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Meraki — Origin: Greek (v.) To do something with soul, creativity, or love; to put something of yourself into your work It’s not all about hockey at Leaside Arena. Stop by any Tuesday, and you’ll see a large group of super-athletic young women skating in perfect unison. Like synchronized swimming, synchro skating has taken off [...]

Sergey Stefanishin and his family are not only newcomers to Leaside, but also to Canada. I first met him when he lived in my building, but he has since moved, to a house on Millwood.  Living in Moscow with his family, Sergey and his wife, Julia, were troubled by the escalating difficulties between Russia and [...]

Darleen Bogart was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in June of 2017, and invested into the Order during a ceremony on January 24, 2018.   This is a long way from Churchbridge, Sask., where Darleen was born – the youngest in a family of seven children. The citation with Darleen’s award highlights [...]

You’re resigned to the new build next door. Your neighbour has Committee of Adjustment (CoA) approval, building permit, and demolition permit in hand. But as the workers dig a deep hole, bigger than you expected, right up to your property line, construct forms and fill them with concrete for foundations, the forms project out longer [...]

The Leaside Business Park will be taken over by big box stores and “mixed use” and the industries currently located there will move out any day. True or False? False, for two reasons.  First, the big box stores are situated on properties fronting on the east side of Laird but are not allowed in the [...]

Anyone who drives or walks near the Bayview-Eglinton intersection knows it is a mess: lots of cars, hordes of pedestrians, and poor visibility make the intersection not just annoying but hazardous – especially for the residents of the condo at 1750 Bayview Ave. The disruption at the intersection is due to construction for the Metrolinx [...]

There’s an old saying: “a problem shared is a problem halved.” In the case of mental health challenges, sharing has two strong benefits. Not only does talk therapy allow those facing struggles to open up about their suffering and find support from listeners, it also shows others who may also be facing their own challenges [...]

Flight or plight?

As a kid, I was always fascinated by things that flew — airplanes, gliders, rockets, helicopters, and yes, hovercraft. If you happened to make it through my column in the last issue of Leaside Life, you know far more than you probably wanted to know about the single-seater hovercraft a classmate, Geoff Elmer, and I [...]

In February of 2012, NAV CANADA (an agency responsible for flight operations in Canada) redesigned the arrival routes at Toronto Pearson Airport, which meant a concentration of airplane traffic over Leaside. The flight path over Leaside now accounts for 40 per cent of all arrivals at Pearson. I have heard from residents negatively impacted by [...]

If there were such a thing as a basic universal language it would surely be based on food, the most common of human experiences. And in that impossible language the one word most of us would know, no matter where we come from, would be…wait for it… ‘pizza.’ “All the volunteers are surprised to find [...]

Spring into action with the LPOA

By the time you receive this issue of Leaside Life it will – officially – be spring, a time of new beginnings. A very fitting time to consider undertaking new activities and ventures.   One important new activity I’d like you to consider is to help the Leaside Property Owners’ Association on local issues: as [...]

Mark your calendars! Toronto’s 15th spring cleanup is taking place April 20-22 in harmony with Earth Day. Most years this event has felt like me cleaning up Trace Manes Park, alone. Inspired by Davida Vineberg, who contacted me about issuing a ‘two-bag litter challenge,’ I decided to reach out to the community to discover what [...]

When I first became a Trustee on the Toronto District School Board you couldn’t find a school’s phone number without looking up the local government section of the phone book. (Remember those ancient books?)  It’s a different story now – never before have there been so many communication tools readily available to us. Nevertheless, Leaside [...]

As part of the colonial expansionism, Leaside was keen to embrace a series of revival house styles, representing the unique character of the neighbourhood. We are going to start this guide with the most prominent types.  The Georgian Revival style appeared in the 1910s in Canada, becoming one of the most popular domestic styles to [...]


Like many other streets in this area, Fleming Crescent was named for an associate of William Mackenzie and Donald Mann, who laid out the Town of Leaside in 1912.   Born in Cabbagetown to poor Irish parents, Robert John Fleming (1854-1925) served as a Toronto alderman and mayor for four terms. He also operated the [...]

In the 1980s, Leaside High School kids would skip classes and hang out in one of three places: the AV room, the “butt hut,” or the art room. For Brandon Steen, it was the art room where he would head to hone his creative skills. During these breaks and in art class under the tutelage [...]

Beauty is not in the eye of the beholder, it’s in the mind and heart, and when thoughts and feelings change, so do the visions of beauty.  For more than 60 years the garden aesthetic of Leaside has been that of manicured lawns edged with tree-lined boulevards. Most saw this image as simply beautiful.  But…the [...]

The rebirth of St. Anselm’s playground

“Experts on children agree that they need safe, functional play areas since outdoor activity plays a vital role not only in their physical development, but in their social and cognitive development as well.”  So said Chris Burkett, one of the co-chairs of the St. Anselm Playground Revitalization Committee, at a community meeting held on Feb. [...]

In 1965, when Robert Fripp and Carol Burtin Fripp were in the throes of deciding to leave New York City, they first considered England, Robert’s home. But the economic situation there was less than ideal. Luckily, Canada beckoned.   As Carol says, “In Canada, you didn’t have to have a party label to run for [...]

“Leadership is about connecting a community’s history with present reality and then adapting so that a community can move into the future successfully.”   So says Penelope Muse Abernathy, author of Saving Community Journalism: The Path to Profitability. In a December 2017 interview for the Ryerson Review of Journalism with Zoe Melnyk, when asked how [...]

It is very fitting that Hannelore Mohring, one of the Bayview Pixies, now helps to beautify the street where she was a restaurateur at the popular Deli-Café from 1961 to 1974, and again from 1982 to 1985. Hannelore and her husband, Reimer, immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1952 and, after spending some time in [...]

For a freelance writer, the prospect of a new coffee shop opening in your neighbourhood is nothing short of thrilling. Working from home in any capacity can be quite isolating, which is why cafés often serve as mobile offices, collaborative work spaces, and boardrooms for the city’s freelance workforce. Design a well-lit space with plenty [...]

Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz famously clicked her red heels together and repeated the mantra “there’s no place like home” to return to her beloved Kansas. Many Leasiders would agree – home in Leaside is where their hearts remain. Here are just three Leasiders whose roots run deep: Kevin McGroarty After leaving home at [...]

For Adam Grant, it’s all about the little things – the tweaks and small changes. So, when the new owner of the former L’Avenue Bistro on Bayview Ave., Cindy Stiller, asked him to stay on after the ownership switch, he was happy to do so. His reasoning was that what he saw in the bistro [...]

Leaside Flames 2002 A Team:  It has been an extraordinary season for the Leaside Flames 2002 A GTHL team.  They were recently announced the GTHL Regular Season Champions after compiling a 34 win – 1 loss – 1 tie record​. Amazingly, they finished 15 points ahead of the second-place team, an unheard-of achievement in the [...]

It is 1965, and in the U.S., even non-American men were being drafted to fight in Vietnam. For this reason, British citizen Robert Fripp and his American bride, Carol Burtin Fripp, made the decision to come to Canada “for a short time – just until the war is over, and Nixon is gone.”   As [...]

The grainy photo reminds me that this all unfolded more than 43 years ago in Leaside. When I was 15 and living at the corner of Parkhurst and Donegall, I was apparently not content with the traditional extracurricular pastimes like bike-riding, swimming, hockey, baseball and cutting the lawn, though I enjoyed all of them. This [...]