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No. 62 / JULY 2017

Leaside Life

Tell us about your Canada – and win a copy of Jane Pitfield’s book “Leaside” Pg. 3

s p e c i a l c o m m e m or at i v e c a n a d a 1 5 0 i s s u e


Patrick Rocca bro ker



C A N A D A’ S 1 5 0 TH A







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By JANE PITFIELD As we approach the 150th birthday of Canada, I am reminded of the significant contribution the Town of Leaside has made to Canada especially since incorporation in 1913. The Town of Leaside existed for 54 years until amalgamation with East York in 1967. It was again amalgamated in 1998 when East York became part of the current megacity. At the heart of the history of Leaside is the Lea family. In no other part of the Toronto area has a family been more closely associated with the development of a community than the Leas were in Leaside. John Lea arrived from Lancashire, England to in 1820 and chose a 200acre parcel of land to farm that was inexpensive and well drained as it was 150 feet above Lake Ontario. He farmed Northern Spy apples. The farm extended from where the hydro station is to Thorncliffe Park. Eldest son William inherited part of the family farm and produced tomatoes, opened a cannery, and supplied the Old Queen’s Hotel (where the present Royal York stands.) He


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built an octagonal home and named it “Leaside,” from which the name originated. In the late 1870s Canada experienced a railway craze. The Ontario and Quebec Railway needed a line from Toronto to Peterborough, Ottawa and Montreal. To avoid building an expensive railway trestle across the Don River and valley, the railway company purchased some land from William Lea at the point where the valley was narrow and shallow. In 1884 the Canadian Pacific Railway needed level farmland to build their massive new railway repair shop and the assembling of trains’ facilities. In 1894 the train station built for freight and passenger service was named “Leaside Junction,” honouring William Lea. The principal owners of the Canadian Northern Railway, Donald Mann and William Mackenzie, had built two successful railway towns in the early 1900s and were now looking to build a third in the Toronto area. They chose the land north of Leaside Junction to build new railway facilities, financing this through the creation of a model railway town in Leaside. They established the York Land Company and began purchasing acreage to a total of 900 acres. It was to be known as “Rosedale to the North.” They hired Frederick Todd as the planner. By April 1913 he’d designed a model town and the project became the incorporated Town of Leaside. The railway service provided by the Canadian Northern was to boost residential growth and attract industries. It was not to be, thanks to a global recession, the outbreak of World War I, and the bankruptcy of the Canadian Northern Railway largely owing to Leaside’s isolated location. Industrial growth flourished along the CPR corridor, accelerated by munitions factories in World War I. Canada Wire and Cable purchased 16 acres at Wicksteed and Laird, but because of the war the Leaside Munitions Company Limited occupied the plant. The Town of Leaside made an amazing contribution in both world wars. Britain awarded a contract to Leaside in 1916 to produce 54,000 shells. Leaside, which employed 4,000 people at the plant, was able PITFIELD, Page 10


JULY 2017

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Three Grade 10 LHS students captured five medals in track at OFSAA, the provincial high school championships, on June 3 and 4 in Belleville: Remy Cattell, bronze in junior girls 800m and silver in junior girls 1500m, Kate Denomme, bronze in junior girls 400m, and Liam Rivard, bronze in junior boys 400m and gold in junior boys 800m.

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From Leaside’s deep roots spring new shoots

St. Cuthberts’ great oak – then and now. ple and politicians whose grounding in Leaside helped them make their mark on Canada, or the strong sense of place that you can still feel today – our little town within a city. But on the 150th birthday of Canada, we shouldn’t only think about how our history has shaped us. We should celebrate the fact that we’re shaping our history, every day. Leaside is a place for fresh starts. A place to stand. A place to grow. St. Cuthbert’s, for example, is one of many groups in our community to have sponsored newcomers fleeing conflict. And this summer, how many Leaside kids will learn to ride a bike? Make a new friend with roots halfway around the world? Or hit their first home run? If Leaside’s past tells us one thing, it’s that our future will be what we make of it. And we always make the most. Happy 150th! The Hon. Kathleen Wynne is the Premier of Ontario and MPP for Don Valley West.

Bits and bites about our Leaside schools

By GERRI GERSHON • Principals Mike Kennedy at Rolph PS and David Ehrlich at Northlea EMS are moving to new schools in the TDSB. Thank you Mike and David for your contributions to our schools. I would like to introduce the new principals: Sandra LaRosa at Rolph and Barbara Sandler at Northlea. Both are outstanding edu-

cators who will continue the reputation of these great schools. • The Student Engagement Committee at Bessborough EMS is composed of Grade 6 to 8 students who want to make a difference. The committee focuses on three main areas: Advocacy: linking to the greater community; Legacy: spreading “positivity” throughout the school, and Fundraising: helping with specific school campaigns. The students are making a difference and learning real leadership. • The TD Bank honours exceptional high school students with a scholarship for community leadership. Only 20 students across Canada are selected. This year THREE Leaside HS students were the recipients of these scholarships! This is the first time in the scholarship’s history that

three of the recipients attend the same school. (See page 20). • Western University offers five President’s Scholarships for student excellence. Western places great emphasis on contributions to the recipients’ schools and communities. Last year, Leaside HS student Kameela Alibhai was a recipient. This year, a second Leaside student, Gemma Postill, was awarded the same scholarship. This, too, has never happened before. • The Bennington Bulldog is a monthly newsletter providing info on activities at Bennington Heights ES. Traditionally, the newspaper was written by the principal, but the majority of the content is now provided by students in the Newspaper TDSB, Page 26

JULY 2017



On a cold, drizzly, late-March day, I came face to face with Leaside’s deep roots – literally. Let me explain. It was Earth Day and St. Cuthbert’s Anglican Church on Bayview had organized a day of speakers and events. I was there to help officially recognize the church’s majestic white oak as the first of 150 Ontario Heritage Trees to be named in honour of Canada’s sesquicentennial. (An Ontario Heritage Tree is a tree that’s linked to significant figures or historical events.) So there I was, bundled up in front of St. Cuthbert’s with local leaders and a great turnout from our community, thinking about just how much this towering, 200-year-old tree has seen as it has put its roots deeper and reached ever skyward. And not for the first time, it struck me what a special community Leaside is and has always been. The story starts with the Indigenous people who first inhabited this land, by the banks of a river then teeming with fish. It starts again with the arrival of William Lea in 1820, and again with the octagonal house his son John built in the 1850s, which he called “Leaside.” It starts with the visionaries at Canadian Northern Railway, ambitiously planning to build a model community here. And our story starts once more in 1890, when a member of the Lea family donated a half acre for a Leaside Mission, which would soon

become St. Cuthbert’s. When Leaside became a town in 1913, St. Cuthbert’s Church was the only public building around, so it became “city hall.” It was there, under the swaying branches of the white oak, that the early settlers of Leaside were married and laid to rest. It’s where the community came out to greet the soldiers returning from the Great War and where they prayed for the brave sons of Leaside fighting for Canada in the Second World War. And when they came home after the war, Leaside again looked confidently to the future – reshaping our community and our country. I think of people like Agnes Macphail, who once called Leaside home. Macphail was the first woman elected to Canada’s parliament – a trailblazer who paved the way for women like me. Or the fact that literary legend Margaret Atwood graduated from Leaside High. I think of the timeless traditions. The Leaside Baseball Association started back in 1946. Sixty years later it’s going strong. My daughters and I were lucky to have been part of this enduring community legacy. When they were growing up, we always looked forward to spring because it meant another swing of the bat in Leaside. Leaside is shaped by its history, whether it’s the curving streets named for those railway visionaries whose dreams became our community, or the writers, scientists, businesspeo-



Lorna Krawchuk remembers…


JULY 2017


My earliest memories of July 1 may not even be for that specific day. Since I grew up in a company gold-mining town in northern Ontario, with a population of 2,167, a highlight of the beginning of summer was the mine picnic – which I think was held on what was then called Dominion Day. And the highlight for me as a young kid was the sandbox, liberally “salted” with pennies for those below a certain age. But my best memories of Canada Day have to be from the 1990s, when I was a member of council for the Borough of East York. Early in the morning, we would head over to the East York Civic Centre to be special guests at a citizenship ceremony organized especially for Canada Day – with all the pomp of a citizenship judge, an RCMP officer with the red tunic and the Sam Browne hat, and the excited individuals and families who were about to become Canadians on that special day. The ceremony was held early, because a longstanding tradition of Canada Day in East York was a parade – and the parade started with a motorized version that gathered in

Lorna Krawchuk Publisher Leaside Life

the driveway of Leaside High School. We all had big signs with our names and official positions in big letters. These had to be placed on our special vehicles. Depending on the year, it might be a “loaner” convertible from Gyro Mazda, or a firetruck, or someone’s well-polished convertible, or one of the assortment of “older” cars that were made available to us. Once the parade was organized, it would head over to Bayview. Jenner Jean-Marie and I were the local councillors for most of this time, and we would vie to see how many people we recognized, or who recognized us, as they were enjoying coffee or picking up pastries for the holiday. We knew that once we got over the Leaside Bridge, there would not be many who would wave specifically to us, so we made the most of it while

we were on home turf. Near the East York Civic Centre, the motor parade got integrated into the marching and walking parts of the parade to then make our way to Stan Wadlow Park for the noon opening ceremonies. The afternoon was for playing bingo, buying hot dogs and other treats, wandering around to the booths set up by local organizations, and often, going home for a bit of relaxing time without crowds. But once it got dark, it was back to the park again – because, while they never seemed to get advertised in the broader Toronto area, all the locals knew there would be an excellent fireworks display at Stan Wadlow. A number of us got good at bringing lawn chairs, parking our cars and the lawn chairs strategically, so we could see the fireworks, but could also make our getaway quickly afterwards. Unfortunately, the days of the early morning citizenship ceremony and the motorized parade down Bayview are no more. But the East York Canada Day Committee still organizes a parade in East York, activities during the day, and fireworks at dusk. Consider taking a look this year.


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Does the name Barbara Leaman ring a bell? What about the name Barbara McDougall? In fact, they are one and the same person. You may remember Barbara from school or from the Leaside neighbourhood or as Canada’s Secretary of State for External Affairs (now called the Minister of Global Affairs).

University of Toronto and then went on to a successful career as a Chartered Financial Analyst, business journalist and television personality in British Columbia. Elected to parliament in 1984, Barbara was immediately appointed to the federal cabinet as Minister of State (Finance). In that capac-


Alan with the Honourable Barbara McDougall at Rolph Road School’s 75th anniversary in 2014. Barbara Leaman grew up in Leaside at the corner of Bessborough Dr. and Rolland Rd. across the street from where I grew up myself. She attended Rolph Road School from Kindergarten to Grade 8, but I believe Barbara skipped one of those grades. She certainly didn’t skip Grade 2, however, because at the 75th anniversary celebration of Rolph Road School Barbara reminded the audience that her Grade 2 teacher, Miss Turnbull, used to put kids over her knee and spank them if they misbehaved. I don’t remember that, but I was a couple of years ahead of her at Rolph and I never skipped a grade. Barbara went on to excel at Leaside High School. You can still see her name, Barbara Leaman, on the wall beside the entrance to the school auditorium across from the principal’s office. After graduating, she obtained a degree in Political Science and Economics from the

ity she was responsible for guiding legislation through the House of Commons to bail out the depositors of Alberta’s bankrupt Northland Bank. The legislation provided for a 100% repayment of a depositor’s money as opposed to the much lower amount guaranteed by the Canadian Deposit Insurance Corporation (CIDC). Barbara and the legislation were both attacked viciously every day for weeks not only by the Opposition parties in the House of Commons but by her former colleagues in the media as well, who accused her of bailing out the Northland Bank shareholders rather than the bank depositors, as was the actual case. However, the rookie MP stood her ground. The bill was enacted into law and in so doing saved the pensions of thousands of Canadians whose pension funds were invested in Northland Bank. Incidentally, it also saved the $2 million of our Leaside taxpayers’

money since the Borough of East York had temporarily invested our property tax revenue in short term Northland Bank deposit certificates. Having proved herself under heavy attack, Barbara went on to serve in a number of other federal cabinet portfolios, including Minister Responsible for the Status of Women where she was a strong voice in cabinet and in parliamentary debates on the abortion issue and defending women’s right to free choice. Later she was appointed Minister of Employment and Immigration and then replaced the Rt. Hon. Joe Clark as Secretary of State for External Affairs (now called the Minister of Global Affairs). During her time in that portfolio she was directly involved in such issues as the dissolution of the Soviet Union, NATO’s role in Bosnia and Somalia and the creation of NAFTA. Since leaving parliament in 1993, Barbara has served as a director of a number of Canadian corporations, including The Bank of Nova Scotia. In this 150 anniversary year of our country it is important that we not forget the contributions made to Canada and to the world by Leasiders such as the Hon. Barbara Leaman McDougall. Alan Redway is a former East York mayor and federal cabinet minister.

Leaside Life Published once a month in Leaside,Toronto ON, by FH Publishing Inc., 1444 Dupont St., Unit 11A, M6P 4H3 416-504-8047 Circulation 10,000 to every door in M4G PUBLISHER: Lorna Krawchuk EDITOR: Jane W. Auster GRAPHIC DESIGN: Robin Dickie ADVERTISING: Robyn Israel ph. 416-276-0937 or 416-504-8047

JULY 2017




Alan Redway

Leaside’s The Honourable Barbara Leaman McDougall

Meet DAVID BRYANT, Leaside’s master of flash Leasiders have had wonderful local opportunities to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday in the first six months of 2017. With the beautiful red and white tulips outside the Leaside Library, commemorative programming inside the library, special events at the curling club, school art displays and carnivals, to name but a few, the neighbourhood has being showing its national pride in a myriad of meaningful ways. But the most dazzling and brilliant celebration is just around the corner. On July 3rd, Leaside will positively sparkle with the sensational lights and sounds of our very own Canada 150 fireworks display. Leaside is fortunate to boast a number of enthusiastic volunteers who generously donate their energies to many neighbourhood causes. The same holds true for the coordinator of fireworks displays. The current master of flash is David Bryant, a Leasider, who along with his wife Ashley, daughter Hailey, and past coordinator Jon C. (last name withheld at his request), have put together stunning shows to mark Victoria Day, Labour Day, and of course, Canada Day.

DAVID’S 5 FLASH TIPS FOR FIREWORKS THAT REALLY LIGHT UP THE SKY! 1. Safety is always the number one concern: ensure the spectators are a safe distance from the fireworks, have fire extinguishers and buckets of water handy. 2. Set up the site with adult helpers in the light of day. Arrange the order of the display away from dry grass or trees. 3. Plan spacing of products. To ensure the show doesn’t fizzle out after 10 minutes, let the audience enjoy one series of surprises before rushing to the next! 4. Pair products correctly. Ensure the colours, heights, and sizes of fireworks work together to produce the most stunning spectacle possible. 5. Ensure that all products used are quality pieces. While one might be tempted to add as many pieces as possible to the show, it’s important to purchase from a reliable and reputable supplier. Want to contribute to the fireworks display in advance of the show? David can be contacted by cell (phone or text) at 647-267-0837 or email:

Susan Scandiffio Columnist

ing in the fireworks world. There is more to planning a fireworks show than one might imagine! A tremendous amount of preparation goes into ensuring that small pieces of fireworks aren’t obscured by larger ones, the heights of the fireworks are spaced out, colours are coordi-

David Bryant, Ashley and Hailey

David and Ashley are both Leaside lifers who grew up in the neighbourhood, attended Northlea and Leaside schools, and are now raising their daughter Hailey in north Leaside. The Bryants have a soft spot for Leaside. As David says, “This neighbourhood, as much as it has changed, the people are still so great.” And it’s not just Leasiders who love Bryant’s shows. Bryant has relatives who come from Bradford and colleagues from Oshawa who travel in to enjoy the hoopla. Bryant has been coordinating fireworks for the neighbourhood for the past two years, and in that time, the shows have grown by leaps and bounds and become ever-flashier. On July 1st last year, approximately 60 pieces of fireworks were set off at the field at Leaside High School. On the Labour Day weekend of 2016, Bryant used 85 pieces, and this past Victoria Day, 115 pieces of fireworks enthralled all who came to sit on the hill and be dazzled by the show. Bryant estimates that approximately 600 families attended the Victoria Day display alone. Bryant’s experience with fireworks shows began long before he started his Leaside displays. Working with friends on their neighbourhood shows gave Bryant the opportunity to gain the knowledge necessary to produce the most awesome show possible. Along with this experience, Bryant is a constant researcher of what’s new and excit-



JULY 2017


nated, and the pace of the show is steady. Bryant is so well-versed in the science of fireworks that he’s always confident that his shows will go off without a hitch. Punningly, Bryant remarks, “You always have to look on the bright side of things!” On July 1st, Bryant will be using at least 150 pieces of fireworks, many of which will be red and white. Expect a jaw-dropping celebration of this country’s big birthday. Of course, the costs add up for such a magnificent show. Bryant receives a substantial discount from Victory Fireworks, but the last display cost some $1,700 and it looks like this year’s show will come in at over $5,000. Attendees have always been extremely generous helping to offset the bill, and Bryant does not profit from the shows at all. With any donations received above the cost of the show in advance, Bryant assures that he will use the contributions to purchase additional pieces or place the funds in a reserve for future shows. The Canada 150 July 3rd show will begin at approximately 9:15pm. Bring your blankets or chairs, your neighbours to celebrate with, and the knowledge that you will be thoroughly entertained with a display befitting the occasion.

Cheryl Vanderburg


Leaside Litterati

the centre of industrial activity. Some 150 years ago, Leaside was making its name as a hub of railway and other industrial activity. Now, a century and a half later, different types of noise permeate Leaside. Many nights I experience “sleepless in South Leaside” thanks to the cacophony of neighbourhood sounds created by machines, man and our furry friends. These noise disturbances are definitely not conducive to a good night’s rest for a light sleeper like me, and a lack of sleep has been known to make me a very grumpy morning girl. This is how I spend much of my “sleepy time”. At 11:30 p.m. I open the windows for a little night air, close the blackout blinds to minimize the city lights, turn out my bedside lamp and begin to drift off to sleep. It’s not long before I am startled awake by the sounds of a barking dog. I can only assume it is out “doing its business” for the last time that night and has spotted a raccoon. Different owners have different approaches. One neighbour shouts encouragement – “GO GET HIM!” – as the dog races back and forth barking at a sharp pitch. Another neighbour yells “QUIET!” repeatedly, in a very unquiet voice. After a few more minutes of frantic barking and chasing, the raccoon escapes up a tree to safety, the chase is over, the

dog and its owner go inside and the night becomes quiet again. Time for some Zen breath counting to help me drift off for the second time. I must have, because it’s now 2 a.m. and I am awakened again, this time by snarls and cries. The other day, my neighbour asked, “Are you being woken up by horrible noises? It sounds like someone is being murdered!” Ah, “raccoons,” I say. “Did you know that raccoons interact by using more than 200 different sounds, which include purring, chittering, growling, snarling, hissing, whimpering, screeching like owls, mewing, crying, and whining?” Grumpily I mutter to myself, “What have they got to fight about? Is one not sharing a juicy piece of garbage with his friend? Or did one take the other’s favourite sleeping spot? Can’t

they all just get along?” So out I go to investigate, poke the ones curled up in the vines covering our pergola with a broom stick and toss a few pine cones at the ones tightrope-walking our fence. Thankfully they quickly relocate to our next door neighbour’s backyard and once again, the night is quiet. I head back up to bed, do another round of breath counting and mercifully drift off to sleep. It’s now 4 a.m. and I’m awakened again, this time to the sound of the airplanes coming in for a landing at Pearson – a situation the Toronto Aviation Noise Group (T.A.N.G.) knows only too well. I know planes have to fly over some neighbourhood and I like to fly. “I hope they enjoyed their trip,” I say to myself, and drift off again. It’s now 6 a.m. and I hear the sounds of freight trains in the valley, car and bus traffic on the streets and the beep-beep-beep of a truck backing up into a construction site somewhere. Thankfully it’s time to get up, have a coffee, read the paper and get ready for my day. I hope I can fit a nap in somewhere!

Happy Canada Day, Canada!

Celebrating 150 Years of Awesomeness!

JULY 2017

Leaside, like much of 19th century York, began as rich farmland. But what had once been the Lea family’s quiet oasis within a growing and teeming metropolis quickly became



150 years of noise in South Leaside

Pitfield... From Page 5


JULY 2017


Hockey blood runs deep in Leaside By COLLEEN ATKINSON Canada is celebrating its 150th birthday this year. This grand milestone leads Canada’s millions of citizens to sit back and proudly reflect on the country’s accomplishments, triumphs, and favourite pastimes. It also allows for us to look to the future – to anticipate what this vast and dynamic country may hold for us in the years to come. As a new member of the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens board, I have recently found myself walking through the arena’s doors, only to be bombarded by a flood of memories from my childhood that epitomize what it means to grow up Canadian, specifically in Leaside. I recall watching my brothers’ games well past my bedtime, and early morning practices of my own. I remember Friday night free skates, skating from boys who showed their affections by plowing a pound of snow at you with a skilled stop. I reminisced on burning my tongue on way-too-hot hot chocolates, and convincing my mom to give me a quarter for the candy machines. I’m reminded of friendships that were made on and off the ice, that remain strong to this day. Hockey shapes the lives of so many Canadians, and it’s no different for residents of Leaside. While it’s nice to look back on the past, it’s the future of the game and its young players that get me excited the most. The growth and success achieved by both the Leaside Hockey Association and the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association serve as testament to the hockey blood that runs deep in Leaside’s veins and proudly pay homage to Canada’s most worshiped pastime. The rapid growth seen with girls’ hockey in Leaside proves that young women are a force to be reckoned with on the ice. At its start, young ladies from Leaside High School struggled to recruit enough bodies to make two full lines to play against one another. This season, the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association (TLGHA) saw nearly

1,600 girls and women lace up each week. In addition to the success seen in these registration numbers, the league also effectively introduced an Introduction to Hockey program for girls aged 7-14, an age group not often accommodated with initiation programming. TLGHA learning programs for younger levels (ages 3-7) continued to grow as well, ensuring a strong house league for years to come. On a competitive side, Leaside sent more teams to Provincials than any association in the GTA, and two teams brought home gold from league championships. The TLGHA was also able to strengthen its International Development Program, hosting players from the New Zealand Ice Hockey Federation to play and practise with a Midget competitive team. The Leaside Hockey Association (LHA) saw over 1,400 players participate in hockey school, house league, Select, and GTHL programs, where thanks to the efforts of countless dedicated volunteers, success was achieved at every level. Most notably, five LHA Select teams won a City Championship, the most in the city. On the GTHL side, two Leaside teams finished first in the regular season (winning the Kraft Cup) and both went on to win City Championships. And as always, the LHA hosted its always-successful 27th Annual Select Invitational Tournament, hosting 116 teams. The passion for hockey is stronger than ever in Leaside. The arena remains a haven where not only are skills developed and confidences lifted, but friendships are made and memories to last a lifetime are curated. The passion for the game is rooted in Canadian values – something I’ll be reflecting on July 1st. Here’s to the 2017-2018 season, and the next 150. Colleen Atkinson writes on behalf of Leaside Memorial Community Gardens, Board of Management.

to produce faster and more cheaply than any other company. By late 1916, the Canadian government had leased 220 acres from Canada Wire and Cable. An airfield built to train pilots from the 43rd Wing Royal Flying Corps was named the Leaside Aerodrome. By the end of the war there were 600 servicemen stationed there. In 1940, Research Enterprises incorporated, and occupied 55 acres east of Laird on Research Rd. At its peak it employed 7,500; buildings covered 750,000 sq. ft.; and the company produced $220 million worth of high tech radio equipment and precision optical instruments in six years. Highly skilled engineers and scientists enabled planes to have radar and be able to fly at night. The company closed at the end of the war in 1946. On May 1, 1943, the Leaside RCAF Squadron, which recruited from Leaside, formed in England. Leaside residents sent clothing, cigarettes and letters to support the men. Also during World War II, Leaside schools fundraised to purchase a heavy-duty army truck and outfitted the navy corvette named “Leaside,” which was an ocean escort. Leaside’s residential taxes were among the lowest in Canada because of its thriving industrial area and large commercial tax base. Some of the most successful factories were Canada Wire and Cable, Frigidaire, Colgate Palmolive, Honeywell, Phillips, Sangamo, Corning, Tremco Lincoln Electric, Canada Varnish, Regal, Apco, Diesel Equipment Limited, and the Dorothea Knitting Mills. Car manufacturing put Leaside on the map with Durant Motors. Between 1922 and 1924 Durant shipped cars from Leaside to Britain and produced 13,000 cars. Reo Motor Company produced trucks and buses through World War II. When the Ontario Hydro Electric Commission chose Leaside as the location for a power plant to carry hydro from the Gatineau River to Leaside, it became the longest 220,000 volt line in Canada. Leaside will always be a unique neighbourhood boasting a rich heritage. Despite the proximity to downtown it will always have the attributes of the smaller town it was built to be. Canada 150 Contest: Tell us about your Canada and win a copy of the acclaimed book “Leaside” by Jane Pitfield. Send submissions to 10 Prizes available to be won!

MP Oliphant will be hosting his annual Canada Day celebration on July 1, 2017, 11:30 am-2:30 pm at the Toronto Botanical Garden & Edwards Gardens, 777 Lawrence Ave. East (at Leslie). The community is invited to join in: there will be free food, an information booth, live entertainment and lots of fun for children and people of all ages.

hands free stay tuned for further developments


JULY 2017

Leaside Life contributors Lorna Krawchuk, Geoff Kettel and Carol Burtin Fripp are among 20 constituents from Don Valley West to be honoured on July 1st, 2017 by MP Rob Oliphant. The Canada 150 Award for Citizenship has been inaugurated to both celebrate the historic 150 milestone and honour people who have built our country through their contributions in leadership, community service, sports and countless other ways. Award recipients will receive a special limited edition Anniversary pin, that actually contains a special piece of Canadiana, as it has been fashioned from copper that was recently removed from the roofs of Canada’s Parliament during a renovation.


Canada 150 Award for Citizenship



JULY 2017

My latest escapade had me “summoned” to the Leaside Lawn Bowling Club at Hanna Rd. and Parklea Dr. I was invited to the open house so off I went to bowl – outside! When I arrived I saw lovely greens and people everywhere – but no bowling pins. How does one bowl without pins? This would be my journey for the next couple of hours. Fun fact #1: Lawn bowling is very similar to curling, minus the ice and the falling. After a few rounds with publicity liaison and patient teacher Gloria Paisley, I was feeling this game and liking what I saw. Lawn bowling is played on a flat grass surface (the green), with teams delivering a bowl (not a ball) down the green towards a target called a “jack.” Players take turns throwing with the goal of getting their bowls as close to the jack as possible. Points are awarded to those with bowls closest to the jack. Gloria loves introducing lawn bowling to new players and calls the greens “Leaside’s best-kept secret.” The green is divided into parallel, equal length “rinks,” so multiple teams can play side by side. As for the bowls, you may be envisioning your favourite cereal dish being tossed across the lawn with no regard for safety, but you’d be wrong! A bowl is much like a dense leather ball, except it’s slightly flatter and heavier on one side. The weighted side, marked by a small symbol, is called a “bias.” Bowls don’t roll in a straight line. Like curling, these objects curve inward on the weighted side when thrown, leaning towards the direction your bias is facing. This is what makes it interesting. Still with me?

Fun fact #2: Some lawn bowling terms are also used in curling, such as: the hog line (the marker for the minimum distance travelled), the centre line, ends (rounds played), and delivery (meaning to throw the ball/ stone). The players’ positions are also the same, like the lead (first player) and the skip (team captain), for example. You may remember when

“When you start, Karli Vezina you’re all over the place,” she said. “Then you realize that there is a strategy to it and your competition is really with yourself because you’re trying to improve.” I had the “all over the place” part down, so it seemed I was

Lawn bowling in action at the Leaside Lawn Bowling Club open house. your fearless columnist dove into the world of curling last November? Thanks to the Leaside Curling Club, I was familiar with the words being thrown around the greens. Many Leaside curlers join lawn bowling in the off-season to keep fit, and with so many similarities, I can see why. After my lesson, I was feeling limber and loose, but the bowls and I were not getting along. My throws were mostly too heavy-handed or too light, too crooked or too straight. I had not yet unlocked the secret to lawn bowling success, but Gloria assured me this was normal.

Gloria teaches Karli how to deliver a bowl.


I’ll Try Anything Once!

on the right track. For people who want to check out lawn bowling in Leaside, the LLBC offers a complimentary four-time pass with coaching before joining as a member. Located in Talbot Park with over 150 active members, Leaside’s yearround lawn bowling club is owned by the City of Toronto but run by members on a volunteer basis. The LLBC offers social and competitive games in affiliation with the Ontario Lawn Bowls Association and Lawn Bowls Canada. The Leaside lawn bowling season runs from May until September with games in the morning and evening to suit your schedule. This game is really rocking the nation. There are 127 lawn bowling clubs in Ontario across 16 districts, totalling over 5,600 members. Clubs exist across 10 provinces, with more than 200 lawn bowls clubs across Canada. If you’re looking to celebrate Canada 150 with something new, find your local lawn bowling club and give it a shot! What’s next? Send suggestions to and let us know! For more info:,, Bowler’s Handbook 2017, Bowls Canada Boulingrin,


Vezina is bowled over at “Leaside’s best-kept secret”

Celebrating Canada and Ontario’s 150th in Leaside.


My best wishes to you and your family on the sesquicentennial anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Thanks to the Leaside community for your contribution to Ontario’s mosaic.

Eve & wknd. appts. Flat fees

Kathleen Wynne MPP Don Valley West


leaside2.pdf 1 2017-06-12 9:07:47 AM










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Celebrating Canada’s 150th birthday has naturally prompted me to look back at some of the high points in the life of our country and community. While engaged in this honourable and reflective pursuit, I also came across one of the low points, and my own modest (or rather immodest) complicity. Yes, I know I’m dating myself when I raise the long and thankfully forgotten topic of “streaking.” It was a phenomenon that swept the world for a mercifully brief time back in the early ’70s. It was a vibrant but short-lived cultural aberration that even reached Leaside’s sheltered precincts. If only for academic edification, I think streaking deserves to be exposed, laid bare, and stripped of its pretension as a bona fide trend in that strange decade all those years ago. Streaking had reached its zenith early in 1974, when a young, longhaired man trotted on stage at the Oscars, much to host David Niven’s amusement. The camera operator who captured the moment may well have been the same one who shot, or didn’t shoot, Elvis’s illicit hip thrusts on the Ed Sullivan show years earlier. Needless to say, the Academy Awards TV audience saw

Terry Fallis

Guest Columnist

only the upper torso, leaving the offending bits to our oversized imaginations. In a line clearly written before the show, David Niven drolly noted the streaker’s “shortcomings.” Along with disco, insanely wide lapels, and platform shoes – a get rich quick scheme devised by an evil cartel of orthopedic surgeons, podiatrists, and physiotherapists – streaking was perhaps the counterculture’s last gasp attempt to challenge traditional societal mores. But to a 14 year old growing up in leafy Leaside, it just seemed like a minor youthful indiscretion, a harmless spasm of adolescent rebellion, a rare chance to feel the breeze on your entire body. Well,

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it seemed like a good idea at the time. The spring of 1974 – when streaking was very big news – was alternately cool and cold, so we shrank from the idea of streaking in such low temperatures. Rather, my brother Tim and I, along with an unnamed friend, waited until the hot summer – around Canada Day – before we mustered our courage for a late-night run decked out in our birthday suits. We gathered beneath the very tall blue spruce on our front lawn at the corner of Parkhurst and Donegall. In hindsight, a clandestine meeting that involved doffing our clothes beneath a tree sporting short, sharp needles really wasn’t a very good idea. Eventually, the three of us stripped down before I raised the concern that we might be recognized even if we were just a fleshtone blur zipping down the street. After all, I had no desire to be arrested or damage my rather lucrative neighbourhood babysitting franchise. My brother’s bright suggestion, which, inexplicably, we immediately adopted, was to cover our faces and heads with our own underwear like some kind of a Stanfield’s briefs balaclava. (All true.) Then, in the dead of night, we dashed out from our coniferous enclave, headed up Parkhurst, and then sprinted along Bayview, passed Norwegian Ski Shop, the smoke shop, and the Avenue Barbershop almost to Mac’s Milk at Manor Road. Leaside’s shopping mecca was deserted at that hour, so we simply turned around and blasted back the way we’d come. A few cars travelling up Bayview may have noticed us, but I doubt it. It lasted about 90 seconds before we triumphantly retreated to our prickly spruce hideout, pulling needles from various parts of our bodies. We quickly restored our underwear to its more traditional location and pulled on our shorts and T-shirts. In the end, it’s quite possible that not a single soul witnessed our forbidden folly. But we were exhilarated by our powerful assault on Leaside’s straitlaced conventions, even if we were the only ones who knew about it. A two-time winner of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, Terry Fallis is the award-winning author of five national bestsellers, including his most recent, Poles Apart. His sixth novel, One Brother Shy, was published by M&S in May, 2017.


Streaking? It seemed like a good idea at the time!

The Leaside Gardener:

Debora Kuchme Columnist

from our natural areas. Meanwhile, nurseries and garden centres continue to sell them to landscapers and gardeners who continue to plant them. So what can we do? We can stop adding to the problem and start removing these offenders from our own gardens. But until ALL of us understand that this is a problem, our forests, ravines and riverbanks will evolve into something very different from today, and that comes with scary consequences. Information is out there, but it can be daunting and sometimes misleading depending on how you do your search. The most informative site I found was at and it was here that I found “Grow me instead,” a thorough guide to knowing the current inva-


The Norway maples were specifically chosen by our street planners because of their ability to thrive. These trees could take compacted soil, pollution, and produce a quick canopy for our streets. That must have seemed like a great idea at the time. Some 80 years later, the Norway maples have taken over 60 per cent of our native sugar maples. Some put the number as high as 90 per cent in the forest surrounding the Evergreen Brickworks. This is what invasive plants are capable of. As we celebrate Canada’s 150 years, it seems like an opportune time to look back at some other botanical introductions. Many of our familiar garden plants were introduced in the 1800s by our early settlers. They brought with them their passion for gardening along with the greatest of intentions: some as a food source or for medicinal purposes, some for their ornamental beauty, and others as a simple reminder of home. English ivy, lily of the valley and periwinkle are three plants that every Leaside gardener knows. They’ve been with us for so long, we consider them garden staples. They’ve turned ugly walls into things of stately charm, provided us with intoxicating fragrance, and filled those dry shady spots with beauty. I’m sure you have at least one of these plants in your garden. I have them all, but didn’t plant them; they just showed up and I welcomed them with open arms. But today I’m looking at all three in a new light and with deep concern because every one of them is on the invasive species list for our area. It’s no longer just the infamous Norway maple, Japanese Knotweed, purple loosestrife and Phragmites. The invasive plant list has grown and is growing as fast as these plants are spreading (or should I say infesting) their way through our natural and delicate ecosystem. This is a particular problem for us in Leaside because we are surrounded by forests, ravines, riverbanks and parks, and this is where invasive plants do the most damage. They’re putting our native species at risk and this means our natural ecosystem will change or possibly vanish. The City of Toronto along with environmental organizations and countless volunteers are working hard to clear out these plant invaders


JULY 2017

Invasive species – the road to hell was paved with good intentions

sive plants in our area. They identify the problem plants, explain the best ways to eradicate and safely dispose of them and suggest beautiful native alternatives to replace them with. I intend to deal with all of my plant bullies now and it’s not going to be easy. Some I will try to contain; others, I will eradicate, but most importantly, I will do no further harm. Here’s to the next 150 years of gardening for Canada!

A woman other than Queen Elizabeth is now gracing the new Canada 150 commemorative $10 bank note. Leaside’s own Agnes Macphail is sharing space on the latest paper note. Macphail represented the riding of Grey Southeast as the first female MP from 1921 (the first year in which women could vote) until 1940. Then, in 1943, she was elected as one of the first two female MPPs for the riding of York East, which included Leaside, and served until 1945, and again from 1948 until 1951.

ments included the founding of the Elizabeth Fry Society for female offenders and the passing of equal pay legislation in 1951. A plaque marks Macphail’s house at the corner of Millwood Rd. and

Macphail was also the first female in a Canadian delegation to the League of Nations, and a strong advocate for the rights of farmers, miners, immigrants, prisoners and women. Her many accomplish-

Donegall Dr. Quoting the famous Leasider, Rob Oliphant, the Member of Parliament for Don Valley West, said in a special ceremony recently that also featured Grade 9 and 10 Leaside

Janis Fertuck Columnist

High students: “Never apologize. Never explain. Just get the thing done and let them howl.” Joining in the presentation were Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, and Filipe Dinis, Chief Operating Officer of the Bank of Canada. The Bank has been working on this new note for the last three years, and it incorporates many ideas gathered from consultations with the public. In fact, it is only the fourth commemorative bill in the Bank’s 82-year history. Along with Macphail, the note features two Fathers of Confederation, Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir GeorgeÉtienne Cartier, as well as James Gladstone, who was Canada’s first senator of First Nations origin.



JULY 2017


Not just the Queen: Leaside’s Agnes Macphail honoured on the new $10 bill

Rob Oliphant, MP and Ginette Petitpas Taylor at the Agnes Macphail house. The back of the bank note contains five scenes from across Canada, including a prairie wheat field and the Northern Lights. Also included on the bill are various symbols, iconic buildings and art work. Forty million bills were released on June 1, and, since the design will not be repeated, they will become instant collectors’ items. And especially for Leasiders, who recognize how Agnes Macphail helped to shape Canada. To read the complete story, visit



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CANADA 150: LEASIDE IN OUR NATION’S HISTORY Eons ago, the land that is now Leaside sat on the shores of an ancient Lake named Iroquois and first farmed, then industrialized, and finally modelled for comfy homes. The combination of all

JULY 2017



1912: Landscape Architect Frederick Todd begins Garden City design for Leaside

1927: Leaside Viaduct opens 1929: The Stock Market crashes leading to the Great Depression. 1938: Henry Talbot is Mayor (serves until 1947) 1939: Rolph Road Public School and St. Anselm Catholic School open • WWII starts, Canada declares war on Germany 1913: Town of Leaside is incorporated, population 43

1820 1867 1820: John Lea arrives in Leaside from England 1843: William Lea builds the octagonal house called Leaside

• Randolph McRae elected 1st Mayor • Canada Wire & Cable opens

1867: Dominion of Canada created, John A. MacDonald 1st Prime Minister 1894: CP Railway opens Leaside Junction train station

1914: Britain declares war on Germany, Canada drawn into World War I

1918: Women win the right to vote in federal elections

• Lincoln Electric opens 1917: Leaside Airfield opens • Canadians victorious at Vimy Ridge, France • 1st Temporary Federal Income Tax introduced

1921: Leasider Agnes Macphail is the 1st woman elected to the House of Commons 1924: Leaside population 500

Credits: City of Toronto Archives. Octagon House: The Pitfield Family. Margaret Atwood: Larry D. Moore CC BY-SA 4.0.

1919: WWI ends, Treaty of Versailles

1992 & 1993: Toronto Blue Jays win the World Series 1993: John Godfrey elected as MP for Don Valley West (serves for 15 years until 2008)

1974: Leaside Girls Hockey founded

1949: Leaside population 14,826 1952: Leaside Hockey Association founded

2003: Kathleen Wynne elected as MPP for Don Valley West

1981: Terry Fox dies of cancer, leaves legacy of Marathon of Hope

1956: Eglinton Ave. extended to Don Mills 1957: Margaret Atwood graduates from Leaside High School

1940: HMS Leaside serves in WWII

1997: East York is amalgamated to form mega city of Toronto

1967 1960: Native people living on reserves win right to vote in federal elections 1963: Beth Nealson is mayor of Leaside until 1966

2017 2013: Kathleen Wynne elected as 1st female premier of Ontario • Leaside turns 100

1940: Research Enterprises opens, employs 7,500 people as part of the war effort 1942: 22,000 Canadians of Japanese descent are interned 1944: Northlea Public School opens

1967: Town of Leaside is amalgamated with East York, population 23,000 • Canada turns 100

2006: Stephen Harper elected as Prime Minister of Canada

2017: Agnes Macphail becomes the 1st woman since the Queen to be on Canada’s paper currency 1945: Leaside population 9,800



1948: Leaside High School opens in present location

JULY 2017


remained untouched for millennia. With the arrival of Europeans, the land was these activities has morphed into the community we know (and love) today.

Leaside High’s graduating superstars



JULY 2017

Cindy Chen

By JANIS FERTUCK This is a banner year for exciting news about university acceptances and scholarships at Leaside High. Three students – Sahar Abdalla, Cindy Chen and William Chinnery – won the prestigious TD Canada Trust Scholarship for Community Leadership, granted to only 20 students across Canada. Denise Wilson, curriculum leader for guidance, says it is the first time there have been three recipients from one school, testament to these students’ outstanding qualifications. The scholarship, valued at $70,000, includes paid summer employment, mentorship and networking opportunities. Two other students – Gemma Postill and Sydney Morrison – are pursuing their dreams of medicine and veterinary medicine at the University of Western Ontario and the University of Edinburgh, respectively.

Sahar Abdallah

Recognizing the challenges faced by youth in one of Toronto’s most multicultural communities, Sahar became a youth director on the Flemingdon Park Parent Association. She started a drop-in homework centre for students from Grades 4 to 6 and served as one of the tutors. Sahar also organized leadership workshops and a soccer house league. She was an editor of her student newspaper and was on the robotics team. Sahar plans to study software engineering at the University of Toronto.*

Cindy has a wide variety of interests. After tutoring a blind teenager in Beijing in English, she started a program called Vision Exchange to connect sighted English-speaking mentors with blind Chinese partners. The program has expanded to 120 participants in three countries. Cindy also ran music theory and science youth camps at the Victoria Park Hub community centre. After taking part in an entrepreneurship and science program at Laval University, she realized she wanted to be an engineer and initiated the business club at school. Cindy will be studying engineering science at the University of Toronto, and hopes to become a professor or economist while continuing to compose music.*

William Chinnery

Ever since arriving at LHS, William was indispensable to staff and students alike. His 2,000 hours of community service were inspired by the volunteers who helped him as a young cancer patient. William is president of both the tech crew and the radio club in charge of announcements. He designed an online test registration process for special education students to get support during tests which has been adopted by other schools. At Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, he introduces children to technology and robotics, and he provides audio-visual and technology mentorship to students at Northlea. William will be taking business technology management at Ryerson.*

Gemma Postill

Gemma has received one of the five President’s Entrance Scholarships at Western worth $65,000. She plans to study medical science and pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. First inspired by her Grade 7 science teacher, who introduced her to the wonders of the human cell, Gemma has had several summer experiences in which she was exposed to medical settings and interactions with patients: a volunteer trip to Argentina in 2015, a Student Leadership Conference in Health and Medicine in Washington, and Oxford Scholastica in 2016.

Sydney Morrison

In Grade 7, Sydney did a science project that involved breeding dwarf hamsters. When the mother disappeared, Sydney took the tiny babies to Leaside Animal Clinic to find out how to care for them. Six of the seven survived, she got 100% on the project and decided to become a veterinarian when she saw “the fragility of the babies and learned how to help them.” Now she works at the same clinic as a technician, and this semester is doing a co-op placement there, shadowing a veterinarian. Sydney has decided on the University of Edinburgh because the program is placement-based and matches her learning style. She is excited about her future and can hardly wait for her “lambing placement” next Easter Break. * Information courtesy of TD Scholarships website.

Left to right: Cindy Chen, William Chinnery, Gemma Postill and Sydney Morrison. Not pictured: Sahar Abdallah. Photos by Janis Fertuck.

Everything’s blooming for Leaside’s student gardeners

Rick Hutchings, the Community Planting and Junior Gardening Director of the Leaside Gardening Society, co-ordinates the planting of the flower beds by elementary school students with City of Toronto workers Gary Cardoso, Rick Revoredo and Ginaya Smith. The workers will maintain the gardens for the rest of the season.


JULY 2017


As part of their Grade 3 Science curriculum, students from St. Anselm Catholic School plant the flower bed in Father Caulfield Parkette, named for the founder of the school and located at Cameron Cres. and MacNaughton Rd. Students from Bessborough did the same at Trace Manes and those from Northlea planted the green space at Bessborough and Eglinton.


Budding Garden Society members from Grade 2 and 3 classes at St. Anselm enjoy planting their bed, which is often featured in photos of wedding parties from the church during the summer. Both Nora Campbell and Joanna Blanchard, the past and current presidents of the Garden Society, believe that the planting teaches the children a lesson in “ownership of gardens and pride in their neighbourhood.”

Happy Canada Day from the Leaside Garden Society!


Happy 100th, Leaside Aerodrome


JULY 2017

By SUSAN SCANDIFFIO Leaside, 2017. Construction. Congestion. How do you even find your way in and out of the neighbourhood? While the dream of (quiet) air travel may seem like a fantasy, 100 years ago, an airport did exist right here in our very own land of gridlock. In the middle of the First World War, the British Royal Flying Corps was in need of additional pilots, mechanics, and maintenance crews so Canada stepped up. Construction of several training stations, including ones in Armour Heights, Long Branch, and here, in Leaside, were approved. Canadian Wire and Cable, the neighbourhood’s first industry, provided 220 acres of land, and plans for the building of the Leaside Aerodrome began. A paved street named Government Road, now known as Merton (in Davisville Village) and McRae (in Leaside), was built as a supply route

from Yonge St. Construction began on May 21, 1917. The 220-acre site ran from Sutherland in the west, the Don Valley in the east, Wicksteed in the south, and Broadway in the north. After the land was drained, construction began on nine hangars, living quarters, mess halls, instructional and repair facilities, and a military hospital, which stood at approximately the intersection of what is now Sutherland and Eglinton. The airport had two grassy runways, one running east-west and one north-south. The British government paid for both the land and the Curtiss JN-4 (Jenny) airplanes used for training Canadian and American pilots, instructors, and mechanics. As the number of men registering to train as pilots decreased in 1918, Captain Brian Peck convinced his superiors to allow him to fly to Montreal from Leaside to perform aerobatics over the city to attract

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potential trainees. While this was his stated intention, Peck, originally from Montreal, hadn’t seen his family in over a year and used the flight as both a military mission and family visit.

Bad weather forced the cancellation of the aerobatics, but Peck ended up making history for a very different reason. He and his passenger, Corporal E. W. Mathers, were asked to deliver a bag of 100 pieces of mail to Toronto. With the permission of the deputy postmaster in Ottawa, the flight took off on June 23rd with the country’s first delivery of airmail. The plane encountered terrible weather, which resulted in a slow flight. But the plane was also overloaded with a very heavy case of Old Mull Whiskey, which the officers were carrying to Prohibition-time Toronto to celebrate the marriage of a fellow officer. The great weight caused excessive fuel to burn and meant adding two stops in Kingston and Desoronto. On June 24th, the plane with the mail bag in tact arrived in Leaside. The historic flight is commemorated with a heritage plaque at the intersection of Brentcliffe and Broadway. Sadly, the plaque was installed just months after Peck’s death in 1958 so the famous mail carrier was never able to witness the commemoration of his flight. With the end of the war, the aerodrome downsized to 160 acres and became a private airport as well as Toronto’s customs airport. Pleasure rides were available, while other pilots entertained patrons of the CNE with feats such as formation AERODROME, page 32



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Stand faithfully, Leaside High! LHS Class of 1957 still going strong 60 years later


JULY 2017

By JANIS FERTUCK How many people can say they attended their 60th high school reunion? According to Peter White, one of the principal organizers of Leaside High’s 60th, 20 members of the class of 1957 can make that boast after attending a luncheon at Fantasy Farm in June. Sandwiches and cake were just a small part of the affair. The main items on the menu were memories and laughter. Most remembered high school as being full of rules and regulations, a stricter regime than teens face today. There was always lots of homework in their eight classes, but they never considered not doing it, as they would be embarrassed in class if they had not completed it. There were higher expectations to be on their best behaviour in class as well. The women complained about having to wear uniforms of tunics and bloomers four days a week, in theory to eliminate any competition and obvious class distinctions among the girls. Marie Allen Plummer, who

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was sporting her monogrammed LHS blazer, added that, by the time they reached Grade 12, the uniform had changed to grey skirts and white blouses. Apparently, the boys were never bound by a dress code. The reunion-goers had nothing

Wharram directed three choirs with what Sally Herbert White described as a “magical command.” She was so successful that, after winning the Kiwanis Festival three years in a row, they received a “permanent shield” for excellence. There were



LHS 5T7 60th Anniversary Reunion. Front Row: Anne High (Shields), Sally Hergert (White), Greg Kasparian (School Captain), Jackie Hough (Williams) and Ron Williams. Back Row: John Cowan, Gary Hodgins, Stan Litch, Marie Allen (Plummer), Stewart Halliday, Peter White, Al Pounsett, Betty Pounsett, Nancy Doige (Wahlroth), Don McCrossan, Joy Bingley (Upland), David Martindale, Marie Ellis(McCready), Liz Brown (Fletcher), Doug Linton, Barb Ferguson (Bassett) and Ellen Phin (Thompson). but praise for their teachers. Many recalled English teacher Miss Smedley and Dr. Maura, who taught Latin and English. The young language teacher, Sarka Spinkova, came in early and gave up part of her lunch period to teach German to a handful of students. All of this teaching excellence started with Norman McLeod, the first principal of the school, immortalized by the most famous ’57 grad, Margaret Atwood, with his nickname “Chrome Dome” in her novel Cat’s Eye. While Ms. Atwood did not attend the reunion, many of her classmates mentioned her and her description of the “Scottish high school” in the novel. In fact, Dame Flora McLeod, chieftain of the McLeod clan from the Isle of Skye, visited LHS on several occasions to preside over assemblies featuring kilts and bagpipes. To this day, the yearbook is called the “Clan Call,” pipers pipe in the graduates at commencement and the school has the Gaelic motto “Seas Gu Dileas,” meaning “Stand Faithfully.” Many of the graduates remembered with fondness their extracurricular activities as well. Evelyn

also more informal groups such as a band called the “Parkhurst Pterodactyls,” led by John Cowan and Al Pounsett, who played at school dances. Those Friday night dances with jive and rock and roll music provided by student disc jockeys were extremely popular. The footballs games also rank high in their memories. One of the most memorable occurred during Hurricane Hazel when the new gym was flooded. Basketball, volleyball and hockey were other popular sports, as was shooting practice in the rifle range on the bottom floor, a leftover from the ’40s. As Jackie Hough Williams said, “Leaside was the most wonderful place to go.” Students felt safe in the school and neighbourhood, and valued being part of a close-knit community, a feeling which lives on today. Sally White appreciated the fact that students were expected to head to university as that motivated her to become a teacher. This special class have been getting together every five years since their 50th reunion, and are looking forward to #65. Long may they meet, reminisce and “Stand Faithfully.”


JULY 2017


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From Page 5 and Photography Clubs. • Rolph Road ES has a Grade 6 Leadership Team which has chosen the name “Leaders of Tomorrow.” Students are selected via an application, and of the 50 Grade 6 students, almost half are on the team. One aspect of their role is to work with Fernanda Pereira (social worker) and to team up with the Mental Health student group from Leaside HS to develop an action plan around student anxiety. Great leadership skills are being developed at both schools with this initiative. • May 24th until June 8th, Northlea students walked, ran, and hopped around the Northlea track collecting a popsicle stick for every lap. These Kilometre Club trackers then converted the collected sticks into kilometres. With the distance travelled, they made their way across Canada, celebrating a new city every day. • Congratulations to all the Grade 6 students at Bennington Heights and Rolph Road, the Grade 8 students at Bessborough and Northlea, and the Grade 12 students at Leaside HS! Gerri Gershon is the Trustee, Don Valley West, for the TDSB.

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Sandy Bruce, the man behind the “dog park”


motorcycle patrol without two-way communication, when police assistance was required the head caretaker at the school was phoned. “He would then turn on the red light situated on top of the school’s flag pole, the highest point in town. The red-light signal was to alert Sandy that there was a message for him. At night, his assistant, Gord Naggs, would answer calls and pass them on to Sandy.” It was a system one step removed from smoke signals, but it worked when Leaside was a small town. How much smaller could it be, with the police office in the basement of a school?

k‘kPAΊ˜€ The Real Estate Tradition Eventually that makeshift office was replaced by an actual police station at the McRae Drive fire hall, including the town’s first jail cell. As the town grew, fighting crime began to be as important as fighting traffic. The cell is still there today, but you wouldn’t recognize it. It is now part of a day care centre. Just in case the kids get out of hand.

Sandy Bruce Park today.


When Sandy Bruce was hired for the Leaside police force in 1929, his main job was traffic control: the town’s population was only 605, but there were 15 industries and thousands of workers arriving by car, bus, and train. When he left the Leaside police department 17 years later, the job was different and he was the chief... so they named a park after him. Makes sense. According to local historian John Naulls, when Sandy started with the Leaside police, “increasing traffic and speeding automobiles had become a serious problem and it was his job to keep it all in order. So he was constantly on patrol on his motorcycle. “Seventeen years later the population had grown to 11,000 with hundreds of commercial and industrial buildings and increasing crime. In 1946, it was time for the town to say goodbye to Sandy,” he added. To reward him for his years of dedication and service, the Sandy Bruce Park was created in his honour, near the corner of Moore and Bayview Avenues. It’s about 2.5 acres, has a children’s playground and a well-used offleash area for the local canines. But despite its noted beginnings, it still remains something of a hidden gem, set behind some high-rise apartment buildings on Bayview Ave. The naming of parks after prominent figures in the community is a well-established tradition. But beyond the big name there’s often a fascinating tale of a bygone era. Such is the case with Sandy Bruce and the years Leaside started growing up. “He was a convivial fellow and well liked in the community, although his hard policing skills were limited,” says historian Naulls, whose father, Walter, was a constable under Sandy’s watch. “Since the creation of Leaside in 1913, the town council directly ran the police department. Every chief was dismissed by the Council including the fourth chief, Sandy Bruce.” Naulls added, “The police, fire and municipal offices were all set up in the basement of Bessborough School. As Sandy spent most of his time on

JULY 2017



Paul Robert: The accidental Leasider


ROB OLIPHANT, MP DON VALLEY WEST Canada Day 150 Celebration, July 1, 11:30-2:30pm, Toronto Botanical Garden and Edwards Gardens, 777 Lawrence Avenue East (at Leslie).

By LORNA KRAWCHUK Unlike some of our neighbours who choose Leaside to make their home, Paul Robert falls more into the accidental category of Leasider. He and his wife, Sally Spofforth, were shopping at the Bayview & Moore Loblaws when they were renting in Deer Park. They drove around the block after they left, and noticed a house for sale on Mallory Crescent, which had been sub-divided into two apartments. Interest rates were high in 1982, and house prices seemed high too, but they decided they could swing it. They raised their family here, and they’ve never left. Paul comes from a long-lived family in Canada. We describe this country as a land of immigrants, some of whom arrived earlier than others. On Paul’s father’s side, an ancestor arrived in Lower Canada in 1665 as a member of a regiment sent by Louis XIV of France. Moving from Trois Rivières to Chambly, by the time of his grandfather, the family lived in Pain Court, a French community near Chatham, Ont. Paul’s grandfather studied medicine and was one of the doctors involved in the foundation of St. Michael’s Hospital as it transitioned from being an infirmary. His mother’s Catholic family were McLaughlins from Omagh, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland. They arrived in 1820 and first headed north up the Humber to Mono Mills to build a mill. When Orangeville was chosen for the railway route, instead of Mono Mills, they moved back south where Francis McLaughlin established his flour mill at York and Front Sts., then at the base of the city, on the Toronto waterfront. Paul Robert is probably best known to Leasiders as a local politician. He first became active when a proposal came before the Borough of East York Council to build on Mallory Green in the 1990s. The neighbourhood resistance, along with one resident’s documentation firmly establishing Mallory Green as a park, saved this lovely green space. Robert served time on the Leaside Property Owners’ Association board, and his civic involvement continued with the strong anti-amalgamation committees across the city in the late 1990s. It was during this fight that he first met Kathleen Wynne, and was pleased to support her when she first ran as a provincial Liberal candidate in 2003.


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Paul Robert At the same time as amalgamation, the Mike Harris government aligned the provincial ridings with their federal counterparts, which locally meant that the new provincial riding of Don Valley West comprised what had been pieces of four different provincial ridings. Paul became active in riding association politics, to the extent that he was the president of the Don Valley West Provincial Riding Association for a number of years until stepping aside recently to bring in new blood. Paul’s professional career was originally as a drama teacher, first at North Toronto Collegiate and then at Northern Secondary when its drama program expanded. His early career dovetails nicely with one of his retirement interests, acting on the board of Storytelling Toronto, which attracts story-tellers from all over the world. He is also a lover of early music, puns, and is an avid recreational sailor. And one last thing you need to know, even though it has been 352 years since a Robert first arrived on this continent, Paul’s surname is still pronounced à la française.

Leaside Life

We welcome all Letters to the Editor and/or feedback from readers…

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JULY 2017


JULY 2017










MICHAEL BLISS I was pleased to see the article that Leaside Life reran last month to recognize the passing of Michael Bliss. For me, the loss of Michael Bliss is personal. Professor Bliss entered my life as one half of a two-man act in the UofT history department that included James Careless. They introduced themselves to the first year class with the news that, despite the promising title “Careless/Bliss” in the syllabus, the course was not likely to dwell excessively on the history of loose sex in Canada. My (eventual) wife was not deterred by this obvious disappointment. She did well in Professor Bliss’s classes. Having a bent for creative writing, she leavened one of her essays with poetry and song lyrics representative (or at least purportedly symbolic) of the events under consideration. Professor Bliss, instead of deducting marks for the irrelevancies, gave her

an elevated mark for the initiative. His comments at the bottom of her paper included a note to thank her for keeping him awake amidst the tedium of countless papers utterly devoid of similarly entertaining literary embellishment. Years later as my constituent, Professor Bliss was the embodiment of every politician’s fantasy: When he differed with me on a point, he would raise the issue forthrightly and directly but avoided making it personal. He would listen carefully to my position and integrate my information and perspective with his own, and make it easy for me to reciprocate. The result was that each such encounter was productive for both of us and, I hope, for the community we both sought to serve. Just over a year ago I invited Professor Bliss to participate on a panel that I chaired at Massey College, the only other member of which was the celebrated Professor Peter Russell of the UofT Political Science department. Part way through the evening it occurred to the three of us that we might well have convened the event in Leaside: Michael Bliss and I, of course, were both residents of the community, but with the status of imports only. Peter Russell, on the other hand, was a

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product of the area and had clear memories as a boy watching entire swaths of the present day community undergo construction. Both of them told me later that they looked forward to getting together again for a return engagement. I am profoundly disappointed that this, now, will not happen. Michael Bliss was a leading Canadian scholar, but his life was exemplary not only for that but for reasons well beyond that. Every Leaside resident should appreciate having had him in their midst and should share in a profound sense of loss with his passing. John Parker Cameron Crescent NORTH LEASIDE TRAFFIC Not for the first time, I am stating that the concept of forming working committees by you is flawed. The people selected can only speak as individuals and do not democratically represent Leasiders. The North Leaside Traffic Committee presented their findings at a meeting on May 9th. Neither I nor 20 of my neighbours got notice of this meeting. We live in north Leaside between Hanna and Bayview and will be disproportionately disadvantaged by the plan to create cul-de-sacs at the entry points to the community from Bayview Avenue. It blocks off access to areas to our north and west. It will also negatively impact traffic in south Leaside, North York, Don Mills and points further east. A far better solution would be a 30 km/hr. speed limit on residential streets in Leaside and the enforcement of this and illegal turns by speed and red light cameras and by the police. Very high fines and demerit points would be deterrents. The enforcement of a ban on trucks and buses on our residential streets is also needed. Mr. Burnside, as the sole elected official involved, you alone will be held accountable for this initiative. Dan Buckley, M.D. LEASIDE CHURCHES Hi Allan, Thanks so much for your summary article, “What will Leaside’s churches look like in another generation?” It was very well written and evoked a real sense of community and the changing and challenging climate of religion, faith and spirituality surrounding people and churches today. Sincerely, Michele K. Petick Webmaster, Leaside United Church

Thanks (if that’s the correct term) to the elimination of the dump at Moore/Laird, Southvale now carries a heavy load of through traffic, a much greater share than the Leaside civic authorities ever anticipated.

converges with Moore Avenue, and number 5 at the eastern end. When these houses were being built back in the early 1940s, the street we now call Southvale was named Laird Drive. Laird was a north-south street, as it is now, but instead of ending at Millwood Road it hooked westward, extending to where Astor Avenue/Southvale intersect. And located there was a dump, blocking any further east/west traffic. Some years later the dump was removed, opening up the connection between Moore and Laird. Subsequently the name of the street was changed at that corner to Southvale Drive. But the original house numbers remained. So if you call a taxi to a Southvale address, you’re likely to see the taxi initially shoot past, the driver only realizing, too late, that the house numbers are in reverse order. It even confused Google Earth for a while. I offer this historical tidbit to emphasize how traffic issues can completely change over time.

Back to the present Leaside street pattern…many of our streets in both North and South Leaside are now carrying a heavier through-traffic load than they should. It is not just incidental that residents have complained of a gradual but inexorable increase in commuter and retail-oriented drivers using more and more of Leaside’s residential streets throughout the community. When I became involved in the 1970s and started seeking solutions for Leaside’s traffic woes, speeding was our main concern. There are still streets where speed is a problem, but the main issue now is volume. This is likely to continue, and worsen, as development pressures increase, unless we act as a community to adopt a neighbourhood-wide approach to traffic. Now is that time. Councillor Burnside’s North and South Traffic Committees have been working hard to develop ideas to reduce traffic problems in their

Carol Burtin Fripp Co-president, LPOA

areas. The LPOA’s traffic consultant and traffic committee have been doing the same for the entire Leaside area. Leaside as a community needs to work together to coordinate proposed measures where possible. By the time you read this column, the heads of the North Leaside Traffic Committee, South Leaside Traffic Committee, and Leaside Property Owners’ Association Traffic Committee will have met to begin this process. Now that we have a number of proposals to assess, we can identify which measures can most effectively address our traffic problems, street by street, in ways which do not deflect problems from one street to another. In other words, we need to have a system which works as a system and helps everyone. Presenting the resulting recommendations to Leasiders for your buy-in will be essential, because only then can we successfully present a plan to North York Community Council for their assent. The council is only likely to support our efforts to solve Leaside’s traffic issues if the entire community is behind it. Working together is the only way forward. I hope to report our committees’ progress in a subsequent column. Summer is here, but the LPOA’s monthly board meetings continue! Our next meeting is on WEDNESDAY, JULY 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the Noble Room at Trace Manes. These meetings are always open to the public, and take place on the first Wednesday of each month. We invite you to attend, whether for help or advice on local matters, or just to listen.

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JULY 2017

This being Leaside Life’s Canada 150 edition, I thought I’d contribute a bit of history to this month’s column. Once upon a time, there was no through traffic along Southvale Drive. In fact, there was no Southvale Drive. You may have noticed that, unlike most other east/west streets in the city, house numbers on Southvale run backwards, with 135 at the western end where Southvale (now)



Working together to find solutions to traffic woes in Leaside

A funny thing happened on the way to this month’s column. My editor Jane Auster knew I wanted to write an entire article tearing a strip off Bayview shop owners for having terribly inconsistent hours of operation. Although she was prepared to let me do so, Jane suggested that before I get in front of the computer, I visit Sarah Barr, a new shop owner at 1592 Bayview Ave., who’s opened La Muse, a very attractive women’s clothing store. When it comes to Bayview, I’m from Missouri, the show-me state. I recently met Sarah over coffee at her store one morning before it opened doubtful it would be worth my time. Boy, was I wrong! Full of energy and simultaneously a laid back confidence, Sarah couldn’t say enough about how excited she is to be selling on Bayview. Having lived in many different places – she came to Toronto two years ago from Ottawa – the longtime fashion retailer looked at many different Toronto neighbourhoods to set up shop: Leslieville, Bloor West Village, The Beach; the list goes on. She chose Bayview. Bayview reminds Sarah of Westboro Village, the trendy neighbourhood in Ottawa where she owned a women’s clothing store with a partner for 10 years (until selling her share to her partner) that was very eco-friendly – and equally important, very successful. Sarah’s customers came from Toronto and other distant places because of the quality clothing she sold at reasonable prices with topnotch, no BS customer service. More importantly, she became a very devoted board member of the Westboro Village business improvement area. Living in the neighbourhood, Sarah put her heart and soul into making Westboro the place to shop, have a bite, and enjoy life away from work and all the distractions people face these days. However, the Trois-Rivières native always wanted to live in Toronto, and when she met that special someone who happened to live here, Sarah jumped at the chance to relocate. When the fashion veteran, whose grandmother was the seamstress for Governor General Jeanne Sauvé in the 1980s, first toured Bayview she couldn’t believe how much it resembled her old stomping grounds in Westboro Village. With its locally-owned, independent shops like Badali’s Fruit Market that have been a part of the street

Will Ashworth The business of Leaside

for many years, mixed with some national chains, she immediately fell in love with Bayview’s uniqueness. The only missing piece in Sarah’s opinion is more gathering spots for adults such as brewpubs, patios,

My case study for what a well-run BIA could be was none other than Westboro, Sarah’s old stomping ground. Someone with this kind of experience, not to mention enthusiasm for life and business, will only make the street stronger in the long run. If you haven’t been to La Muse already, take the time to visit Sarah and welcome her to the hood. I expect to hear lots of good things about La Muse in the coming weeks, months, and years. Welcome to Leaside, Sarah Barr, welcome!



JULY 2017


Bayview’s got a new creative muse

on-street and rooftop, and other fun places to let down your hair. She is very much a student of Bayview and still trying to understand what makes it tick. Like most shop owners on Bayview who don’t own their real estate, she faces very steep rent, something she isn’t shy about commenting on. But Sarah’s euphoric with the reception she’s received both from other shop owners and Leaside residents. Working up to 15 hours a day to keep up with the brisk demand for her product offerings, she’s hoping to hire some talented retail help to lighten her workload. Not that she’s complaining. When Sarah opened her store in Ottawa, she worked the entire first year by herself until she could afford to hire others. Now 10 years older, she’s obviously wiser, too! (Trae Zammit, if you’re reading this, you ought to take a walk up the street to La Muse and beg Sarah to join the BIA board. She’s that good.) Before its establishment in 2015, I argued on several occasions in Leaside Life that Bayview needed to become a BIA.

Aerodrome... From Page 22 flying, and with the stunt pilot, Lillian Boyer, hanging upside down from a ladder under an airplane. By this time, most of the airport buildings had been removed and only four hangars remained. The Toronto Flying Club temporarily used the airport but folded in 1931. The airport had a brief revival in the forties when the Royal Canadian Air Force operated a radio direction finding school known as RCAF Station Leaside. As industrial buildings and homes were built, remnants of the airport disappeared. The final hangar was demolished in 1971, but memories of the aerodrome still remain in the neighbourhood with the first airmail commemorative plaque and the names of Brian Peck Crescent and Aerodrome Crescent in the area. Happy 100th, Leaside Aerodrome! While road issues may be a tremendous problem today, perhaps we can be thankful for the lack of local airplane noise?

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JULY 2017


Laird in Focus hits its stride


JULY 2017


By now you have heard about Laird in Focus, City Planning’s omnibus study and plan for: the Laird Focus Area – the large block of former industrial lands from Laird east to Aerodrome (east of Brentcliffe) and south to Vanderhoof; the west side of Laird down to Millwood; and a transportation planning study of the Leaside Business Park. As mentioned in Leaside Life (January 2017), at the launch on November 30 there was a fair amount of skepticism about the value of the study. Comments were heard about the study area (actually three different study areas not making sense; with all the planning applications already submitted or approved in the study area, isn’t it a case of “too little, too late”?). But the study has offered several community engagement opportunities since the launch: the Transportation Summit on March 25; the Heritage Focus Group On April 27; the Visioning Workshop on May 1; and the design charrette on June 3rd. And a community advisory committee has been appointed (of which, full disclosure, I am a member). These meetings have all been held in Leaside, in churches or at the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens. The study was scrutinized further by the City’s Design Review Panel (a group of design professionals appointed by the City) on June 8, and by the Toronto Planning Review Panel (a resident advisory group providing input into the planning process) on June 10.

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I was skeptical, but no longer. Here’s why. This is the first large scale area study in Leaside for at least 20 years (let’s not count Eglinton Connects’ Bayview Focus Area Study 2013, which held exactly zero meetings in the Leaside community). And regardless of the study’s official boundaries, the planners are being told that context is critical, and the “place” under study is “Leaside” with its amazing history of combined residential and industrial land uses. That attention to the residential/industrial areas and their interface relationship needs to be revitalized. And lastly, I was impressed with the consultants selected by the City – they seem very sensitive to Leaside, the place. The charrette (a fancy word for a design workshop) felt like genuine engagement – intense, real-time interaction, processing of ideas and observations, even visualization of possible futures for three sites on Laird! What’s being said about Laird in the various workshops and meet-

ings? People want big ideas, and they want to have a say in what happens. They are tired of just reacting to development applications for another mid- or highrise. As Jane Jacobs famously said, “Planners think in blocks, people think on streets.” So what are some of the observations and ideas coming forward for Laird: • It’s gritty, not pretty, but there are lots of essential/necessary uses there. • Unusual and interesting (tough?) street, because west and east sides are so different. •  Streetscape is poor for pedestrians and non-existent for cyclists. • Poor interconnections across the street – this goes right back to Frederick Todd, who deliberately did not align the streets between the residential and the industrial areas. • The median is a problem – while it restricts car-turning movements, it facilitates pedestrian crossing only between signalized intersections. And very unfriendly for pedestrians and cyclists. • Future direction should be to make Laird more fine-grained, less massive, recognizing that Laird is no Bayview (it is counterpoint to Bayview), and never will be because it abuts industrial, not residential, lands. • The big box stores are transitional uses – future is not retail, as retail goes digital, and with so many acres of parking, it’s just not economically feasible. • The opportunity is to make the area attractive to new creative industry – a new Liberty Village or King West? • Laird is “asymmetrical,” so it may be wise to accept this in design, for example, have bi-directional bike lanes on the west side. • The community is looking for big ideas – create a bigger vision for Laird and the industrial area (this makes sense here as context is everything). The consulting team will take the summer to develop three options, and we’ll hear more from City Planning in the fall. Let’s hope they avoid the generic approach and present some creative solutions.

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Leaside Life issue 62 July 2017  
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