Curious Idler – June 2016

Skunk steals the scene from Damon

Matt Damon and Becky White
Becky White, along with many other Leasiders, had her photo taken with Matt Damon, who, she said, “was very sweet with a few young kids, getting down to their level for a picture for a selfie”.

Matt Damon kept a super low profile when dropping by a movieland trailer camp that recently sprang up beside the out-of-the-way Loblaws store on Redway Rd. “Matt drove by in a black Chevy,” said a manager, Dion Flambouras. “But I don’t think he came in the store.” The secretive star has created quite a buzz in Leaside while shooting the movie Downsizing, especially after a reported casting call went out for extras prepared to appear nude on the big screen. At about the same time, perhaps whiffing fame, a skunk made a scene-stealing appearance on a Bessborough Dr. lawn as dog walker Becky White and other spectators watched filming by the movie crew. As White tells it: “A police officer hired to direct traffic alerted the crowd facing the shoot that a skunk was behind us.” The crew quickly crossed the street to take pictures of the skunk. Did the critter get the intoxicating whiff of stardom, one wonders?

Leasiders near a smart bungalow at 62 Vanderhoof Ave. recently had to endure a nerve-wracking “giant house party that was loud, raucous and (which) spilled onto the street,” according to one upset neighbour. “People were urinating on lawns (and) sitting on neighbours’ cars.” Police had to be called.

More monster parties are feared because the bungalow is offered for rent on Airbnb for weekends, or even just one day and night. “I don’t know anything about this property. I am just a broker,” said Alan Newton, whose company name appears on a For Lease sign on the lawn. His office put The Idler in contact with colleague Sam Seirafianpour, who handles leasing inquiries.

The family who owns the property “is asking for $2,500 a month for the whole house,” he said. The lease would be for a year, or a little longer, after which the property likely will be torn down. “The family is flexible” on rental term, he added.

While not handling the separate Airbnb inquiries, Seirafianpour said the new bungalow owners are seeking $300 for a weekend — or $250 a night — because “the family wants to make some money”.

The Airbnb ad says the “cozy, spacious” bungalow can accommodate five people, but added there is “no charge” for extra visitors.

“Pixies” are beautifying Bayview. Led by Debora Kuchme, eight volunteers have been weeding, mulching and planting under trees. “We’ve planted 750 Purple Beauty Creeping Phlox so far,” says Kuchme. “But we’ve more to do. We need 20 volunteers in all.” Biggest irritant for Pixies: “People who use planters for cigarette butts and trash. That’s just disrespectful,” says Kuchme.

Some stone workers building garden walls, driveways and patios in Leaside this summer have been seen not using respirator masks, head gear, safety glasses and wet saws to protect themselves – AND the public – from dangerous airborne dust, an Ontario safety official has told The Idler.

Clouds of dust spewed when cutting brick, stone and concrete aren’t harmless. Such clouds often contain fine particles of crystalline silicate that can be inhaled, scar lungs and cause irreversible lung disease years later, the official said. This can sometimes prove fatal.

Concerned Leasiders can call the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s Call Centre, 1-877-202-0008.

Four green and yellow Davey trucks with boom buckets have been busy in Leaside. They’re being used to trim 600 trees in three weeks. “It’s not a lot, really,” said a Davey Tree arborist after he expertly lopped branches high in the canopy, and watched a worker below chip them in a wink of an eye.

Food for thought

The Idler suggests Leaside Property Owners’ Association start an annual Oscars award ceremony for architects who design the best Leaside-friendly newbuilds or major extensions. And Razzie awards could also recognize the worst architectural efforts.

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