There’s no place like (Leaside) home, Part 2

We put the call out for more Leasiders living in the homes where they grew up. It seems there are a lot of Leasiders living here for the long haul. Here are two more:

Brenda French and her dog Chance
Brenda French and her dog Chance

Brenda French of Donegall Drive, another Leasider living in her childhood home, is no stranger to Leaside Life. She has been a restaurant critic (Nov. 2013) and quoted as a local volunteer raising funds for El Hogar Projects Canada (June 2015).

Brenda has lived in her childhood home all but three years. “My dad taught at Maurice Cody, and in 1954 my parents bought their Leaside home for $24,000. I grew up in Leaside and left home when I married at 25, returning three years later as my parents decided to move into a condo. They offered to sell me the house and it has remained the go-to house for family events. We’ve carried on the tradition of my parents’ annual Christmas party.”

Among Brenda’s fondest memories are school days at Bessborough and Leaside High, “walking everywhere (school, church, pool and library), and always feeling safe, like living in a small town in the middle of the city. My pals and I skated Friday nights at Leaside Arena, the boys taking ribbons from our pigtails, followed by egg rolls at China Food. I especially enjoyed playing hockey, the 1967 Centennial year events, our prom at Fantasy Farm and the Duke of Edinburgh’s visit.”

The Roynon family.
The Roynon family.

Growing up in a daycare centre is unique, yet that was Dave Roynon’s experience growing up in Leaside. “My mom founded and ran Leaside Daycares for many years and I was among the first group of children to attend in 1971.”

Although the family’s residence was on Southvale, Dave spent most of his young waking and napping hours at the Leaside Daycare at 73 Fleming Crescent. “When finished with high school,” he commented, “I found leafy Leaside a little too restrictive, so I headed out to explore the world.” He sought exotic ski destinations in Europe and warmer scuba diving locales like Belize.

Yet Leaside exerted its magnetic pull and Dave came back. “I joined the Toronto Fire Service in 2000 and was assigned to the Leaside Fire Hall where I met Shantelle, also a firefighter, and we soon married.”

They take pride in having preserved the rare Art Nouveau exterior design of their home and take joy in the fact that their son, Carter (7) plays in the same rooms, backyard and parks that Dave enjoyed as a youngster.

About Suzanne Park 6 Articles
Suzanne Park is a leadership and conversation coach and writer who enjoys bringing to the pages of Leaside Life the unique experiences and community contributions of her Leaside neighbours. Her daughter Zhen, a student at Leaside High School, is also a contributor to Leaside Life with a fresh perspective on her community.