Re: Terry Fallis’s Industrial Arts and slow dancing at Bessborough (November 2017)
Bessborough School, Grade 4, Valentine’s Day. This was my first experience designing a valentine for some girl in the class. I got Jeannie’s name in the draw. I hid it in my pocket and resolved to make the best of things. Jeannie, you see, was the class mess-cat. A year earlier in the old-style desks, the shelf below her desktop was crammed with still-open books, layers of old notes, pencil crayons, a sweater and a mitten or two. At that time I had initiated a scheme that had got her in trouble with the teacher. At one recess for which I was allowed to stay indoors, I took advantage of a solitary moment to arrange Jeannie’s jumble to be hair-triggered by a wooden ruler. Then after recess, as Jeannie returned to her seat, the ruler unleashed a noisy avalanche of her entire shelf of rubble onto the floor. The teacher looked over and ordered Jeannie to pick it all up and reorganize her desk, to the great satisfaction of the class.
Today, however, the problem is how to create a valentine suitable to the occasion. I get a piece of mint green paper, paste a large red heart in the centre and then go to work on the letters. Finally, I finish it: I LIKE YOU across the top and print “Your Valentine” below. But as I finish this masterpiece, the critic in me appears and suggests that LIKE is a bit measly for such a ceremonious occasion. I resolve not to be a piker, so I cut out “OV” and replace the “IK”.
Now, where to stash the masterpiece? The new Grade 4 desks have a writing surface and a pull-out drawer under the seat. The obvious spot is on her desk surface. But Jeannie’s desk surface is already piled high with her stuff. Suddenly, I notice that the pull-out drawer is open a crack and with unaccustomed stealth thrust my masterpiece into it. Relieved, I return deviously to my desk and wait for Jeannie to discover it.
For some time, little excitements and bursts of laughter erupt around the room as various girls discover their unsigned valentines newly arrived on their desktops. Soon though, I become aware that Jeannie is not among them.
Next, I notice Jeannie approaching the teacher and having a word with her. Suddenly the teacher is announcing: “Jeannie can’t find her valentine.” The next sentence fills me with dread: “Who made a valentine for Jeannie?” “I did!” I announce from one aisle over and in the same breath blurt, “Try the desk.” At once she starts to rummage through the stuff on her desktop and I snap out a correction, “No, the drawer.” Jeannie pulls it slowly open and there on top of her books is my wretched valentine, which she holds up. She looks relieved and vaguely excited. Then the teacher reads the inscription aloud: I LOVE YOU. The class goes silent. Jeannie says nothing. I can think of even less to say. Were I smaller, I would happily crawl into the same desk drawer and close it after me. Instead, I sit in a magnified moment of nemesis, gazing across at the messy desk that has unmasked me.
Re: A laneway runs through it (January 2018)
We live on Randolph and back onto the lane that runs off Stickney to the back of the fire station. I think a great name would be Durant Lane in honour of the Durant Automobile factory that used to occupy this area.
This summer, my family and our 13-year-old Chesapeake retriever Aspen moved to Leaside. I could not be more thrilled to move back into a community similar to that of my childhood in North Toronto. Tree-lined streets, sidewalks and a sense of community. Growing up in North Toronto, though living the past 13 years in North York, it’s funny to think about the small things that you remember and make you happy. For me, it was having a sidewalk.
As you may suspect from the name of our dog, Aspen, we consider ourselves to be outdoor, alpine people. Both our girls have joined ski teams in the past years on the escarpment in the Georgian triangle area and you’ll certainly find us skating on the rink at Trace Manes Park, or cross country skiing with Aspen in tow.
In our North York community, there was unified hockey culture among our friends. Friday through Sunday, our family friends would pack up their car with oversized bags oozing with skate guards, towels and helmets. I know this is not a phenomenon and trends in many Toronto communities, including Leaside, however, having two girls who ski race, hockey and its culture was very unfamiliar to us.
What we have discovered, now that we’ve made our move to Leaside is that the people who we now call our neighbours and friends share our interests too! The first week we moved in, our lovely neighbours invited us for a meal and we uncovered and shared stories of our love for skiing.
Over the past few months, we have met new neighbours and parents from our children’s elementary school who further share our love for the mountains intensifying our feelings for this community. This brings me to the reason for this submission, it is to convey that we have finally found our home and want to honour that with suggesting that we name the twin alley ways running north south – the first between Sutherland and Airdrie (between Lea and McRae) and the second between Sutherland and Randolph – ‘Aspen’ and ‘Alpine Way’.
Hi, I missed reading the Jan/18 paper with the moose on it. While at Lui’s barber on Eglinton today for my every 2 month cut, he graciously let me have the one on the table. As I read through it, what better name came to mind for the lane parallel to Eglinton, between Sutherland and Laird, than to call it Lui’s Lane. He has been an icon in the neighbourhood for over 35 years and each place he has been in has touched that laneway. What a tribute to a man who has cut thousands of Leasiders’ hair, including Stephen Harper’s.
Hope you will like the suggestion. I am happy to get many of his clients to support the name.
Thanks for all you are doing to keep Leaside the wonderful community we know. Appreciatively,
I am writing to submit some names you could use for the lane(s). Here are my ideas:
Maple Leaf Lane
*Note: Some of these may be used. I have not checked. I thought of words I think of when I think of Leaside.