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No. 59 / April 2017

Leaside Life

Wilfrid Heighington and the Battle of Vimy Ridge Pg 4

THE VIMY CONNECTION April 9, 2017 will mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War and the Battle of Vimy Ridge. This battle forged Canada’s path towards true independence and paved the way to an Allied victory in the War. In the March issue of Leaside Life, Allan Williams shared with our readers the very personal connection of Leasider Drew Hamblin to Vimy. We also called on Leasiders to share their own stories about Vimy. We were moved by the many stories we received. In this issue, we are proud to share some of them with you.


The Spiral Garden: An oasis in Leaside

Holland Bloorview’s Spiral Garden staff artists (l-r), Thiago, Lynn and Marek share the Music Circle with participants Kate and Zach. By JANIS FERTUCK There are many different kinds of summer camp, but a unique camp experience can be found right in North Leaside at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, the largest children’s rehabilitation hospital in Canada, and a global leader in applied research, teaching and family-centred care. As part of their mission to create “a world of possibility” for disabled children, the facility runs the Spiral Garden Summer Day Program, a fully integrated offering open to both children with disabilities and those without. This innovative and inclusive community started in 1984, as their website states, “to create a community that values the whole person, promotes self and group expression and builds a hands-on relationship with nature and art.” Holland Bloorview research shows that integrated programs yield many benefits by providing a space for all children to participate, interact and grow.

The Spiral Garden is an outdoor art, garden and play program set in a lovely one and a half acre site at Holland Bloorview. The program, for children aged 6 to 18, is run by professional artists, support and medical staff. This year there are four twoweek sessions and the new option of four one-week sessions offered from July 4 to August 25, with 60 children in each session and a 50-50 ratio of children with and without disabilities, some of whom are siblings. While there are several structural markers to each day, with a morning group music and story circle, a conch sounding to signal lunch time, and a relaxation session at the end of the day, what sets this program apart is the absence of a set schedule for each child. Instead, kids are free to follow their own interests to various table-top activity areas such as woodworking, “clay world,” painting, puppets, mask-making, cooking and tending the organic garden. The tables are covered with

I was so pleased to see the article about Drew Hamblin and his connection to Vimy Ridge in last month’s issue. I too, have a personal connection, as my grandfather, Wilfrid Heighington, served at Vimy. Wilfrid left for France in 1915 at 18 years old. He was wounded twice (he had the unpleasant experience of having a Medical Officer

SPIRAL, Page 12

VIMY, Page 4

What Vimy means to me


On the cutting edge with Billy and Hilary at Salon Ten Ten salon together in a neighbourhood and community that feels so much like home. From a young age both Billy and Hilary knew they wanted to own their own business. Hilary used to watch her uncle Peter Sullivan (now retired from Leaside business Peter Sullivan Landscaping) and aunt


Leaside Life, April 2017


Hilary & Billy By VICKI HALL It’s always exciting when a new business opens in Leaside. You might have noticed that the southeast corner of Sutherland and McRae is now the home of Salon Ten Ten. This business might be new to the neighbourhood, but owners Hilary Comiskey and her boyfriend Billy Tsopotos are certainly

no strangers to the area. Hilary is a third generation Leasider. Her grandmother (86 and going strong) grew up on Bessborough and is still very active in the congregation at St. Anselm’s Church. Hilary grew up on Bessborough and her parents still live in her childhood home. Billy grew up close by in East York. So it seems it was a natural choice for the young couple to open their first

work together building a successful company. As a young boy, Billy spent summers in Greece watching his grandfather, a barber, groom the men of their village. He was fascinated by the precision with which SALON TEN TEN, Page 19

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Last month, Leaside Life reported on a visit by Premier Kathleen Wynne to three residents of Suomi-Koti, the Finnish-Canadian Seniors Centre on Eglinton, to celebrate their upcoming centenary birthdays. The Premier presented each woman with a framed certificate to mark this milestone, and took time to chat with them about their long and rewarding lives. AILI KUKKONEN Aili turned 100 on March 10th. She was born in Finland and came to Canada in 1955 with her three children. Husband Erkki, who had two brothers living here already, immigrated a few months earlier to find a job and a place to live. Aili enjoyed growing up on a farm, attending school in Mänttä and working as a lab assistant. In Canada, she worked as a cleaning lady and her husband as a skilled carpenter. One highlight for them was being able to purchase their first home. Aili’s favourite vacation spot is Cuba, and she believes the recipe for a long life is having a healthy

lifestyle, enjoying one’s home and having a wonderful family. Aili moved to Suomi-Koti in 1996 and enjoys the combination of having her own apartment while taking part in the many activities, and savouring the Finnish environment there. RAUHA SALONEN Rauha, who will celebrate her 100th birthday on December 16, came to Canada in 1951 with her four children, following her husband, who had arrived six months earlier. Upset about a large increase in taxes after building a home in Finland, they decided to move to Canada, known as a land of opportunity that welcomed immigrants. Many of their friends had moved here as well. In Canada, Rauha worked as a cleaning lady in homes during the day, and in offices at night. In fact, she had such a close relationship with some of her clients that she continued working for them into her 70s. In addition to caring for her four children, six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, Rauha has pursued two other passions: dancing

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and painting. She was part of a dance troupe that toured Finland and Estonia in her youth, and she met her husband in a dance hall. She continued to go dancing even after her husband passed away, and she’s had several dance partners since then. She even did a couple of steps with the Premier. Rauha also has a talent for painting, and has filled hundreds of canvasses over the years. Rauha’s youngest daughter, Ulla Campbell, reported that her mother’s recipe for living a long life is keeping active with lots of hard work and “maintaining a happy attitude towards life.” To that end, Rauha has travelled to Cuba 19 times, loves to sing, and has a great CENTENARIANS, Page 23



Premier Wynne congratulates Aili Kukkonen.


Leaside Life, April 2017

Three Suomi-Koti residents going strong in their 100th year!

What Vimy means to me...cont’d from cover

Leaside Life, April 2017


pull a sheet over his face and say it was no use), and returned to further fighting. He was at the Somme in 1916 and at Vimy in 1917. He came home at the end of the war with what they termed “nervous debility.” His brother Geoffrey survived battle, earning the Military Cross for bravery, and then cruelly died in the influenza epidemic of 1918. It is my conjecture that my grandfather suffered what would now be called post-traumatic stress disorder. Although he married, had three children whom he adored, and enjoyed a successful career as a lawyer, writer, and member of provincial parliament for St. David’s – from all accounts he suffered greatly from what he witnessed in that hellish war. I often wonder how much, if any, support there was for veterans in those days. My grandparents made the pilgrimage to France in July, 1936 to the unveiling of the Vimy Memorial presided over by the King. How my grandfather felt about returning to the scenes of these epic battles is forever unknown. His body full of shrapnel, Wilfrid died of pneumonia at the age of 47 in 1945. My mother was only 15. Recently, I came into possession of a box full of Wilf’s papers. In it are many treasures – including the program from the Vimy Memorial unveiling, maps and official reports he wrote from the front, telegrams to his mother reporting him as “dangerously ill,” a large collection of personal letters, and most magically, an envelope containing two pressed poppies with the note “from Vimy Ridge.” All of this affected me deeply, and compelled me to make a memory book this past year for my sisters and my kids. Vimy is personal to me, but I feel

Wilfrid Heighington and poppies from Vimy

that all Canadians must make April 9th an important day of remembrance. While I talk to my own kids about our family history to no end, I feel all Canadian children need to know the story of their sacrifice and Canada’s “coming of age.” Unfortunately, when I reached out to the schools, I was told that it is not in the TDSB curriculum until Grade 10 and that “the understanding would be lost to the elementary students.” I couldn’t disagree more. Robin Dickie, Leaside resident

Alex Adamson

Doug Adamson tells the story of this father Alex My father, Alex Adamson, was a 20-year-old private in Toronto’s 48th Highlanders regiment when he went over the top with the 15th Battalion at Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. He had arrived in England in the fall of 1916 and trained on Salisbury Plain before going to France in early 1917. During the months before Vimy he served in the front lines and participated in numerous raids on the German trenches. What he remembered most about the Vimy attack was waiting in the trenches in the cold and sleet and hearing the sound of a single shell from a naval gun far in the rear coming over his head and crashing onto the German trenches at exactly 5:30 a.m. to open the barrage that signaled the start of the attack. He had experienced creeping barrages before during big raids, but he remembered this one as being particularly tremendous: one gun for every 25 yards of front firing three rounds a minute then moving the barrage forward 100 yards every three minutes. As the Highlanders

left their trenches and advanced over the open ground, they could see the shells falling on the German positions in front of them. His other memory of Vimy was of the luxury of the German dugouts. The Germans had been on the ridge since October 1914 and had deep dugouts with all the comforts of home. In fact, the Germans were so confident in the strength of their positions that one prisoner captured a few days before the battle was reported to have claimed that the number of Canadians who would reach the top of the ridge would be so few they could be taken back to Canada in a rowboat. From the back of the captured German positions, my father remembered looking out over the Douai plain and seeing the slag heaps of the coal mines many miles away. He was wounded during a German barrage shortly after the battle and spent the rest of the war in convalescent hospitals in England. My father and I visited the Vimy monument and walked the battlefield in 1965. He was surprisingly unemotional about the visit. He did, however, remark that he never imagined he would one day be visiting Vimy with his own son. Doug Adamson, Leaside resident

Judi Barnes’ family connection to Vimy Ridge and the “Red Baron” Allan Williams’ article about Vimy Ridge inspired me to share my wife’s personal story about Vimy. Judi Barnes’ maternal grandfather, Bernard Frederick Dunnett (18891955), was born in Ipswich, England, and came to Canada at a young age to work as a “farm boy” in Cannington, Ont. As a private in the 116th Battalion, he embarked on the SS Olympic from Halifax in March 1916. We assume he was in the Battle of Vimy Ridge, as we know from photos that he was one of the 6,200 pilgrims who travelled to France in 1936 for the unveiling of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial by King Edward VIII. While he survived the war, and had a career with George Weston Ltd. selling the famous “Denver Sandwich Bars” (layers of biscuit and chocolate-covered caramel, and a favourite of soldiers overseas), family lore is that Bernard was exposed to mustard gas while in the trenches and died years later of tuberculosis. Judi’s paternal great-uncle, Lieutenant George Henry Rathbone, died at 21 years of age, after only 20 days in France. A graduate of Parkdale Collegiate and member of Parkdale

Canoe Club, he worked in the family business – Rathbone Lumber, near Queen and Dufferin – before enlisting with the 204th Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force in February 1916. He departed from Camp Borden in September 1916, and sailed on the SS Laconia from Halifax on September 27th (six months after Bernard). On reaching England, George secured a commission in the Royal Flying Corps, where he qualified

tea shop near the memorial, Under the Conquests of the Red Baron. They knew the date of their relative’s death and discovered that David and George were shot down by Manfred von Richthofen, the “Red Baron” (so named for his red plane and title of nobility). In von Richthofen’s combat report, as “Victory No. 51,” he noted that “together with my brother, each of us attacked an artillery flyer at low altitude. After a short fight my adversary’s plane lost its wing. When hitting the ground near the trenches, the plane caught fire.” Von Richthofen – considered the “ace-ofaces” of the Great War and perhaps the most widely known fighter pilot of all time, officially credited with 80 air combat victories – was shot down and killed in northern France on April 21, 1918. Together with our son Jack, who attended St. Andrew’s College and Leaside High School, we are humbled by the sacrifices George and Bernard made to ensure freedom, and we remember them through cherished photographs. Jack was fortunate to visit the Vimy Memorial and other battlefields in France on a school trip in 2010 with St. Andrew’s College. Today, 100 years later, we remember those who sacrificed so much. Corey Goldman, Donlea Drive. ■

I’m not number One... Wilfrid Heighington (left) and his brother Geoffrey.


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Leaside Life, April 2017

Bernard Dunnett visits the grave of a fallen comrade at his 1936 Vimy pilgrimage

for his observer’s certificate. On April 9th, the first day of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, he joined the 12th Squadron at Avesnes-le-Comte (25 km south of Vimy), and on April 29th was reported missing. The story goes that he was “on artillery observation work over the German lines in the Arras district, and at 4:30 in the afternoon of April 29, he rose from the aerodrome of his squadron, acting as observer and accompanied by another officer as pilot.” Both are presumed to have been shot down near Monchyle-Preux, France. Although the Rathbone family remained confident that both men had alighted in German territory and were prisoners of war, their bodies were never recovered and are today commemorated in France’s Arras Memorial for the Missing. Hanging on the wall at the Rathbone family cottage are George’s military photo, his “wings” taken from a uniform, and a commemorative scroll from the King, which ends with “Let those who come after see to it that his name be not forgotten.” Nothing further was known about George and his pilot David Davies’ deaths until this past fall. Davies’ family, from South Wales, periodically visits the Arras Memorial and recently came upon a book in a local


Leaside Life, April 2017

Lesley Skelly, Leaside mental health champion By LORNA KRAWCHUK

OPEN Tues-Sat 11-6

1597 Bayview Avenue Toronto, ON M4G 3B5 416-901-0789

Kit Skelly was just 23 when his life ended four years ago by suicide. His parents, Lesley and Dave, as well as his brother and sister, have been on a huge learning curve since then, finding ways to live with this loss. Lesley has been involved in her community her whole life. Following in the footsteps of her community-minded mother, Lesley started volunteering by leading a Girl Guide unit when she was 22 years old. She’s still active as the leader of the Guiding group meeting at the Church of St. Augustine on Bayview. You might have seen Facebook postings from her looking for umpteen bottles of nail polish for a craft, for instance, or ideas for a special international evening for her girls. A few of her posts were about spending two weeks last summer in Alberta in the pouring rain as one of the leaders at a huge international Girl Guide camp. Keep an eye out – it’s getting to be Girl Guide cookie season, and Lesley is always selling! It was only natural that she would want to become more involved in helping support families with mental health issues after Kit’s death. She chose to work with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, as that was Kit’s hospital, and she knew that, while he had received good care there, there could be improvements. She now sits as a member of the Patient and Family Advisory Council to the Psychiatry Department. Wednesday, May 3, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., is a night to put on your calendar if you or your family are looking for support or information about mental health issues. This Community Open House, with opening remarks from the Chief of the Department of Psychiatry, Dr. Ari Zaretsky, will feature four separate workshops – each focusing on a different facet of mental illness: • Taking care of the mental health of older adults • Adding cutting-edge interventions to gold-standard treatment for mood disorders • Addressing the healthcare gap for severe OCD

Lesley Skelly •  U nderstanding youth mental health and accessing help The event will be in the McLaughlin Auditorium, E-wing Ground Floor. Pre-registering by calling (416) 4806100 ext. 5079 will get you free admission, free parking, and light refreshments. In addition to putting this evening together, the Patient and Family Advisory Council has worked on a new patient-friendly brochure to help families and patients in psychiatric treatment at Sunnybrook navigate the process – giving them information about schedules and rules, for instance. Peer support groups for families are being set up to help provide information and support. As well, the state-of-the-art Hurvitz Brain Sciences Centre is bringing together experts in psychiatry, neurology, imaging, pharmacology, neurosurgery, ophthalmology and geriatrics to make Sunnybrook an even greater resource. The Bereaved Families of Ontario organization is also where you can find Lesley. She originally attended a group for parents who have lost children and found it helpful. After being trained herself, she became a facilitator for groups of six to 12 people who attend two hours a week for eight weeks. One more place you just might see Dave and Lesley – at Adamson Barbecue on Wicksteed, the popular Texas-style BBQ hot spot – which just happens to be owned by Lesley’s son Adam and girlfriend Alison Hunt. ■


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Connecting to Mental Health Information & Resources in Your Community Wednesday, May 3rd, 2017 from 6:30 – 9:00 pm A community open house that will include a choice of panel discussions with psychiatrists, support staff, and people with lived experience: Session A: Memory, Mood and Maturity: Taking Care of the Mental Health of Older Adults

Session B: Old and New: Adding Cutting-Edge Interventions to Gold-Standard Treatment for Mood Disorders Session C: When Obsession Takes Over: Addressing the Health Care Gap for Severe OCD at the Thompson Centre Session D: Inside Out: Understanding Youth Mental Health and Accessing Help

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FREE admission § FREE parking in Garage 1 § Light refreshments provided Please RSVP at or 416.480.6100 ext. 5079 Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto McLaughlin Auditorium, E-wing Ground Floor If you or someone you care about is suffering in silence, REACH OUT and get the help you need. For more information on mental health services available to you: Brought to you by Sunnybrook’s Department of Psychiatry and the Sunnybrook Patient and Family Advisory Council.

Leaside Life, April 2017

Settling an Estate?

Leaside Life, April 2017


Leasiders’ basements – all clogged up with nowhere to go If you’ve never experienced a flooded basement, I can tell you that it ranks high on the list of a home owner’s worst nightmare. Messy, stressful, costly and very inconvenient! My first home in Leaside was a small semi-detached with an unfinished basement. There was a drain cover in the middle of the concrete floor, which I didn’t give much thought to, until I went down to do some laundry one morning and noticed a foul odour accompanied by a small lake of nasty looking stuff pooled around it. Panicked, I put on my rubber boots and gloves, got out my mop and bucket, called a local plumber who thankfully arrived quickly with his drain snake in hand and the problem was quickly solved. Wanting to avoid any future floods, I asked him to explain how Leaside’s sewer systems worked and give me some tips about keeping my drains clean and flowing. I learned that my backup was caused by a clogged drain emptying into the sanitary sewer system. This is the system that carries the water

Cheryl Vanderburg Leaside Litterati

from our kitchen and bathroom sinks and toilets to treatment plants before being released into Lake Ontario. Thank goodness for that! He told me that in kitchens, the biggest clogging culprit is the fat, oil and grease (FOG) found in meats, fats, lards, cooking oil, shortening, butter and margarine, food scraps, baking goods, sauces, salad dressings, gravies and dairy products. When we flush these products down our kitchen drains it not only causes a blockage in our household plumbing, but it also builds up in the city sewers and creates blockages which attract rodents and cause back-ups. He suggested I wipe FOG up with a paper towel and dispose of it in my green bin. Done! Next stop was the bathroom toilet. He advised that disposable wipes/ diapers, bandages, cotton balls/ swabs, dental floss, hair, kitty litter, medications, tissues/paper towels, or food should never be flushed down

the toilet as they can clog sewer facilities or may contain harmful chemicals. Lesson learned! I asked him about the grates or catch basins on the roadways. Where did that water go? He explained that the storm sewer system carries rain and melted snow away from our homes and goes, directly, untreated, into our neighbourhood creeks, rivers and, eventually, Lake Ontario. Note to self. I promise to never put anything down a sewer grate including hazardous liquids, dirty/soapy water or flotsam and jetsam that I don’t want to see floating in the Beaches. What is the City doing to prevent basement flooding? A lot! In response to a severe storm in August of 2005 that resulted in the flooding of Leasiders’ homes, City Council approved the “Basement Flooding Work Plan” to undertake investigations to alleviate future flooding in 34 basement flooding areas including Leaside. The objective of this study was to: • assess the existing major and minor storm water systems and the sanitary and combined sewerage systems to identify the causes, mechanisms and impacts of basement flooding, and LITTERATI, Page 22

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Get your skates on at Roarockit Skateboard Company Inc.

Leaside Life, April 2017

By LORNA KRAWCHUK Anyone stopping at the light on Millwood at Sutherland knows the corner property with the huge plate glass window. Long-time Leasiders may have known it originally as an auto supply shop, and then the location for hairdresser Elsa and husband Frank, with their house attached next door on Sutherland. But now a decidedly different business has rolled in and turned Millwood and Sutherland into perhaps the coolest corner in Leaside. Meet Ted Hunter and Norah Jackson of Roarockit. A professor of furniture design at the Ontario College of Art and Design for 28 years, Ted also happens to be a surfer. He and his wife, fine art and graphic designer Norah Jackson, were in Maui in 2001 when they were asked if they would run a woodworking workshop for local teens. “My design work had always included wood bending, so it seemed like an interesting idea to have the class bend wood to learn to make skateboard decks,” says Ted.

Back home in Canada, they thought more about skateboard decks and by the fall of 2002 had come up with a name, “Roarockit,” filed patents in both Canada and the U.S. for a thin air press that didn’t require electricity, and started a business selling skateboard deck kits. Each kit features a Styrofoam mould for the desired shape, eight custom-cut veneer layers of wood, a vinyl vacuum bag, glue, a sander and the pièce de résistance, the pump. Interestingly, the pump, made in Holland for them, is modelled on those rubbery pumps we use in our homes to seal half-drunk bottles of wine. And of course, there are instructions. “The beauty of all this,” says Norah, “is that we are not in competition with traditional skateboard shops. We don’t sell finished boards, trucks, wheels or

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helmets.” But if you are interested in making a beautiful board in any of four traditional shapes, or even a custom shape all your own, Roarockit is the place to go. Just don’t show up at the shop, because it’s a web-based business. Their working space off Bermondsey on Sunrise is full of the supplies needed to assemble and send out kits. There are two choices of 1/16-inch wood veneer on offer – Canadian maple or Canadian birch. Because of typical Canadian weather, Canadian maple is regarded as the best in the world. The maple has the advantage of being strong and stiff. The birch is light and flexible. Roarockit also supplies Japanese bamboo veneer for those looking for something strong and flexible. In some cases, people want that top layer to be a coloured veneer, so they offer that, too. The completed board deck can be then fitted out as a skateboard, but can also become a work of art, with or without wheels. There is even an alternative high school run by the Toronto District School Board called the Oasis Skateboard Factory where every school subject is connected to skateboards: the physics and mathematics components of pressurizing the veneer; board construction; marketing the boards; earning money to support the school where Ted and Norah co-chair the community council. Students have even been hired by the Art Gallery of Ontario. Team-building workshops are another facet of Roarockit’s business. You might see groups at the Millwood and Sutherland site, attending free, one-hour workshops for schools. It’s not all boards for this artistic couple. Norah designed the artwork still used by the Leaside Garden Society for their annual garden tours. ■


The Leaside Volleyball League kills it with fun and learning


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By DANIEL GIRARD Christian Redmann has ample firsthand experience with not making the team. In the early days of his volleyball career, long before playing the indoor game for the University of Toronto, wearing a Canada jersey on the Beach Volleyball World Tour or competing for a spot at the Summer Olympics, Redmann was cut from his share of school and community club teams. “I was always overlooked,” says the 35-year-old, who jokes that the only reason he made his high school team in Oro-Medonte township on the northwestern shores of Lake Simcoe in Grade 11 was that the coach found a spot for everyone who tried out. “I’ve been cut a lot, and I never had a place to play.” Born of that personal experience, Redmann co-founded with 1996 Olympic bronze medalist John Child the Leaside Volleyball League, a 90-minute Sunday session of skills development and games designed for children looking to learn more about the sport without the time commitment a rep team involves. “It’s not ultra-competitive,” Redmann says. “It’s let’s go play and have some fun.” It’s proven to be a successful formula. From around 100 kids in the first house league in the fall of

2010, participation has grown to about 350 in this spring’s league, which began play on March 26. There are now four sessions annually – nine weeks in each of the fall and winter, eight weeks in the spring, and, for the second straight year, a six-week summer one, which runs on Wednesdays and starts on May 24. Each session is broken into three divisions – Junior (Grade 5 and under), Intermediate (Grade 6 to 8), and Senior (Grade 8 to 11) – and culminates with a Championship Day tournament. “It started modestly, but it’s just continued to grow,” says Redmann, who is a two-time Canadian Beach National Champion, competed in the 2011 Pan Am Games in Guadalajara, Mexico and has the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics on his radar. “We try to make it a place where people like to go.” There are no tryouts, so when kids sign up to play with their friends they end up on the same team. At 90 minutes once per week over a two-month stretch, it tends to fit more easily into the schedules of busy children and their families than other more competitive sports. And, though it’s a relaxed atmosphere, the entire session is mapped out by coaches so it’s up-tempo, fun and VOLLEYBALL, Page 24

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Leaside Life, April 2017


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Leaside Life, April 2017

canopies because the activities take place outside, rain or shine. In each activity area, professional artists and musicians customize activities for the children while guiding them to create their own works of art. While these artists have other jobs during the year, most of them return to the Spiral Garden every summer. One is Ben Lee, a jazz musician, puppeteer, artist and performer who lives in New Orleans and plans to build floats with the children this summer. These professionals are assisted by volunteers, many of them high school students from the community. The circular tables were chosen because they “provide opportunities for social engagement and conversation among children with similar passions who enjoy getting to know each other,” said Shannon Crossman, Spiral Garden’s creative coordinator. She added that this setup allows the kids “to be exposed to each other and gives a sense of belonging, a feeling of

being part of a bigger picture where everyone matters.” One of the most popular activities is woodworking. There is often a waiting list of children anxious to make animals, boats, treasure boxes and doll and dog furniture. But the emphasis remains on the effort and the process rather than the final product. Caring adults encourage the children to make their own decisions, explore and push their limits. In this nurturing atmosphere, the children can “flourish, be present and feel calm,” said Ms. Crossman. The Spiral Garden Summer Program is a “hidden gem,” a magical place which delights both the children and their parents. Comments in the Music & Arts Program Guide (see focus on the quality of the experience, community feeling and children’s positive responses. The final date for registration for this summer’s program is June 2, but many sessions will fill up before then. ■





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Leaside Life, April 2017



A few weeks ago I emailed Carol and Dave to let them know that April would be the last month I would be covering their story. They’ve come to the end of their 12-week program with Inside Out Studio, and I fully expected emails back with one word in the subject line: “phew.” Instead…crickets! When we finally touched based by phone a week or so later, Carol’s reaction was “that went fast,” while Dave’s was twofold: “good” and “uh oh…now you’re on your own, David!” Thankfully both have enjoyed the process of having their journey documented for their fellow Leasiders. The path to weight loss and wellness is never an easy one. Most daily habits require change, which takes time and hard work. The number of calories we take in daily and hours put in at the gym are easily quantified. What we don’t have control over are the ups and downs that life tosses our way. The emotional side of life can very much affect our daily program. Last month both Dave and Carol had life challenges that could easily have derailed their progress. Food, as you know, can be a very powerful comfort during times of stress. CAROL TOWNSLEY In Carol’s case, she’s taken the steps to remove all tempting foods from the house. So when she’s faced with a stressful situation, she isn’t tempted by junk food. Instead she can direct herself away from food and move to mindfulness techniques, including deep breathing

exercises and meditation for comfort. She has found that “staying in the moment” with mindfulness has helped her remain encouraged about her weight loss. Having lost weight in the past and then regained it, Carol is determined to make this a permanent change in her life. “Ups and downs are natural,” she says, “but

DAVE SPARROW David, too, had a stressful month in his work and personal life. His father-in-law passed away in early March. The death of a loved one can take a huge toll on one’s heath both physically and emotionally. He was also travelling for a work, and it was ACTRA awards month, for which David is past president. By the time


Dave Sparrow at 20 push-ups!


Leaside Life, April 2017


Carol & Dave’s excellent ENT! M L A T S Leaside adventure LAST IN Month

the key is not to get discouraged.” Carol has every reason to be optimistic. She’s already lost 24 pounds and 12 inches in three months. For the ladies out there…that’s a full dress size. Way to go, Carol! She is staying committed to the process through the encouragement of friends and family. Seeing the positive changes to both body and mind has made them very proud.


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I spoke with him, he was ill with a nasty cold, and working out took a back seat to life’s curveballs. But as David said to me, “When one makes a resolution towards better health… you need to get back at it.” He’s still feeling confident that 2017 is off to a great start and plans to continue playing badminton on Monday nights with his wife. He’s optimistic (as we all are) that in the warmer

Garden Maintenance Fall Cleanups Planting Sodding Lawn Cutting


CAROL & DAVE, cont’d weather he’ll be able to take more walks and enjoy the outdoors. He’s very excited about having worked up to 20 push-ups (from one) in the first 12 weeks of the year. He’s also happy that he’s maintained his 12-pound weight loss over the month and plans to continue watching what he eats. Barry Samuel at InsideOut Studio is thrilled with both Carol and Dave’s progress since January. I asked him about getting back on track when

Leaside Life, April 2017


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Carol showing off her 24 lb. weight loss! life throws curve balls. He suggests, “Taking your thoughts back to where you were before you started your program and being mindful of your personal growth.” He feels strongly that both Carol and David have taken a “practical and sensible approach” to their wellness. And while he’s proud of their weight loss and increased strength, he hopes they are “feeling good mentally and that these habits change their lives.” In almost every one of my conversations with Barry he’s made the airline analogy of putting the oxygen mask on yourself first before you help anyone else. He reminds us of the importance of “embracing that need to put you first so you can then help others.” A healthy diet, sleep, exercise and mindfulness sum up the InsideOut approach to a balanced life. Both Carol and David will be participating in the InsideOut “Spring Into Action” run at Sunnybrook Park on May 27. Carol has been training hard for her first 5K run so please send her your good wishes. I will be checking in once more with them for the July issue of Leaside Life to see how they’re progressing. Until then, we wish them well and thank them for sharing their personal stories with us. ■

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Butchering 101 Vezina tries a little slice and dice at White House Meats By KARLI VEZINA I’ve always been good with a blade. I don’t mean in the Kill Bill kind of way, but in the way that I used to enjoy carving wax candles and pieces of wood. Despite my slicing skills, I have next to no experience with meat preparation. This is largely due to the fact that I was a vegetarian around the time I moved out and started cooking more. Most of what I do know about meats I’ve learned from working in the restaurant industry. I’ve learned the names of things, what part of the animal it comes from, and which cut of steak is best. But other than that – I’ve got nothing. I decided it was time to learn more about meat and poultry and reached out to Stanley Janecek, owner of White House Meats on Bayview Ave. (and the one on Bloor St. West), for help. Stanley was a gracious host, allowing me into his Bayview butcher shop for a day of Butchering 101. The first thing I learned was how

Karli breaks down “primal” rib while Stanley supervises. it feels to slice a blade through the neck bones of a chicken. We had to bag whole King Capon chickens from Sharron, Ont., which required cutting the bird’s neck off and inserting said neck up the chicken’s rear for future use. It was disturbing, but I was in this to learn, so shoving necks up bottoms was going to happen.

Necks safely nestled, it was time to cut and grind the beef from Norwich Packers in Norwich, Ont. It’s refreshing to see locally sourced meats in this modern world where everything seems imported. I did the cutting, grinding, packaging and labeling of the Norwich beef and put these meats in the temperature-controlled display window for sale. The fun didn’t stop at grinding beef. After some time with the smaller pieces, I was given a bigger challenge. I was shown into the storage fridge, where two giant hunks of what looked like the ribcage of a Brontosaurus sat waiting (it was cattle). Stanley and I hauled a half ribcage each over to the cutting table where I learned that I was


Leaside Life, April 2017


Selling bone marrow at the register; White House Meats’ Stanley Janecek

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holding onto a primal (not prime – that happens later) cut of beef ribs. We had to trim the fat and cut the monstrosity down into manageable pieces called subprimal cuts. Those would be divvied up into pieces of prime rib, short ribs, stew beef and beef trim. I learned about the feather bone, rib bone, chine bone and how to cut the vertebrae. Despite my general unease with handling meat, there was something about breaking down that giant slab that felt natural and almost soothing. It was also impressive to see how Stanley used as much of the animal as possible and let nothing go to waste. He said it’s an honour that these animals gave their lives to feed our families and it would be wrong to take their gift for granted. After breaking down the primal rib, it was time to wrap things up with a little schnitzel. I knew of

BUTCHERING 101, cont’d


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Leaside Life, April 2017

Wiener Schnitzel in the form of veal, but I didn’t know that the term schnitzel is commonly used for any kind of breaded meat or poultry. I hammered some chicken breasts to flatten them out, dunked them in egg yolk, dragged them through bread crumbs with herbs and seasonings and laid them out nicely for clientele to see. Being a butcher was not Stanley’s first calling, but after 23 years in the business (16 of those in Leaside), he seems to have found his niche. He brings a human touch to the dinner table and cares for his clients with fresh, locally sourced product. From pasture-raised to conventionally grown, to hormone- and antibiotic-free product, White House Meats pride themselves on having options for all consumer needs. On the topic of butchery in this day and age, Stanley said, “If you’re in it to make money, you’re not gonna be rich. If you’re in it to provide quality product and help people, you’ll be okay.” I have often said, “If I were around during the pioneer days, I’d be happy as candle-maker.” But now? I think I’d trade in my candle card for the life of a butcher. Until next time...for science! ■

Leaside Life Published once a month in Leaside,Toronto ON, by FH Publishing Inc., 1444 Dupont St., Unit 11A, M6P 4H3 416-504-8047



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Leaside Life, April 2017


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From Page 2 he would shave his customers with a straight blade and the ritual of caring for his scissors and supplies. It’s here his love for hair and beauty was born. Hilary also had a passion for fashion and beauty. While Billy trained in haircutting, Hilary took to colour (the “painter and the sculptor,” as they like to call themselves). After being in the hair business for over a decade and a couple for more than four years, it seemed the right time to open their own salon. 221 McRae has seen many incarnations over the years. Most recently it was a dog grooming studio; then it stood vacant for a couple of years, so when they chose the corner shop for their Ten Ten, they knew they had a lot of renovation work ahead of them. Miraculously they transformed the space in just five short weeks! They had already decided on an “industrial chic” look. When construction began, they were thrilled to expose original beams and pipes that with a little love fit right in with their design. A client of theirs even built the cool cappuccino bar and main desk area for them. You might be wondering what the name Salon Ten Ten means? For the past two years, Billy and Hilary have been cutting hair and growing their clientele from their apartment. To honour these humble beginnings they decided to name their salon after the apartment it all started in, #1010. Check out Salon Ten Ten online at, or visit Billy and Hilary at 221 McRae Drive, (647) 340-3300. Salon Ten Ten provides services for men and women ages 10 and up. ■

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Leaside Life, April 2017

Salon Ten Ten...

Thorncliffe’s Syrian refugees

Zena is finding her safe place Over the Rainbow

Leaside Life, April 2017

By KEN MALLETT She has trouble controlling her bladder. She has trouble sleeping. When she finally sleeps she has trouble waking up. She has flashbacks, about the house that was bombed, about the hunger and weariness as her family travelled on foot from Damascus to Turkey, then on to Canada, a journey that took them two years, moving from place to place and camp to camp, often hungry, always homeless. She is five years old. And now Over the Rainbow, a program provided by the Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, is helping her – and others like her – learn to be a child. Zena Alkheder is one of an increasing number of Syrian refugee children turning up at Thorncliffe Park who are suffering from early social or emotional health problems. “We are seeing more and more cases of young children with psychological stress problems as Canada moves to fulfill its commitment to take in Syrian refugees,” says Nawal Al-Busaidi, Manager of Child,

The Alkheder Family

Zena and her “safe place”

Family and Youth Services at TNO. Over the Rainbow is a creative play program for children three-to-five years old who are experiencing these types of problems. The spring term, just underway, consists of eight free weekly sessions. All children can have difficulties adjusting emotionally to different

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life situations and may be moody or have trouble listening, waiting, and/ or making changes to their routine. But this program is designed especially for children who have been through traumatic times such as those Zena experienced. While the kids attend their program, parents participate in their own group where they explore their feelings and experiences in a supportive group environment. The groups are aided by a parent worker, program worker and creative arts therapist. Nikki Goldman-Stroh is the creative arts therapist. “For children it is often difficult to describe a situation or feeling, and the art/play therapy allows them to explore their feelings in a safe way,” she says. “Zena’s symptoms were listed during the intake process – a 30-minute interview we do to figure out whether the family is a good fit for our program, and vice versa.” “During the interview Zena’s mother told me that Zena is experiencing trouble controlling her bladder functions, has disruptive sleep, which she is very difficult to wake from and also seems to be experiencing flashbacks,” she added. Her father, Khaled, describes what she went through: “We were living in a suburb of Damascus prior to running on foot to Turkey; we came to Canada via Turkey. There were days when we were not eating, sometimes four days straight. We were on constant move for about two years trying to find a safe haven. “One time, I went to get bread and when I came back the house we were staying in had been bombed. I could OVER THE RAINBOW, Page 22



Have robots, will travel –

Leaside’s Lancebotics Team take on the world By JANIS FERTUCK

Leaside Life, April 2017

The Lancebotics Team on their way to the Worlds


For the third year in a row, the Lancebotics Leaside Robotics Team from Leaside High School are on their way to the World Championships after their best finish ever in the Ontario Provincial VEX Robotics Championships on February 24 and 25. Four teams from Leaside and their robots travelled to the Ontario Championships in St. Catharines, and one team, Team D, finished first in the qualifying round, the only team to remain undefeated there, and second in the tournament overall. The Lancebotics Team — the term comes from the common name for Leaside teams “Lancers” and the mascot “Lance” — is led by Vincent Lu, curriculum leader for technological education, computer studies and engineering, and numbers about 40 members, divided into four teams. They have already taken part in six competitions this year, gradually improving their placement each time. From April 19 to 22 Team D will face off in Louisville, Kentucky against teams from over 25 countries at the World VEX Robotic Championships, one of only two teams from the TDSB, and the only one to get to Worlds three times. This year’s project, called “Starstruck,” involves two teams pitting their 18-inch square robots against each other on a 12-ft. by 12-ft. square checkered field. The object of the game is for the robots to place as many of their stars and cubes as possible in the designated zone on the other side of the field, and then for the robots to be hung up on the “hanging bar” at the end of the game. Basically, the robots fight each other for the pieces in the game. Think of it as a more complex and sophisticated version of checkers. An incredible amount of time and effort goes into preparing for these competitions. For example, the Lancebotics Team have been working on the project throughout the year, including doing research during the summer, staying late to work in the school field room, and spending 10 Saturdays at the school so far this year. But it is all worth it when they see the outcome of their hard work. Stanley Dimitrov, a Grade 11 driver and builder for Team D, said they have learned “more in Robotics Club than in physics or a first-year


university course about how to apply theories in a practical way” and “how to communicate, collaborate and strategize in order to build better robots.” Teammate Martin Mihaylov, a Grade 11 coach and builder, emphasized that they learn “a lot about better teamwork practices and

finding a way to work together” even with people who were previously strangers. Now there is palpable excitement and a sense of satisfaction and eager anticipation in the club as they look forward to the upcoming bus trip to Louisville – and possible robotics glory. ■

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Leaside Life, April 2017


From Page 8 • develop a comprehensive flooding remediation plan A number of initiatives were recommended and are being implemented including the Roof Downspout Disconnection Program, the replacement of existing sewers with larger diameter sewers to provide additional capacity, the construction of new storm sewers and increasing the number of catch basins. Let’s all commit to keeping our sewer systems litter free so that April showers will bring May flowers rather than flooded basements! TIME FOR SOME OUTDOOR SPRING CLEANING! The City of Toronto’s annual spring clean-up weekend takes place: · Friday, April 21 for corporate and school groups · Saturday, April 22 (Earth Day) and Sunday, April 23 for community groups Leaside streets and green spaces need our help to pick up the litter that has accumulated over the winter. I’ve got my area staked out in and around Trace Manes Park. What will you choose? It can be as simple as your front yard or street. Or if you’re feeling really ambitious, choose your favourite public space such as Leaside Memorial Community Gardens or one of the many local parks, including Serena Gundy, Sunnybrook, Leonard Linton, Howard Talbot, Father Caulfield, Sandy Bruce, Leaside and Crothers Woods. Be one of the more than 190,000 Torontonians who get involved every year to keep their local neighbourhoods green and litter free. Go team Leaside Litterati! ■

Over the Rainbow.. From Page 20 not find my family at first, until a neighbour told me they were safe.” The therapist Nikki says, “Zena worked on creating a ‘safe place,’ which is a 3D miniature room box that serves as a place for her mind to go to when she is re-experiencing the trauma. “She imagines herself in this room. She picked a bedroom as her room and then painted the walls and decorated it. Zena is a very quiet little girl who is adjusting to Canadian life.” At last Zena has her own safe place…somewhere Over the Rainbow. ■


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sense of humour, declaring that a drink of vodka and cranberry is “her medicine” for vitality. BENITA KOPAMEES Benita will turn 100 on December 29. Born in Estonia, she fled the Communist regime and travelled first to Sweden, where she met her husband, and then to Canada in 1952. Here, Benita worked in a bakery owned by her brother, and her husband, John, was employed as a carpenter. They had two sons, five grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. Another highlight of Benita’s life was that her childhood dream of becoming a teacher became a reality for a short time in Estonia, and again when she did some teaching at an Estonian school in Canada. Benita moved into Suomi-Koti 12 years ago, and still lives independently in her own apartment. She told Elderly Persons Centre Coordinator Maarit Tuomikoski that there is no real secret to her long life other than simply being content with her life. She and the other Estonian tenants mix easily with those of Finnish background, and the residence is filled with a strong sense of community. ■

Leaside Life, April 2017


Volleyball... From Page 11

Leaside Life, April 2017



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instructive. “The energy and enthusiasm the coaches convey is exactly what you want kids to experience,” says Pamela Robinson, whose two daughters have enjoyed the house league – Ruby, 13, spent two sessions in it last year before making a rep team this year, while Hilary, 10, is in her first year of house league. Even though the family lives in the Roncesvalles area, Robinson says they make the drive across the city to play at Leaside because the ratio of players to coaches is sometimes as low as four to one and never above seven to one, while the quality of the instruction is excellent. “The coaches are high-level players themselves and they create such a great atmosphere for the kids,” says Robinson, whose daughters also play house league hockey, basketball, softball, and swim and dance competitively. “They’re trying to coach people to be good sportspeople. It’s really good and it’s definitely worth the drive.” ■ For more information, visit: www.

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Leaside Life, April 2017


Wishing you a

Happy Earth Day!

LEASIDE GARDEN SOCIETY • Meeting: Thurs. Apr. 13, 7:30 pm. Leaside Library, 165 McRae Drive. Dugald Cameron will speak about Peonies.


Leaside Life, April 2017



Monthly meeting 7:30pm Thurs. Apr. 20 at Northlea United Church, 125 Brentcliffe Ave. Speaker Dr. Elizabeth Muir on “Women in Aviation”. Visitors and new members welcome. For more information visit or email


Kathleen Wynne MPP Don Valley West

795 Eglinton Avenue East, Unit 101, Toronto, ON M4G 4E4 416-425-6777 |

1399 Bayview Avenue, ph. 416-485-0329 • Spring Fair: Sat., Apr. 29th, 11-2 pm. Art gallery, baking, books, crafts, electrical, jewellery, kitchenware, knitting, odds & ends, quilting, sewing, stamps, toys, treasures. Free fun for everyone. • “Gadgets and Gizmos” Summer Day Camp: July 24-28. A week of adventure for children ages 4-12. $100 includes lunch, snacks, Bible stories, fun activities from 10am to 4pm, with extended care 8:30am to 5pm for additional $50.


Find out why people love to live at Kilgour Estate!

670 Eglinton Ave. E., ph. 416-422-0510 • Pancake Breakfast, Sat. Apr. 8th, 9-11 am. • Holy Week Services at Leaside Presbyterian Church, 416-752-8169: • Palm Sunday: 10:30 am • Maundy Thursday: 7:30pm. Joint worship at Northlea United, 125 Brentcliffe Rd. • Good Friday: 10:30am. Joint worship at Northlea United, 125 Brentcliffe Rd. • Easter Sunday: 10:30am. Leaside Presbyterian, 670 Eglinton Ave East

ST. AUGUSTINE’S ANGLICAN CHURCH 1847 Bayview Ave • The Groove Room Coffee House Friday Apr. 7th, 7-8:30pm. $5 with proceeds to the Flemingdon Park Food Bank. We are looking for performers. Contact


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LEASIDE LIBRARY 165 McRae Drive ph. 416-396-3835 Lots of Adult and Children’s programming including speaker series, Canadian National Film Day screenings, Leaside Writer’s Group, Lego Club, Ready for Baby reading series. For complete listings call or visit

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Leaside Life, April 2017







The joys of traffic in Leaside Leaside Life, April 2017


Spring arrives, with better weather, green grass and daffodils blooming. There is also a less welcome change: our through traffic numbers increase. With the ice and snow a fading memory, drivers across the city – across the entire GTA – rediscover the joys of driving through Leaside. Those of us who live here notice that all of a sudden there seem to be more cars on our streets, many of them driving faster. There ARE more cars on our streets, adding to the problems we already have with congestion and speed. Meanwhile, construction on the LRT line continues, and new construction begins on LRT stations at Bayview and Laird, creating more traffic headaches. I have been involved in looking for traffic solutions for our neighbourhood since the 1970s. I can remember the then North Toronto councillor, at his traffic meetings on the west side of Bayview, criticizing Leaside as being the source of many of their traffic problems. We were charged with being too reluctant to support traffic calming on our side of Bayview. In effect, he said, Leaside was inviting flow-through traffic to cruise through Leaside and cross

Carol Burtin Fripp Co-president, LPOA

over onto Merton, Millwood, and Broadway into North Toronto. In a way this was true, because in those years Leasiders would support only minimal measures to reduce through traffic. There was a sense that less was more, that the majority rejected any measures to reduce our traffic if supporting those measures might mean even a slight delay to, or inconvenience in, their trips. Over the years, less really WAS more. The less we did, the more traffic increased. At some point, things reached a kind of critical mass, compounded by additional traffic from construction and developments new and proposed, residential and commercial, all around us. At some point, residents across Leaside (not just those living on the ‘traditionally’ busy streets) noticed. In early March, the LPOA held two public consultation sessions on the subject of traffic. Our traffic consul-

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tant presented proposed measures and their proposed locations throughout North and South Leaside. There were also brief reports from Councillor Burnside’s traffic committees. I was interested to note that, of the roughly 160 attendees, the majority expressed approval of more, not less, traffic calming on our streets. This is not to say that there was a clamour for large-scale mazes or major diversions, but there certainly was an understanding that what we have now is insufficient, and an interest in looking at alternatives. Some attendees found the proposals in our presentation too cautious. We say that if Leasiders, after further consultation and polling, approve more, we will support them. Next steps? The LPOA committee will coordinate with Councillor Burnside’s North and South Leaside committees. An area-wide public meeting (or meetings) will be held. We will work with City staff, and help set up the polling arrangements to ensure that everyone in the neighbourhood has the opportunity to have a say. The result will go to North York Community Council for a vote. If there is strong support within Leaside, and with Councillor Burnside’s support, there is a very good chance that real improvements can come to pass. Visit the LPOA’s website (www. and read our consultant’s PowerPoint presentation. You will see details of the traffic calming measures we can consider. Many are cost effective, too. They are primarily physical methods, since ordinary signage relies too much on police enforcement, which is sporadic at best and nonexistent at worst. Raised crosswalks, speed cushions, reduced curb radii (aka throat-narrowings at intersections), and gateway entrances are illustrated. Photo radar and red light cameras are modern possibilities. The LPOA site also offers a survey for your comments and suggestions. We’d like you to fill it out and send it electronically or in the mail. Although March 31st was our original deadline, we will of course continue to consider and count surveys received a bit after that. The key thing is to have as many of your responses counted so we can move forward together. These proposals are only the first draft. There will be changes made based on your comments, as well as on the recommendations coming out of the other two committees. This is definitely a work in progress. We look forward to hearing from you. The next monthly LPOA board meeting is Wednesday, April 5, at the Trace Manes building at 7:30 p.m. ■

“Transit does drive change in Leaside”– Leaside appeals decided Geoff Kettel

Saving old Leaside witness to the City at the request of the City’s lawyer.” Our counsel argued that Gallaugher was not entitled to prima facie recognition as an “independent” registered planning expert, and, furthermore, Gallaugher’s evidence was too narrowly focused on Metrolinx’s revenue-generation interests. But no mention of these concerns about Gallaugher’s expertise and independence appeared in the Board’s decision. And the Board does not transcribe the proceedings. This hearing added to the futility of our carefully-prepared opposition because the chair dismissed the City’s failure to give notice of its OPA and zoning bylaw amendments to affected neighbours, as well as its failure to seek input from those neighbours, as issues beyond the jurisdiction of the Board. Further advice is that the LPOA could have challenged this decision in court with reference to the Planning Act Section 1.1 (d), requiring: “the planning processes that are fair by making them open, accessible, timely and efficient; and (e) to

encourage cooperation and coordination among various interests.” This is directed at approval authorities, which in this case would include the City of Toronto and the OMB. Unfortunately, the ability to appeal a decision of Council and/or the OMB is based on the ability of residents/resident associations to fund an appeal to the courts against the municipal machine that is not required to be accountable to the Planning Act direction (noted herein) specifically for the purposes outlined. This decision exemplifies several problems with the OMB: (1) Developments cannot be considered as necessarily in the public interest just because they are aligned with that interest. (2) The OMB totally disregards what happens during the City planning process. In this case, those most affected were not properly informed of the plans that would affect their properties. And City Planning failed to implement former Councillor Parker’s motion adopted by Council requiring the City to conduct public consultation specifically in Ward 26. (3) Residents are “experts” with respect to their knowledge of local context, yet their knowledge is not given weight. With the province’s OMB reform legislation supposedly to be announced shortly, many people are hopeful real change is on the agenda. ■


Leaside Life, April 2017

This column’s January headline read “Transit driving change in Leaside – but at what cost?” Time will answer the cost question, but the OMB has issued its decision regarding the two Eglinton Connects “Leaside appeals” heard in December 2016: the LPOA appeals of the City of Toronto Official Plan Amendment (OPA) for townhouses on the south side of Eglinton west of Hanna, and the zoning bylaw amendment for “as of right” 7and 8-storey midrise development between Sutherland and Laird. The OMB member dismissed the LPOA appeals based on the “uncontroverted expert land use planning evidence of Mr. (Brian) Gallaugher that (each City-approved intensification proposal) has appropriate regard for the matters of Provincial Interest in the Planning Act, is consistent with the Provincial Policy Statement, and conforms to the Growth Plan, and to the City’s Official Plan.” My arguments (full disclosure: I was the expert witness for the LPOA) were that planning must take account of context and scale, development where required and appropriate (not just where possible), and I questioned whether the benefits of this intensification are worth the costs (erosion of character and negative impacts on neighbours). In his decision, the chair ruled to exclude my witness statement opinions. He cited the case submitted by the City’s lawyer – Citizen’s Coalition of Greater Fort Erie v. Niagara, 77 O.M.B.R. 76 – establishing two tests for acceptance of an “expert opinion”: “necessary expertise” and “necessary independence.” The chair then concluded, “Mr. Kettel did not meet either branch of that test.” He continued: “The Board also directed that Mr. Kettel’s witness statements at Exhibits 18 and 19 would be read as if the opinions expressed had been redacted.” Our legal counsel, Robert Holland, states in his commentary on the decision: “This TOTAL exclusion of the opinions expressed in Exhibits 18 and 19, without evaluating those opinions for the ‘weight’ properly attributable to them, is questionable in my opinion.” He continued, “The fact that the chair failed to address the closing argument of the LPOA’s counsel that, despite the fact that he [the chair] accepted Gallaugher as an ‘expert’ planning witness at the outset of Gallaugher’s testimony, the chair did not give any consideration to the fact that it was revealed, during cross-examination, that Gallaugher was not a ‘registered’ planner, nor had he ever been a ‘registered’ planner, and, further, Gallaugher was an employee of Metrolinx, which had ‘donated’ his services as a planning

Leaside by the numbers

Leaside Life, April 2017


How well do you know your neighbourhood?


The total dollar value of the 10 detached homes that sold in Leaside in the month of February, according to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB).1


The average number of days those 10 homes were on the market before they sold.1 Only one area in the City of Toronto sold faster in February – what’s known as C06, according to TREB – the part of North York running along the extension of the Spadina subway between Dufferin and Bathurst north of Wilson to Steeles Ave. The average home in C06 sold in just four days, not even time for a proper vacation. I mention these two real estate figures not because my column has anything to do with the crazy state of real estate in the area – been there, done that – but because it makes a nice lead-in to the real subject of my column, which is to paint a picture of Leaside, by the numbers. Some of these have very little to do with business. Thankfully, our wonderful editor, Jane Auster, lets me improvise. So, here goes:


We’re very fortunate here in Leaside. According to the Alliance for a Povertyfree Toronto and Social Planning Toronto, 4.2% of the children in the area 17 or under live in low-income households, the lowest in the city. By contrast, just down the road in Thorncliffe Park, once officially part of Leaside, that number balloons to 53%, the

second highest poverty rate in the city behind Regent Park. Perhaps Sarah’s Food Drive should become a year-round event.2


That was the population of Leaside when it was officially incorporated on April 23, 1913. We’ve grown some since then. The 2011 census had us pegged at 16,975. Of course, that doesn’t include the residents of the first two buildings of the Aspen Ridge condominium development on Brian Peck Crescent. With 363 units between them, that’s got to add another 500 people, with more to come once the 316 units in Building 3 are fully occupied.3 However, according to the City’s 2016 census numbers, Leaside’s population actually dropped to 16,828, a decline of 1.1% since the 2011 census. Interestingly, the 2011 census highlighted the fact there were 375 men living in Leaside who were 85 years or older compared to 325 women. Hmm…I wonder what that means?


That’s the percentage of Leasiders in the 2011 census who said their mother tongue was English; not surprisingly, the average for the entire city was 54%. Just 1% identified French as their mother tongue, although 16% of us said they had knowledge of both official languages.4


We’re an educated bunch. 85% of residents in the 2011 census said they had attained a postsecondary


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certificate, diploma or degree compared to 69% for the City of Toronto as a whole.4


If you can’t guess this one, you’re probably not going to get any of the others. It’s the median after-tax household income for Leaside, 63% higher than the city average. The percentage of households in Leaside with after-tax incomes of $80,000 or more was 52% in 2011 compared to 29% for the entire city.4 It’s important to keep in mind that these numbers are estimates based on the 2011 National Household Survey rather than official numbers based on the entire population, but it makes sense given the cost of homes here.


That’s the percentage of residents 15 or older (13,010) who were participating in the labour force in 2011; 8% of them were unemployed, about the same as the average for the entire city.4


That’s the ranking of Leaside-Bennington (I’m always forgetting our southernmost residents) in Toronto Life’s 2015 issue ranking of all 140 Toronto neighbourhoods based on 10 categories [crime, transit, health, housing, shopping, community, schools, diversity, entertainment, employment] with housing, crime, and transit weighted the highest at 15%, 13%, and 11%, respectively.5 This was actually quite an elaborate study done in conjunction with the University of Toronto’s Martin Prosperity Institute. Ten out of 140 is pretty darn good. It’s better than the bottom 10, that’s for sure. Our worst score of the 10 categories was diversity, where we were a woeful 14.8 out of 100. Only the Beach (or Beaches) did worse in this category. I doubt residents of either neighbourhood would be terribly surprised. Interestingly, when it came to crime, Old East York (across the Millwood Rd. bridge) did much better than Leaside, which has a lot of break-ins.


The number of statistics left to be revealed in this column. We’d love to hear from readers about statistics you feel are worth mentioning in Leaside Life. If there’s enough interest, we’ll make Leaside by the Numbers a regular column. Footnote references are available on our web site at ■



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