Those who grew up on Markham Avenue in Leaside but moved from the neighbourhood would be forgiven for wondering what had happened to their street if they returned for a visit.
The roadway formerly known as Markham Avenue was officially renamed Stickney Avenue in 2016 (after a spirited public campaign in 2015) after David Stickney, also known as “Mr. Leaside” and “Sticks,” a popular mathematics teacher at Leaside High School for many years and softball coach. David Stickney had served in the Engineering Department of the University of Toronto, then went on to earn a degree in his beloved mathematics, and taught at Leaside High School for over three decades.
David was the son of Robert Stickney and Dorothy Kester and had a sister, Carolyn, who, in 1970 played the flute with the East York Arts Board Concert.
After he retired from teaching, David devoted his life to Leaside United Church where he and his family were members. David also spent many years visiting his long-time friend and neighbour, Eric Peon, while Eric was in Sunnybrook Hospital. Eric died there on May 31, 2011 at the age of 97.
It was while coaching a baseball team at Talbot Park that David died suddenly of a heart attack, leaving his wife and children, Eric and Irene.
Soon his many friends set up a committee to raise money for a fitting memorial to David Stickney. In addition to renaming Markham Avenue, fundraising saw a bench built at the top of the steps leading down from Cameron Crescent to Talbot Park’s baseball diamond. More money was raised and the remaining $15,000 was given to Leaside’s Scholarship Fund in David’s honour for his many notable contributions to Leaside High School and Leaside United Church.