three years working at a bridal salon in Jerusalem, Irene Estrin arrived in Canada with her husband in 1998. Soon after, she opened a basement studio at Bayview and Balliol. She’s been sewing in Leaside ever since. (See her website Three years later, she moved to the corner of Bayview and Belsize, ending up in a third floor unit. Throughout her years on


Leaside Life • February 2018


Above: Irene at work. Left: her wall of accolades.

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Bayview, Irene built up her business by doing alterations, designing and creating clothes and producing home decor items such as curtains and pillowcases. Then one day someone from Becker’s Bridal Fashions spotted her sign “The Art of Alteration” and asked if she could alter wedding dresses. Irene says that was “her dream come true.” Today these alterations make up half of her business and her studio is top of the list for a number of bridal salons. At least one bride-to-be graces her shop every day. Irene loves the challenge of making each bridal gown compliment-worthy. “I’m here to make people happy,” she says. A wall in her studio covered with wedding photos and notes from grateful clients is testament to the fact that she does just that. Two years ago when faced with a rent hike on Bayview, Irene moved to a retail condo at 201 Wicksteed Ave. The advantages here are the ground floor location, ample free parking, a brighter and more modern space, and more room for Irene’s team of seamstresses, as well as bridal parties who like to come as a group for fittings. (Think Say Yes to the Dress.) Irene’s business has not suffered a stitch from the move and her patrons enjoy the new space, finding it more comfortable and convenient than the location on Bayview. Some of Irene’s more unusual jobs include making costumes for an Egyptian dance troupe and new leather covers for the massage tables at the Canadian College of Massage and Hydrotherapy. Once, working only from a photo, Irene made a gown and bolero for a bride. She has done emergency jobs for weddings in a day or two, and is very accommodating for regulars who need something in a hurry. For all of these reasons, Irene receives high praise in the community and on Internet sites such as Yelp where reviews comment on her “expertise and attention to detail” and her “terrific service” at reasonable prices. She even received a Best of North Toronto Award in 2013 after being nominated by local comedy couple Debra McGrath and Colin Mochrie. “I work from my heart and do my best for everyone,” she says. The results are literally on clients’ backs. ■

Leaside Life • February 2018




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Not your average beer-league basketball players Pop into the Bessborough School gym any Thursday night, and you might think you’re witnessing a typical group of middle-aged men sweating it out in beer-league basketball. But look more closely and you’ll understand that what you’re really witnessing is the essence of community. The Leaside Basketball Association (LBA) formed in 2004 when Leasiders Jack McFadden and Laurel Neal attended a Raptorssponsored basketball clinic for kids led by former NBAer Mitchell Wiggins at Leaside High School. Eager to gain the same basketball skills, the pair approached Wiggins to ask if he would be willing to train adults in the neighbourhood. Using the Bessborough gym as their home base, a group of Leasiders assembled, and with Wiggins’ help, the LBA was born. The association has featured a core group of players for the majority of its 13 years, but every so often, thanks to injury or a move, a roster shift is made and players are either replaced or moved to what the league calls their “booster” squad

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support network for our middle age crisis days!” LBAer Jamie McPhail (Sea Biscuit) and his family moved from Leaside to Texas for three years and notes, “I remember when I was in Texas that every Thursday night I’d feel like I was missing something, which


Leaside Life • February 2018


Ready for action! (those who socialize with the team). The group now numbers some 20 players and 15 boosters ranging in age from the 40s to early 60s. Who are these players? You may know them from the neighbourhood, but would you be able to identify them by their basketball nicknames? After 13 years together, even the LBA players often forget the real names of some of their teammates – Chopper, Sea Biscuit, Kobe, Kilo, Teen Wolf, Silverado, and Kodak. While basketball was what initially drew this group together, the social aspects of the league are what have truly cemented their relationships. After each game on a Thursday, the group often consumes more calories than expended on the court with post-game celebrations at the Leaside Pub. Other social events, to which players’ partners are invited, include an annual spring banquet where trophies are awarded as well as a formal Christmas dinner. Many other social gatherings take place throughout the year, including football games with the players’ kids. And what would a good community group be without trips to celebrate members’ birthdays? As player Mike Morin points out, the LBA is, in essence, “an over-40 frat-type

I was of course.” Thankfully, the McPhails have moved back and are extremely happy to be reunited with their LBA family. Resplendent in their Dragon uniforms, the LBA have taken their basketball skills on the road in the past few years, competing in tournaments in Guelph, Halifax, and St. John’s. This May, the group will be participating in the Dublin Masters International Tournament (Guinness factory tours and golf games have obviously already been booked). While the group is topped out in terms of numbers, it is never topped out in the camaraderie and goodwill among members. This is a group of players and family members who began as strangers but who have grown over the years to become the closest of friends as well as partners in the community. According to Morin, “the LBA supports each other and has supported several community efforts in the past from toy drives to raising funds for groups in and outside the community. We have watched our families go through various stages of life as kids grow up and parents pass on, and in the end we are always there to support each other.” ■

Lots of great minds worked on Research Road RESEARCH RD. 150

By JEANNE HOPKINS Tucked between Wicksteed and Vanderhoof, east of Brentcliffe, is a street with the unassuming name of Research Road, home today of companies like Uberdog Hotel. But it’s here that some very serious research indeed took place during World War II, and it’s this research that gave the street its rather literal name. A Crown corporation called Research Enterprises Limited (REL for short), which existed for a brief six years, became the largest single employer in Leaside employing more than 7,500 people and occupying a sprawling site. Leading engineers, scientists and technicians were employed there to develop military equipment for radar trucks to support the war effort. REL produced over $220 million of precision optical equipment, such as their well-known binoculars. They manufactured top-quality equipment for radar trucks and other radar equipment from 1940 until closing in September, 1946. Just as impressive as the equipment is the fact that REL employed an equal number of men and women to help the war effort. Because of a shortage of staff, REL employees worked 60-hour shifts daily until enough people could be hired and hours were reduced to 45-hour stints. After the war, these operations were taken over by the

National Research Council, and in 1944 Turbo Research, a new Crown corporation devoted to the design and development of propulsion of gas turbine engines. On October 2, 1945, REL was sold to the Corning Glass Company for $150,000. After the war ended, the original property was gradually sold for practical development and housing to a variety of companies, and in 1946, the remaining 13 buildings and 88 acres were bought by Rogers-Majestic (the original Rogers Communications), which had consolidated its operations. Jeanne Hopkins spent most of her life in the historic Henry Farm community of North York. She realized her passion for local history in the Canadiana department of the North York Public Library, where she worked for 27 years. She is the author of many articles and five books of local history. ■




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Leaside Life • February 2018



Leaside Life • February 2018


Memories of Bayview Growing up at the corner of Parkhurst and Donegall ensured that Bayview was a very familiar strip for me. My mother would do at least some of the family grocery shopping on Bayview. She was a dedicated customer of Rawley’s Meats and Badali’s Fruit Market. In fact, she’d often phone in an order to Badali’s rather than walk up to the store. The next day, whether anyone was home or not, Dominic Badali, the friendly hockey-playing son (Dixie Beehives, as I recall), would fetch the house key we’d secreted near our back door, and enter our home with a heavy cardboard box precariously perched on his shoulder. He’d leave it, and the carbon copy handwritten bill, on the counter. That’s the kind of customer service that was the standard in our community in the 1970s. I still see Dom now and then when I’m strolling along Bayview. He looks just the same to me. My twin brother Tim and I made countless trips to what was then called Mac’s Milk at the corner of Bayview and Manor Rd., to pick up, you guessed it, milk. My mother’s dreaded refrain, “we need more

Terry Fallis Columnist

milk,” always seem to coincide with the start of our favourite TV programs. But we could make the Mac’s Milk run in about four minutes timed with the first set of commercials so we didn’t miss too much. There were other stores on Bayview that Tim and I frequented much more than our mother. There used to be an old fashioned smoke shop on the east side of Bayview just south of Parkhurst – think of it as the corner store – where we’d buy chips and chocolate bars whenever we had a few stray coins in our pockets. Claire’s Cigar Store on the west side at Manor Rd. had a better chocolate bar selection but it was a little farther away. You could buy almost anything at Claire’s. I remember saving up and buying a hunting knife ($2.50!) in a leather sheath that I wore on my belt in the summer around our cottage.

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Yes, it’s true. As a twelve year old, I bought a hunting knife on Bayview without so much as a note from my parents, let alone a background check. Times have changed. One of our favourite haunts on Bayview was a couple of doors down from Claire’s. Dante’s Pizza, long gone now, served some of the best pizza we’d ever eaten. I think it opened when my brother and I were about 14. Back then, we obviously needed a lot of nourishment. Sometimes instead of going directly home after school, we’d furtively slip past our own house and make our way up Bayview to Dante’s. We’d proceed to eat an entire pizza and then go home for dinner. In later years, we’d also surreptitiously consume two orders of sweet and sour chicken balls and rice from China Food (Piping hot!) on Millwood before our parents arrived home. Then we’d sit around the dining room table and have family dinner. Our parents were none the wiser even if we were very much the fuller. Other stores on Bayview I well remember include Norwegian Ski Shop (whose roof was accessible via a sturdy television antenna – and that’s all I’ll ever say about that), Sweet Talk Beauty Salon where my mother was a regular, McLeish’s Drug Store, the barber shop where Joe and Leo cut my hair for years, Leonard’s Hobby Shop where I’d salivate over the airplane models, Richardson’s for Sports where we’d buy hockey sticks, and the Bayview Camera Centre at Millwood that always had that faint chemical smell when you walked in the door. In fact, each store had its own particular fragrance (sounds nicer than “smell”) that we came to know over the years. I think I could identify any of those establishments blindfolded by scent alone. They’re all gone now, but I can still see and smell them in my memory’s eye and nose. So much has changed on Bayview yet so much remains the same. Very few of the stores that were around in the 1970s are still in operation today, but there are a few, Badali’s among them. There’s still a convenience store where Mac’s Milk was located and they’re still selling milk and what we called back then “sundries.” But what has never changed – and I hope never will – is that strong community vibe you get walking up and down the double-wide Bayview sidewalks on a Saturday morning. It still feels the same to me. ■


Janis Fertuck Columnist

Holistic Nutrition in North York. The program consisted of 19 nutrition-related courses that provide essential information about nutrition, exercise, stress management, sleep habits and a sense of community connection, all of which are the keys to holistic health. In his consulting business, Brent deals with both sports nutrition and holistic nutrition. In his sports practice, he works with athletes who want to improve their performance by making “wise nutrition and lifestyle decisions so they can get the best results from their training and thereby improve at their sport.” In his holistic practice, Brent assists families and individuals to “finetune” their nutrition and lifestyle


There is so much information about food and nutrition circulating today that it is easy to get confused about what we should eat. But a local holistic nutritionist, Brent Lockridge, hopes to help Leasiders make more informed choices with his new business, Sustainable Nutrition Consulting. As Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find out what you are good at. The purpose of life is to give it away.” This approach is what motivates Lockridge, who aims to give his clients “the tools they need to make wise food decisions and to simplify their lives, not add another chore to their ‘to-do’ lists.” Brent’s background as an athlete taught him that “good nutrition is fundamental to success in all sports.” He played hockey in Europe, has done Ironman triathlons for 20 years, and coaches middle distance running with Central Toronto Athletic Club. With his deep interest in nutrition, Brent recently completed a full-time program at the Institute of

with personalized action plans to enable them to reach their goals. He helps them make sense of the mixed messages they hear about food so they “can make daily decisions that will lead to health, vitality and longevity.” Brent gives a free 30-minute consultation through his website ■

Leaside Life • February 2018


Brent Lockridge is on a holistic nutrition mission

Leaside Life • February 2018


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Memoriam... From Page 3 early years because I was busy with my academic career. But I had done some acting and speaking around the university so was asked to give a talk at some point in the ’50s. After that I gave sermons occasionally and for many years spoke each year at the last service of the summer before Labour Day.” Halpenny continued her association with Northlea until her death, attending whenever able. “I stay in touch with them,” she said last June, “they were and are a good people.” Halpenny died on Christmas Day surrounded by family at the Veterans Wing of Sunnybrook Hospital where she had lived since 2013. A memorial service will be held on March 26 at Northlea United, with visitation at 10 a.m. and service at 11 a.m. —Allan Williams

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We were saddened to learn of the sudden death of Robert Lowrey on Chr istmas Day. He and his company – wellknown in Leaside for decades – were profiled in the December, 2017 issue of Leaside Life. What the article didn’t mention were his many acts of kindness and goodwill throughout his career, and his love of his wife and daughter. We send condolences to his wife Kim and daughter Katie. ■

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Thank you, Leaside, it’s been a slice

A new adventure My wife (Noela) and I are embarking on a new adventure, moving to Halifax where she’s taken a new job with a new company and I’ll continue to ply my trade as a business and investment columnist for several U.S. and Canadian publications. Although excited about relocating to the East Coast — Noela’s from PEI — we’re going to miss all the friends we’ve made in Toronto during our 13-year marriage, almost nine of those in Leaside. For all the criticism I’ve laid on Leaside’s doorstep in the five years writing my column, I truly loved living here. Be the change you want to see This neighbourhood reminds me of the business book Built to Last by Jim Collins. In it, there’s a quote that I believe encapsulates what prevents Leaside from moving from good to great. “To be built to last you must be built to change.” While we get a lot right, Leaside could be so much better by making a few improvements, the most critical being a greater willingness to accept and promote change accompanied by a more realistic version of community activism. We live in a city of almost six million people. Intensification is inevitable. Traffic is not going away. Fight the battles you can win. Work

Will Ashworth The business of Leaside

with developers to get the kind of buildings that will stand the test of time and help create a neighbourhood where residents of all income levels can live in harmony. My wish as I move away and watch Leaside from afar is a sincere hope that as the neighbourhood grows over the next few years, residents learn to welcome the change taking place because whether we like it or not, it’s going to happen just as sure as we’re all going to die someday. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Memories, I have a few Jane Auster, Leaside Life’s excellent editor, asked me to recollect some of my favourite articles from the past five years and while there are so many to choose from, three stand out in my mind for three very differ-

ent reasons. The first article (June 2016) that speaks to me wasn’t even written by me, but rather the university-aged daughter of our downstairs neighbour. Entitled “Leaside High students have lost their Perk,” Leaside High graduate Hilary Hardie did a fantastic job capturing the heartfelt loss that young people felt over the closure and ultimate demolition of the McDonald’s at the northeast corner of Bayview and Eglinton Aves. Ironically, just a couple of weeks ago, another young friend of ours, Robert Zend-Gabori, who lived in the very same apartment where Hilary and her mom Carolyn Hayes now live, was lamenting how he missed going to the McDonald’s despite having never actually eaten there. It was Leaside’s version of Arnold’s Drive-in. The second article is the March ASHWORTH, Page 15

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Leaside Life • February 2018

All good things must come to an end. My first Business of Leaside column appeared in the January 2013 issue of Leaside Life. I agreed to contribute a monthly column after Harry Goldhar, former owner and editor, asked if I was interested in writing for the paper. A couple of months earlier, not knowing Harry from Adam, I wrote a letter to the editor chastising Leasiders for complaining about the aircraft noise overhead. “I live on Bayview (nearest intersection Parkhurst Blvd.) and the traffic noise most times of the day is high. But you don’t see me complaining about it. Do the people of Leaside have nothing better to do than stay up past 1 a.m. to listen for planes flying overhead? It is NIMBYism to an extent I did not think possible.” And so began my love/hate relationship with the good people of Leaside. Fifty-seven issues later I’m retiring my keyboard.

Leaside Life • February 2018


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

Lorna Krawchuk Publisher Leaside Life

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


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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


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

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


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.

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

Krawchuk Lane

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. ■

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Scott Mason was the school captain at Leaside High School in 2010 with his sights set on political science and law at Queen’s University. Little did he imagine then he would become an entrepreneur in the field of medical equipment. But in 2014, he took part in the Queen’s Innovation Connector Summer Initiative where he and three friends came up with the idea for a device to disinfect cellphones using ultraviolet light, after hearing from a neonatal intensive care nurse that new parents often disregard the ban on cellphones and take photos, despite the dangers of spreading superbugs in hospitals. After coming second in the program’s competition, the group formed a company called CleanSlate UV and piloted the first version of their microwave oven-sized device in three hospitals. There are many benefits to using CleanSlate UV: it can destroy 99.99% of dangerous bacteria in 30 seconds; it’s easy to use; will not damage touch screens unlike chemical wipes; and works on a range of equipment. The founding team – Scott, chief of business development, Graeme Clark, another LHS graduate and chief operating officer, Oleg Baranov, chief design officer, and Taylor Mann, chief executive officer – then travelled to New York to take part in an “accelerator program” where they received additional training and funds. Their major breakthrough came when they were awarded a $500,000 US innovation investment by 43North, the world’s largest business pitch competition in Buffalo in 2015. Scott calls this “the catalyst that enabled the team to raise more money in order to commercialize the product and hire some key staff” with more experience than the four recent graduates. They also received a grant from Ontario Centres of Excellence in 2016. The company now has offices here and in Buffalo, the centre of their American operations, and is partnered with the Olmsted Center for Sight, where visually impaired workers put the finishing touches on the devices manufactured in China, and service and repair them as required. Today CleanSlate products can be found in hospitals in Toronto, Buffalo, New York, Chicago,

Houston and New Zealand. In addition to cellphones and identity badges, they can disinfect hospital equipment such as stethoscopes, ultrasound transducers and ECG/ EKG leads, and can be located in several departments. In food-processing plants in Mississauga, Buffalo and Auckland, they are located where staff wash their hands and are used to clean items being taken into the facility. No surprise, the company is looking to expand sales in Canada and the U.S., and has partnered with medical equipment distributors to do so. They are also “investing in hardware tooling to create more effi- The CleanSlate cient economies of UV team scale for mass production,” Scott says. At the age of 25, the entrepreneur is not sure what his future holds, perhaps joining a managerial consulting firm or studying medicine. But for now he’s pleased to have a CleanSlate UV. ■

New STEM project at LHS Leaside graduate Scott Mason made a presentation about his company CleanSlate UV at an assembly organized by Curriculum Leader Helen Panayiotou last fall to inspire Grade 11 science students working on a new cross-curricular STEM project. More than 160 students from physics, chemistry and biology classes formed groups to develop proposals for functioning products, create prototypes and make final presentations. The teachers were very impressed with the projects, which constituted 10 per cent of the students’ final marks. Some of their creative ideas included a “plastic” bag that will decompose in water, a rack to dry hockey equipment by pumping air into its pipes, an “Epiband” with an EpiPen tucked away for easy access, and the “Milk M-Aid,” which can dispense milk to orphaned or abandoned kittens as well as keep them warm to ensure their survival. ■


Leaside Life • February 2018



Leaside High grad Scott Mason’s got a CleanSlate



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Leaside Life • February 2018

2017 piece by Allan Williams announcing Harry and Ruth Goldhar’s retirement from the paper as well as its sale to current owners Stan Flemming and Jeff Hohner. Allan’s written a lot of good articles in the five years we worked together, including his wonderful series about the churches of Leaside, but it was his personal note at the bottom of the article that reminds me how much I miss working with Harry on the paper. “I learned a lot from his editorial changes, which he always took the time to explain,” Allan wrote. “I have very much enjoyed getting to know Harry and Ruth over the past five years – two wonderful people I can now count as friends.” I share Allan’s sentiments. Leaside Life is so lucky to have had two great owners in its six-year history. Some businesses never get one good steward, let alone two. Continue to support this excellent paper. It’s a unique and special undertaking. The last article that springs to mind is the March 2014 issue where Geoff Kettel and I stood toe-to-toe — not literally, mind you. Harry took separate pictures and then photoshopped them together — debating the fate of Bayview shops as a result of the big-box developments on Laird. Almost four years later, not much has changed. The Bayview strip continues to struggle with empty stores while Laird just gets busier and busier. I’ve not always agreed with Geoff and Carol when it comes to the LPOA’s position on development issues, but as people, they’re first rate. And I’d be remiss not to mention it was the LPOA who provided some of the initial operating funds for the Bayview Leaside Business Improvement Area (BIA). That to me was one of the LPOA’s finest hours. The important thing was we always managed to keep it civil when choosing to disagree, which was often. I'll miss their formidable opposition. I wish every Leaside business — particularly our advertisers who keep the printing presses rolling — nothing but the best in 2018 and beyond. It’s been a slice covering the Business of Leaside. Thank you to Harry, Ruth, Stan, Jeff, and Jane for giving me the opportunity each month to speak my mind. It’s been a genuine pleasure. ■


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Leaside Life • February 2018


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Way back in November 2016, Mayor Tory and I were at Northlea School attending Premier Wynne’s press conference for the announcement of the province’s intent to allow municipalities to use automated speed measuring equipment as an enforcement tool to slow down drivers and make communities safer. In the ensuing 15 months, many have asked: How will this impact Leaside and Bennington Heights? Why haven’t we seen anything yet? Unfortunately, the time between any government’s announcement and realization can be excruciatingly long. Although the Safer Schools Act was officially passed by the legislature last May, the myriad of decisions regarding implementation are ongoing. Of primary importance is deciding exactly where this technology can be used. With an emphasis on pedestrian safety, the province has stipulated that this type of enforcement can only be used in either a School Safety Zone (SSZ) or a Community Safety Zone (CSZ). A SSZ is defined as a linear measurement of 150 metres from school property, which is very restrictive. However, there are no current guidelines for a CSZ and that will likely be up to each municiBURNSIDE, Page 20


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THE LEASIDE CUP Bessborough PS organizes 2nd annual school tourney

Leaside Life • February 2018

By ROBIN DICKIE Everyone knows hockey is big in Leaside. It’s not enough to play for a North York (NYHL) or Greater Toronto (GTHL) team, Leaside kids want to play for their school as well. In the TDSB, schools can either play league hockey or one-day tournaments. Bessborough has traditionally played the one-day. Unfortunately, in previous years, the local kids were slated against teams from elite hockey schools. Ever-enterprising Leaside parents decided to organize a local competition so that skills could be more evenly matched and kids would, ideally, play against some of their neighbourhood friends. Last year, The Leaside Cup was inaugurated for the Grade 5 and 6 age groups, at where else, Leaside Arena. Conveniently, there is ample ice-time during school hours. The first tournament involved three local schools: Bessborough, Rolph Road and Bennington Heights. It was such a success that this year

the Grade 7 and 8 Intermediate teams were included as well. The Leaside Cup has grown to include six schools for each age group. The Grade 5 and 6 co-ed teams played on January 17th and the Grade 7 and 8 teams played on the 18th. TDSB schools were represented by Grade 5/6 teams from Northlea, Bessborough, Rolph Road, Bennington Heights, Deer Park and Forest Hill. Grade 7/8 tournament teams included Bessborough,

Top: Kirti and Caleigh from Northlea. Below: Bessborough and Northlea Intermediates face off in an exhibition game.

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The Cup

Grade 5/6 Winners: Forest Hill

Grade 7/8 Winners: Glen Ames

Leaside AA Flames teammates Nicholas Munn and Stas Mironova (right) played against each other. Nicholas goes to Bessborough and Stas goes to Northlea. Here they pose with Nicholas’s Dad Jeff Munn.

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Leaside Life • February 2018



Northlea, Deer Park, Glen Ames, Hollycrest and Forest Hill. A first place trophy was awarded for each day, as well as ribbons for second and third place. The winners are as follows: Grade 5 and 6: First Place: Forest Hill, Second Place: Bessborough, Third Place: Rolph Road. Grade 7 and 8: First Place: Glen Ames, Second Place: Forest Hill and Third Place: Hollycrest. A huge thanks is owed to parents Tracey Shepard and Sheila Allen, and Bessborough teacher Ritch Couper for organizing the overall events. Also thanks to all the teachers and volunteer parents who offered to help coach the school teams—and to our student volunteer timekeepers! The arena staff was also extremely supportive in supporting and celebrating local school hockey. We hope the Leaside Cup continues for many years to come! ■ Right: Rolph Road wins third.


Leaside Life • February 2018


From Page 16 pality to decide. While many will want their street to be a CSZ, it is likely that Toronto will work closely with local schools as well as vulnerable groups such as seniors to determine “pedestrian safety corridors” and other areas that might need special attention based on speed data collected. The good news is that with six schools and two retirement residences (with a third soon to be built) many streets in Leaside will be eligible. I have strongly suggested that mobile units be employed over fixed ones to give maximum coverage. Although Toronto is working closely with the province to move the process along as quickly as possible, it appears that automated speed enforcement won’t be coming to the community before September 2019. In the meantime, I encourage you to continue reaching out to 53 Division’s Community Response Unit (416-808-5300) and my office with any driving safety concerns you have. Leaside Town Hall meeting. February 5, 7pm at Leaside Gardens. ■

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Education Development Charges: Can they assist the TDSB?


Etobicoke or East Scarborough does not help the enrolment pressures in Leaside schools, nor in other areas of high intensification. The second condition is also a problem because it dictates how EDCs can be used – for the purchase of land only. Funds cannot be used for additions to schools or to refurbish schools to accommodate more students. According to the Ministry assessment of our schools, we have a backlog of 3.7 billion dollars in needed facility system repairs. EDCs cannot be used to renew our aging schools. The Catholic board in Toronto can receive EDCs at the secondary school level while the public school board cannot, creat-

Leaside Life • February 2018



When the LRT and new condos are completed along Eglinton there won’t be space in our neighbourhood Leaside schools for hundreds of new students. The TDSB may have no other option but to bus these children across the city to schools with room. Why can’t we renovate or add to our existing schools to accommodate this need? Education Development Charges legislation (EDCs) was put in place by the provincial government in 1998 to provide money for new schools in areas with new residential growth. As a result, school boards can access this source of revenue – but only under very specific conditions. • The projected cumulative student population of all the schools in the geographical jurisdiction of the board has to exceed the cumulative capacity of all the school buildings for a period of five years either at the secondary or elementary level or both. •  Any revenue received must be used for the purchase of land only. The TDSB will never be able to fulfill the first requirement. Since 1998 the school board has closed 35 school buildings because of declining enrolment. In 2018 the student population decline has subsided and there is a slight increase. However, there still remain schools with excess space – but closing neighbourhood schools has become increasingly problematic. New mid- and highrise developments provide needed infill housing throughout the city, but often present unexpected population growth at existing schools. The fluidity of demographics in Toronto is significant. If a school is closed now, where is the vacant land in our built-up neighbourhoods if a school is required at a later date? Presently, schools with healthy populations continue to operate in large buildings with excess student space providing excellent programs, but are often sharing rooms with child care centres, family literacy centres and social service agencies. Having space in schools in North

ing a significant inequity of funding opportunities. But despite additional revenue the Catholic board also finds EDCs restrictive since funds can only be used to purchase land. In Toronto there is little land to buy or it’s extremely expensive. TDSB staff and trustees have been working with the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, Fix Our Schools, and several passionate and knowledgeable Leaside parents to advocate for changes to the EDC rules. Toronto City Council has also provided unanimous support for changes to the EDCs. With these efforts it seems as if this issue is now on the radar of provincial representatives from all parties including our own MPP (and Premier) Kathleen Wynne. Gerri Gershon is the Trustee, Don Valley West, for the Toronto District School Board. ■

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Leaside Life • February 2018





Re: Terry Fallis’s Industrial Arts and slow dancing at Bessborough (November 2017) Bessborough School, Grade 4, Valentine’s Day. This was my first experience designing a valentine for some girl in the class. I got Jeannie’s name in the draw. I hid it in my pocket and resolved to make the best of things. Jeannie, you see, was the class mess-cat. A year earlier in the old-style desks, the shelf below her desktop was crammed with stillopen books, layers of old notes, pencil crayons, a sweater and a mitten or two. At that time I had initiated a scheme that had got her in trouble with the teacher. At one recess for which I was allowed to stay indoors, I took advantage of a solitary moment to arrange Jeannie’s jumble to be hair-triggered by a wooden ruler. Then after recess, as Jeannie returned to her seat, the ruler unleashed a noisy avalanche of

her entire shelf of rubble onto the floor. The teacher looked over and ordered Jeannie to pick it all up and reorganize her desk, to the great satisfaction of the class. Today, however, the problem is how to create a valentine suitable to the occasion. I get a piece of mint green paper, paste a large red heart in the centre and then go to work on the letters. Finally, I finish it: I LIKE YOU across the top and print “Your Valentine” below. But as I finish this masterpiece, the critic in me appears and suggests that LIKE is a bit measly for such a ceremonious occasion. I resolve not to be a piker, so I cut out “OV” and replace the “IK”. Now, where to stash the masterpiece? The new Grade 4 desks have a writing surface and a pullout drawer under the seat. The obvious spot is on her desk surface. But Jeannie’s desk surface is already piled high with her stuff. Suddenly, I notice that the pull-out drawer is open a crack and with unaccustomed stealth thrust my masterpiece into it. Relieved, I return deviously to my desk and wait for Jeannie to discover it. For some time, little excitements and bursts of laughter erupt around the room as various girls discover

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their unsigned valentines newly arrived on their desktops. Soon though, I become aware that Jeannie is not among them. Next, I notice Jeannie approaching the teacher and having a word with her. Suddenly the teacher is announcing: “Jeannie can’t find her valentine.” The next sentence fills me with dread: “Who made a valentine for Jeannie?” “I did!” I announce from one aisle over and in the same breath blurt, “Try the desk.” At once she starts to rummage through the stuff on her desktop and I snap out a correction, “No, the drawer.” Jeannie pulls it slowly open and there on top of her books is my wretched valentine, which she holds up. She looks relieved and vaguely excited. Then the teacher reads the inscription aloud: I LOVE YOU. The class goes silent. Jeannie says nothing. I can think of even less to say. Were I smaller, I would happily crawl into the same desk drawer and close it after me. Instead, I sit in a magnified moment of nemesis, gazing across at the messy desk that has unmasked me. Robert Hudgins

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Lynda Potts This summer, my family and our 13-year-old Chesapeake retriever Aspen moved to Leaside. I could not be more thrilled to move back into a community similar to that of my childhood in North Toronto. Treelined streets, sidewalks and a sense of community. Growing up in North Toronto, though living the past 13 years in North York, it’s funny to think about the small things that you remember and make you happy. For me, it was having a sidewalk. As you may suspect from the name of our dog, Aspen, we consider ourselves to be outdoor, alpine people. Both our girls have joined ski teams in the past years on the escarpment in the Georgian triangle area and LETTERS, Page 26

Lasting love in Leaside Retailers love Valentine’s Day. With consumers spending over 18 billion dollars in the U.S. last year, the holiday is a hit for sellers and often a pressure-filled event for buyers hoping to find that “perfect” present. But for couples who have been together a very long time, life isn’t all about flowers, jewellery, and chocolate (though they never hurt). Leasiders Pat and Tony Keith and Carol and Gord Epp are excellent examples of two couples who have successfully navigated their way through married life and are still deeply in love.

lots of young families. As Tony explains, “you start out in a marriage all excited and everything is new, and when children come along, you get caught up in their welfare. But it’s important to keep the lives of both your marriage and your kids going.” Three kids, four grandkids, and 58 years of marriage later, the Keiths have definitely kept it all going. Pat describes Tony as patient, thoughtful, and someone to whom the kids turn for advice. Tony, meanwhile, describes Pat as extremely principled, a value which has ensured the successful functioning of their family. As to what keeps them together? Both agree that while it’s important to have one’s own pursuits, common interests such as curling, bridge, and church activities, all within Leaside, as well as time together at their Kawartha cottage, have been key to keeping the magic alive.


Carol and Gord Epp If one were to search for a common theme in the lives of both Carol and Gord Epp, it would be Leaside and more specifically, Airdrie Rd. Both


Leaside Life • February 2018


grew up on the street, both attended Rolph Road School and Leaside High School, and while they lived elsewhere in Toronto when they first married in 1962, they returned to Leaside and purchased a home on, where else, Airdrie Rd. The couple raised two athletic LOVE IN LEASIDE, Page 29

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Pat and Tony Keith In the 1950s, Pat and Tony’s families felt, as many others did, that school and church events were “safe spaces” to meet potential suitors. So when a pastor from Tony’s church started a youth group, and Pat became a member, it was a much approved spot for young love to take root. Their first “official” date took place when Tony invited Pat to a year-end party in his last year at UTS. Together thereafter, the Keiths married at the First Avenue Baptist Church at Gerrard and Broadview in 1960, just as Tony was finishing law school. The couple settled first in East York and in 1969 purchased a house on Leaside’s Astor Ave. for $35,000(!). In 1973, they moved to their current home on Hanna Rd. With three busy children involved in multiple activities, the Keiths were thrilled to be a part of a vibrant community with

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Leasiders who chose to go home again You can’t go home again, as novelist Thomas Wolfe wrote. Or can you? We spoke to some Leasiders who did just that: The O’Leary and Holt families Courtney O’Leary and her sister Jessica Holt (née Moreland) grew up in North Leaside and attended Northlea and Leaside High School, graduating in 1996. They have fond memories of a safe and happy childhood when everyone knew everyone else and looked out for each other, often sharing parenting duties. Both moved back over the last 14 years and say their husbands have also grown to love the neighbourhood. In fact, Eamon O’Leary’s mother, brother and sister are now Leasiders, too, because as he says, they enjoy the feeling of living in “a small town within a big city.”

Janis Fertuck Columnist

The Holts

Abigail (5) enjoy their classes at Bessborough and the “overwhelming” choice of extracurricular activities such as skating, swimming, circus school and dance. The family’s only concern about life here is, as James says, “the impact of all the proposed high-density development on the character, traffic and community resources of our otherwise low-density neighbourhood.” The Watters family When Brad Watters moved to Leaside, he entered Grade 6 at Bessborough followed by high school at LHS. His wife, Lynda (née Duckworth), attended Northlea, then pursued French immersion at Glenview and Lawrence Park, before returning to LHS for her final year. There, at the same school her parents attended, she met Brad in my Grade 13 English class, and they went off to Western in 1988.

The O’Learys

The three O’Leary children, Ruby (10), Marigold (9) and Kingston (6), all attend St. Anselm Catholic School, while the Holt girls, Olive (9) and Maude (7), go to Northlea. Both sisters appreciate the dedication of the teachers and the excellent programs at the schools, as well as the variety of extracurricular activities available in the area. But, they would like to see an end to the current division between north and south Leaside resulting from the construction on Eglinton. The Obrights James Obright started out at Mrs. Park’s School and Bessborough, but switched to East York’s Presteign Heights and Cosburn Middle School for the gifted program before finishing at LHS and graduating in 1996. His wife, Kristie (née Morland), grew up in the St. ClairO’Connor area, but graduated from LHS in 1997. James recalls fondly his involvement in sports and the “amazing” schools, but what he treasures most are true lifelong

friends, many of whom live nearby and still get together regularly. After James worked in London, England with RBC for two years, the Obrights decided to return to Leaside because of the proximity to downtown, his parents, the arena, parks and the library. They really appreciate these conveniences as well as the specialty shops and restaurants nearby. Daughters Katherine (7) and

The Obrights

The Watters Both Brad and Lynda enjoyed the social aspect of growing up here with lots of children to play with, and the sense of closeness that comes from knowing everyone in the class. They chose to settle here because of proximity to family and friends as well as the area’s strong community spirit. Their eldest daughter, Kaitlyn, is in third year at Western, Lauryn is in Grade 12 at Leaside, and Mark is in Grade 9 at St. Mike’s, a choice based on his talent for lacrosse. Their parents have high praise for all Leaside schools with their increasing parental involvement and the use of more differentiated strategies to engage the students. The Watters are happy their children are being well prepared for excellent careers while thriving in “a great community.” Know of other Leasiders who have returned to the community where they grew up? Let us know at ■

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Leaside Life • February 2018

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Leaside Life • February 2018

1847 Bayview Ave. Shrove Tuesday Pancake Supper, Feb. 13th 5-7 pm. (pancakes, sausages, real maple syrup and beverage) Tickets: adults $7/ Children 12 and under $5. Listen to great live music by local artists and have a coffee and dessert with friends. The Groove Room Coffee House, Fri. Feb 9th 7-8:30 pm. Cost is $5 with all proceeds to the Flemingdon Park Food Bank. We are looking for performers. Contact

ST. CUTHBERT’S CHURCH 1399 Bayview Avenue, 416-485-0329 The 2018 Environmental Film Festival Part II: “Water in All the Wrong places.” Join us for a light lunch, film and discussion. Sunday, February 11, noon-2pm. Annual Mardi Gras & Pancake Supper Tues. Feb. 13th, 5:30 -7:15pm. $7.50/ adult, $5/child or $20/family. Tickets available from Parish Office Tues-Fri, 9 am-1pm, and after Sunday services. All welcome to this family friendly community gathering! Creation Care 2018 Sat., March 3, 11am-2pm. We invite you to this free event with an emphasis on finding out how we can show our care for creation. More than 20 exhibitors, special speakers on environmental issues, including MP Rob Oliphant and Councillor Jon Burnside. An opportunity to measure your carbon footprint, children’s programme, lunch for purchase. Opening Eucharist service – Thurs., March 1 at 7:30pm. Closing Choral Eucharist – Sun., March 4 at 10:00 am.


Adult Colouring Party. Join us for the latest trend in relaxation! Colouring sheets, crayons, markers and music supplied. Tues. 7-8:15pm. February 6, 13, 20, 27. Drop in. Games Night! Enjoy an evening of Cribbage. Other board games and puzzles also available upon request. Tues., 7-8:15 pm. Feb. 6. 13. 20, 27. Drop in.

with other like-minded individuals? Join us. Sat., 10am-11:45am. February 3, 17. Drop in. Art Exhibit Dreaming in Colour by Emily Egleston. Ongoing throughout February. Financial Abuse Do you suspect financial abuse? Learn about the red flags and where to go for help. Presented by the Canadian Bankers Association. Friday, February 9, 2pm-3pm. Drop in. CHILDREN’S PROGRAMMING Ready for Reading Baby Time (Ages 0-18 mos). Bouncing and tickling rhymes, songs and stories for babies with their parents or caregivers. Wed., 9:30-10:00am & 2- 2:30pm. Drop in. February 7, 14, 21, 28. Ready for Reading Family Time (Ages 19 mos-5 years). Stories, songs, and rhymes for children with their parents or caregivers. Wed., 10:3011:00am and 1-1:30pm. Drop in. February 7, 14, 21, 28. LEGO Express For children of all ages. Come to the Library and play on your own time. Library card required. Ongoing throughout February. OUTSIDE GROUPS Leaside: Your History Matters Explore Ontario of yesterday and today with Barry Penhale and special guests. For more info contact Marjorie at 416-425-1392. Tues., 2-4:00 pm. February 6, 13, 20, 27.

LEASIDE GARDEN SOCIETY The next meeting is February 8th at the Leaside Library, at 7:30 p.m. The topic will be The Bowery Project in New York City.

LEASIDE ATOM BASEBALL Baseball season is around the corner!! 2018 Leaside Atom Registration is now open and closes on February 28. Visit for more information.


Leaside Needleworx Group (Knitting and Crocheting). Bring your own projects or start something new. Fridays 10am- 11:45am. February 2, 9, 16, 23. Drop in.

Monthly meeting at 7:30pm, Thurs., Feb. 15 at Northlea United, 125 Brentcliffe Ave. Speaker: Barbara Rusch, Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, speaking about Women of the 19th Century; Beautiful, Dangerous and Courageous. Visitors and new members are welcome. Visit or email

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Letters... From Page 22 you’ll certainly find us skating on the rink at Trace Manes Park, or cross country skiing with Aspen in tow. In our North York community, there was unified hockey culture among our friends. Friday through Sunday, our family friends would pack up their car with oversized bags oozing with skate guards, towels and helmets. I know this is not a phenomenon and trends in many Toronto communities, including Leaside, however, having two girls who ski race, hockey and its culture was very unfamiliar to us. What we have discovered, now that we’ve made our move to Leaside is that the people who we now call our neighbours and friends share our interests too! The first week we moved in, our lovely neighbours invited us for a meal and we uncovered and shared stories of our love for skiing. Over the past few months, we have met new neighbours and parents from our children’s elementary school who further share our love for the mountains intensifying our feelings for this community. This brings me to the reason for this submission, it is to convey that we have finally found our home and want to honour that with suggesting that we name the twin alley ways running north south – the first between Sutherland and Airdrie (between Lea and McRae) and the second between Sutherland and Randolph – ‘Aspen’ and ‘Alpine Way’. Elisabeth Vogel-Szlendak Hi, I missed reading the Jan/18 paper with the moose on it. While at Lui’s barber on Eglinton today for my every 2 month cut, he graciously let me have the one on the table. As I read through it, what better name came to mind for the lane parallel to Eglinton, between Sutherland and Laird, than to call it Lui’s Lane. He has been an icon in the neighbourhood for over 35 years and each place he has been in has touched that laneway. What a tribute to a man who has cut thousands of Leasiders’ hair, including Stephen Harper’s. Hope you will like the suggestion. I am happy to get many of his clients to support the name. Thanks for all you are doing to keep Leaside the wonderful community we know. Appreciatively, Anne Murray LETTERS, Page 29





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Art Deco architecture across Canada… and in Leaside, too What places come to mind when you hear the phrase ‘Art Deco’? The Empire State and Chrysler buildings in New York? The Christ the Redeemer sculpture in Rio? The ‘Detroit Industry’ murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts? The Canada Permanent Mortgage Corporation building on Bay St. in Toronto? Or perhaps Garden Court Apartments here in Leaside. Tim Morawetz’s book Art Deco Architecture Across Canada, published last July, establishes that Canada was not immune to the design movement that swept Europe

Geoff Kettel

Saving old Leaside ness writer who lives in Bennington Heights, and second, the Art Deco style in architecture, being contemporary with a key phase of the Town of Leaside’s development, is an integral part of the story of Leaside. Garden Court on Bayview.

and North America (and beyond) beginning in the 1920s and ending in the 1940s, bringing modern and original artistic and design ideas, to add to the more traditional, historical styles. Art Deco Architecture Across Canada is a lavishly illustrated coffee table book, but so much more. The book’s subtitle, Stories of the Country’s Buildings Between the Two World Wars, means that it is more than a catalogue of important buildings and their architects from across the country. It is chaptered not by style or period, but by the building’s role in society, i.e., Life at Work (business, industry); Life in the Community (social services); Life at Home (residential); Life as a Shopper (retail); Life on the Move (transportation); and Life of Leisure (entertainment). It reminds us that buildings are commissioned for a purpose, they are designed, built, and maintained, reflecting the context of the time. In other words, they have life, and deserve attention and respect. So what does this book have to do with Leaside? First, the author is a communications strategist/busi-

Here, in no particular order, are some of the Art Deco buildings in Leaside: • The Pease Foundry Company Building (now a TD Bank, LairdEglinton Pet Hospital), 211 Laird Drive; note the distinguished continuous (curved) windows; and the horizontal Streamlined Moderne styling. • Leaside Town Hall (now ABC Academy Daycare), 235 McRae Drive; spy the geometric detailing above the entrance and the stone coat-of-arms of the Town of Leaside on the face of the building. • Agnes Macphail House, 2 Donegall Drive at Millwood Road, designated both for its association with Agnes Macphail, Canada’s first female MP, and its Streamline Moderne variant of Art Deco design. • Garden Court Apartments, 1477 Bayview Ave., an iconic Art Deco housing complex recognized by The Cultural Heritage Foundation, Leaside’s foremost contribution to Art Deco, and the only local building to find its way into Art Deco Architecture Across Canada; • 4 Donlea Dr., one of only a few

Art Deco residential buildings, is still standing, but was completely re-clad a couple of years ago, obliterating all the Streamline Moderne features like the continuous curved windows. This is Tim Morawetz’s second book about Art Deco – his first was Art Deco Architecture in Toronto: A guide to the city’s buildings from the Roaring Twenties and the Depression that was honoured in 2010 with an Award of Merit from Heritage Toronto. So what does it mean to have an esteemed Art Deco expert in our community? It’s meant a lot – he has been willing to speak up in support of our community’s treasures when needed, for example, the former Agnes Macphail house: “In my opinion, the former Agnes Macphail house…is an important example of interwar residential architecture. It may be the only duplex in Leaside that incorporated the 1930s Streamline Moderne architectural design features that were quite prevalent in larger apartment buildings (namely buff brick walls, flat roof, ‘speed stripes’, horizontal emphasis in the windows, the octagonal window and the multiple planes on the Millwood façade).” Tim’s passion for this period of architecture exudes from the pages. We can learn so much. Art Deco Architecture Across Canada is available in local bookstores, as well as online. ■


Leaside Life • February 2018


Letters... From Page 26 I am writing to submit some names you could use for the lane(s). Here are my ideas: Maple Lane Maple Leaf Lane Winter Lane Moose Lane Community Lane Friends Lane Snow Lane Happy Lane Cozy Lane Neighbour Lane Social Lane *Note: Some of these may be used. I have not checked. I thought of words I think of when I think of Leaside. Brandon Booth ■


Love in Leaside... From Page 23 By GEOFF KETTEL “Leaside is a special place...Just “fixing things” (in the application) does not meet the intent of the bylaw”. So stated a Committee of Adjustment (CofA) member before making a motion to refuse the minor variance application for 41 Sharron Dr. at the January 11 hearing. The motion passed unanimously. Recall in last month’s Leaside Life we talked about an application (22 Annesley Ave.) where an amicable resolution was reached between applicant and neighbours. What was the difference in this case? With Annesley the proposal was for an addition to the side that was in keeping with the existing home, and “fit in” with the street (actually both streets, as it was a corner property). On Sharron Dr. the proposal was to tear down an existing one and a half storey house in “Arts and Crafts” style and replace it with a much larger house with two storeys “jumped up” over an integral garage, and with a mansard roof uncharacteristic of Leaside. Unlike Annesley where the applicant’s agent asked for a meeting with the neighbours ahead of the hearing, in this case, mediation was held under a new City program to try to resolve such cases on the day of, but prior to the hearing. Without revealing anything of the in camera discussions, I can say the application proceeded to a full hearing a couple of hours later. In both case the applicant made

changes in an effort to bridge the divide. This worked on Annesley but not on Sharron. The committee member perceptively assessed the situation: “You say you bought the house because you like the neighbourhood…therefore the character of the area that you say you like should show up in the house being built (it doesn’t).” Also, “the changes you are making are cosmetic; you cannot keep making micro-changes and expect to satisfy the neighbours; you have to start from the character of the neighbourhood itself.” This CofA member really gets it. The five of us left at the North York hearing room after almost a full day attending to this matter heaved a big sigh of relief. And thanks to the seven households who wrote letters in opposition, and especially to Richard Austin and Allan Parkin, who did so much work to analyze and organize around this application.

bc And finally some good news on another matter: the City is back in the TLAB hearing for 1755-1757 Bayview Ave. after withdrawing earlier (“City Must Act on Bayview Quads” Leaside Life, December 2017). It’s a “hallelujah” story, the details of which will have to wait for another day. The hearing is on February 8th. The LPOA would welcome your support. ■

daughters. Now they also have five grandchildren of whom they are immensely proud. While they have witnessed many changes in Leaside over the years, it’s the spirit of the neighbourhood they love and both are so thankful for the friends they have made over the years right at their doorstep. When asked what he admires most about Carol, Gord came up with the astute and fail-safe response, “the list is too long.” On deeper reflection, though, he describes Carol as helpful, compassionate, cheerful, perceptive, and sensitive. Carol, meanwhile, characterizes Gord as sincere, patient, devoted, talented, and industrious. And their tips for maintaining a marriage? After almost 56 years of marriage, the couple firmly believes in the importance of remembering good times, accepting bad times so they can pass and be forgotten, accepting each other’s faults and frailties, encouraging one another to grow, and spending time together. So if you do decide to shop for Valentine’s Day gifts this year, remember two things: a) shop local (you’re welcome BIA), and b) unfailing love comes not from a box of chocolate, but from hard work, patience, and perseverance. And with 110 years of marriage between them, the Keiths and the Epps are shining examples of lasting love in Leaside. Know of other Leaside couples whose love has endured? Write to us at ■


Leaside Life • February 2018

41 Sharron: “Leaside is a special place”

The LPOA predicts... We are still close enough to the beginning of the New Year to indulge in a few predictions for Leaside in 2018. My first: the City will once again send out property tax bills right after the holidays (they really know how to say Happy New Year), and once again we’ll be reminded that the system of Current Value Assessment guarantees that, increasingly, more Leasiders will find themselves house-rich and cash-poor. My next prediction: commuter and retail-related flow-through traffic will continue to plague Leasiders, regardless of what part of the neighbourhood we live in, until we can come together to agree on traffic measures that deter and/or calm traffic on a Leaside-wide basis. It would be nice to make 2018 the year we succeed. Meanwhile, the new Costco store will open on Overlea Blvd. this spring, attracting shoppers from far and wide, many of whom will drive through Leaside as a shortcut

to and from the store. According to the traffic consultant Costco hired to support their cause, the store will primarily attract shoppers (aka drivers) from the east and south of us, not the north and west. That’s why they didn’t study the store’s potential traffic impact on Leaside. I predict we will notice a difference. I also predict that Leaside will continue to attract intense interest from property developers, and the subject of intensification will be a major issue. How much more intensification can our part of the city accommodate (no pun intended) before our aging infrastructure gives out? In 2018, will more developers seriously invest farther east and west of the city core, to create new neighbourhoods instead of overbuilding in established ones? It’s not a prediction, but it’s something the city should encourage developers to do, and city planners to promote. Here’s an easy New Year prediction: there will be a provincial election in late spring and a municipal

Carol Burtin Fripp Co-president, LPOA

one in the autumn, and the Leaside Property Owners’ Association will hold all candidates’ debates. I predict that Leasiders will demonstrate their usual high level of involvement and commitment by attending these public meetings and posing challenging and important questions to the people who want to represent us. Of course, many unpredictable things will happen in 2018, and the LPOA hopes we can count on your encouragement, participation and support to mitigate problems and accentuate the many positives which make Leaside an enjoyable and desirable place to live. Our next board meeting is on WED., FEB. 7th at 7:30 p.m. in the Noble Room at Trace Manes. Meetings are always open to the public. We invite you to attend, whether for help or advice on local matters, or just to hear more about what is happening in our community. Contact us anytime via our website, ■


Leaside Life • February 2018


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Leaside Life • February 2018

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Leaside Life Issue 69 February 2018  
Leaside Life Issue 69 February 2018