≡ Menu

“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 local newspapers should deal with the generation gap, Abernathy said “it is not just a matter of making the content relevant to [the readers], but also how you deliver it to them in a manner that they’ll most likely read it. When you look for people who subscribe to print only, they are 60 years old and older. If you look at people who read both the print edition and online, it drops down to around 45. If you look at people who read the paper only online, it’s 35 years old and under.” 

It is in this vein that we are thrilled to let our readers know that as of May 1st, Leaside Life is launching a new and much-improved website. Optimized for both desktop and mobile viewing, the new site will be your community hub for all things Leaside.

We will, of course, continue to publish and deliver 10,000 printed copies to every home and business in Leaside. We are also active on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and invite you to follow us. Stay up to date on what’s happening in our vibrant community!

Hannelore at Creed’s Coffee Bar.

Hannelore at Creed’s Coffee Bar.

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. [click to continue…]

New life on Bayview: Jonah Creed and his wife Ashlynn at CREEDS

New life on Bayview: Jonah Creed and his wife Ashlynn at CREEDS

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 of seating, easy access to outlets, good coffee, and fresh, local fare, and you’re sure to attract an eager crowd.
[click to continue…]

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, daughter Hannah and wife Julie on Bessborough Dr.

Kevin McGroarty, daughter Hannah and wife Julie on Bessborough Dr.

Kevin McGroarty

After leaving home at 18, it took Kevin McGroarty a few decades to return to his childhood home on Bessborough Drive.

The youngest of 11 children, Kevin said, “My parents purchased their home in the late 1940s, and in the 1960s when I was young Leaside was full of kids and so much fun. We were free to come and go and play with our friends.”

[click to continue…]

Adam Grant at work at Avenue Bistro

Adam Grant at work.

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 was basically good, and just in need of those small tweaks. Cindy and her husband had been regulars at L’Avenue, which reminded them of a favourite haunt in Paris. So, in ownership, she wants it to retain that same ambiance and neighbourhood look. And she wanted to retain Adam.

[click to continue…]

Leaside Railway Station

Leaside Railway Station

Last month’s article “Art Deco architecture across Canada… and in Leaside, too” missed the former Leaside Railway Station, which has seen better days, but has an interesting history. A brick structure, built in Streamlined Moderne style in 1946, it replaced a wooden structure built in 1894, which was destroyed by fire in the 1940s. Passenger service ended in 1982, and between 1975 and 1983 the building was operated by the CPR as the Village Station Restaurant, and for a time after that was used as a CPR business centre and railway police office. Today it sits forlorn, having suffered repeated vandalism, south of the tracks, along from the car wash on Village Station Road.

Leaside Flames 2002 A Team

Leaside Flames 2002 A Team

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 GTHL. In addition, they have won 3 tournament championships this season and the team is ranked number 1 in Ontario for their age group and division.

[click to continue…]

Local volunteers. Photo by Michele Petick.

Local volunteers. Photo by Michele Petick.

One of Leaside’s most popular traditions – spring and fall church rummage sales – is changing and may become a thing of the past, according to some leaders of church volunteer groups. The difficulty is a diminishing band of senior women volunteers, the ladies who make it all work.

“We can see the sales continuing for the next five years, but the volunteer challenge is the greatest barrier to sustainability,” says Bob Lister, co-leader of Leaside United Church’s Awesome Sale. If a sufficient number of new volunteers do not appear, then the sales will have to be downsized or ended.”

[click to continue…]

As briefly noted in last month’s Leaside Life, the City is back at the Toronto Local Appeal Body (TLAB) defending the Talbot quad threatened with demolition, reversing their withdrawal from the case in October 2017.  

 A Talbot quad, photo by Robin Dickie.

A Talbot quad, photo by Robin Dickie.

In December as LPOA representative, I received an email from the lawyer for the quad’s owner, who had appealed the Committee of Adjustment’s decision to defer consideration of their application to construct a new three-storey semi-detached dwelling, to replace the existing double duplex dwelling. The email expressed its strong opposition to the City’s intention to make a motion to reinstate its Party status in the case. We immediately wrote to the TLAB expressing support for the motion!  

[click to continue…]

Lumley Avenue The Streets of Leaside

Sir Henry Lumley Drayton (1869-1950)

Sir Henry Lumley Drayton (1869-1950)

Many streets in Leaside were built and named for the executives behind Toronto’s Belt Line Railway and the Canadian National Railway to mark the impact of their contributions to the growth of rapid transit in the growing metropolis.

Lumley Avenue in Bennington Heights took its name from one of these notables. Sir Henry Lumley Drayton (1869-1950), born in Kingston, Ont., was a lawyer and politician until 1902 when he became involved with the development of railways. Sir Henry was a friend and associate of John T. Moore, who laid out the Moore Park subdivision in 1891 along the Belt Line Railway. He was also a friend of Sir William Mackenzie, who was responsible for much of the industrial development in South Leaside.

[click to continue…]

Robin Nasmith’s Skican-do spirit 

Robin Nasmith

Robin Nasmith.

Robin Nasmith may seem an unlikely person to found a ski-based business.

He grew up in an Alcan mining town in Northern Quebec, the son of an engineer, and like his father, also became an engineer. Armed with a science degree from Mount Allison and later the Nova Scotia Institute of Technology, he started his working life as a civil engineer. 

[click to continue…]

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 you all know, if you are a regular Leaside Life reader, or attend Leaside Property Owners’ Association meetings, the Fripps are still in Canada, and still in East York.  

This March, Carol will become the 25th recipient of the East York Agnes Macphail Award for her significant volunteer leadership in various social justice issues. 

[click to continue…]

It is quite strange that while there are five un-named laneways in Leaside, only one is creating a lot of interest. Almost too much, in fact. The lane in question is the one running between Sutherland and Laird between Eglinton and Donlea.

Laneway map of Leaside

In the January issue of Leaside Life, Mohring Lane was proposed, in honour of Rosemary Mohring, a long-time resident of Laird Drive near the lane. Then, letters started to appear suggesting that Lui, the barber, should be honoured. At Jon Burnside’s Leaside Town Hall meeting, others, including my husband, signed the naming sheets I had available, in favour of Lui’s Lane. As if that weren’t enough, another suggestion for the same lane was in honour of the Leblanc family, who own a building backing into the lane on Eglinton.

And still no specific names to suggest for the Bayview/Heather lane.

So, where do we go from here?

The Pagnellos, Frank and Michael, in their shop.

The Pagnellos, Frank and Michael, in their shop.

It’s no wonder Pagnello’s Antiques placed first in the “Best Use of Merchandise” category in our recent Holiday Window Decorating Contest since the Pagnello brothers, Michael and Frank, have been accumulating an amazing array of antiques including vintage toys and decorative items for more than five decades.

[click to continue…]

Jon Burnside’s winter roundup

In early February, I held my annual Leaside Town Hall at the William Lea Room. For those who couldn’t attend, here are a few of the highlights:

North Leaside Traffic Committee: Based on the success of the survey last summer, the North Leaside Traffic Committee has requested that North Leaside residents be formally polled regarding the temporary creation (one year or less) of cul-de-sacs at each of the entry points to the community from Bayview Ave. My office is currently gathering data in preparation for a late spring poll. To be successful, 50 per cent plus one of all eligible residents must respond, and of those, 60 per cent must answer in the affirmative. Although the proposal has the support of the Transportation department, North York Community Council would still have to ratify the plan.

[click to continue…]

Dartistry invades Leaside

The Tungsten Ticklers!

The Tungsten Ticklers!

Until very recently, my knowledge of darts did not extend far beyond hearing (and being able to imitate) the English commentator who would yell, “ONE HUN-dred and AIIII-ty!!!” But the dart world extends far beyond the U.K. and is extremely active right here in Leaside.

Before investigating dart culture, it was important for me to ask the first obvious question. What does one even call a person who plays darts? (And this was a question which even stumped the competitors). A darts player? A darts competitor? Or, as I would love to call them, dartists? For this article, I will grudgingly refer to them as darts players. 

[click to continue…]

Where’s the public art?

“Light from Within” by Rodney Latourelle, image courtesy of Metrolinx.

“Light from Within” by Rodney Latourelle, image courtesy of Metrolinx.

If you’re wondering if your transit experience will be enhanced by public art displays at Leaside‘s new Light Rail Transit (LRT) stations (Leaside at Bayview, and at Laird) the answer seems to be no! But assuming your journey involves having to change to Line 1 (Yonge/University) at Eglinton Station, you will experience the “Integrated Art Program (IAP),” which means that the pieces have been incorporated into the station from the beginning – they are “built in and replace some of the material finishes that would be there anyway.”  

[click to continue…]

What do the following items have in common: big mounds of dog poop, baggies filled with dog poop, an empty cigarette package and lighter, empty plastic water bottles, a crushed Bud Light tallboy can, numerous hockey pucks, broken hockey sticks, a purple glove, a flyer from a local painting company, a grocery bag, one red doggy booty, a soggy package of tissues, and several Tim’s and McD’s takeaway coffee cups? 

[click to continue…]

The Hovercraft

The Hovercraft

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 might not be a surprise if you’ve read some of my other columns, particularly the daredevil bike-jumping, streaking, and amateur private investigator pieces. It seems I was easily bored. 

[click to continue…]

Horticultural Design on Bayview Ave.

Horticultural Design on Bayview Ave.

This long and cold winter has kept me indoors more than I’m used to and caused my annual spring fever to kick in earlier. A bunch of fresh tulips usually calms me down, but not this year. Being stuck indoors has made me aware of how few houseplants I now have. A single orchid in my living room and one big Clivia in the dining room. How did my once large collection of indoor plants dwindle down to only this?   

I spoke with Michael Renaud of Horticultural Design on Bayview Ave. He has been providing Leasiders with the best selection of quality houseplants for more than 25 years. He says, “After the holiday décor is removed, I find clients crave greenery to fill those spaces.” He suggests adding some natural fragrance with hyacinths, primulas and lilies or tropical woody plants such as jasmine, gardenia or citrus. “All will surround you with their natural perfume.”   

[click to continue…]