It all started with a newspaper chain called the Town Crier, owned by Leasiders Harry and Ruth Goldhar.
I was a councillor for Ward 4 in the Borough of East York in the 90s, while Ruth was the trustee. The Goldhars asked if I wanted to write a column for the Town Crier, with the proviso that the word “Leaside” appear for what Harry deemed to be the “appropriate” number of times. Of course, I said yes.
After selling the Town Crier chain, the Goldhars were out of the news business for a number of years, but as time went on, the urge to get back in took hold. We all talked in the spring of 2011 about whether there was enough content to publish a monthly paper that would just be for Leaside.
That fall, along with Andrea Villiers, my next-door neighbour, who had a background in writing and advertising, we sat in the Goldhar living room and hashed out what was to become Leaside Life – the name, the physical dimensions of the paper, the distribution to all houses, apartments and businesses with the postal code M4G (which would then include both sides of Bayview Avenue), the decision that we would not take political stands, nor would we write “infomercials” – and most importantly, if Ruth didn’t find enough advertisers to make a profit, we would all share in the loss. We also spent a lot of time going over what we would try to avoid in our paper – house-beautiful articles or garden do-overs that could have been anywhere within the GTA. What we were looking for were the stories that we hoped would appeal to Leasiders who had been in the neighbourhood for many years, and those who had recently moved in. Harry would edit, as that was his professional background. And somehow, I was to be the publisher.
That first issue was December, 2011 – all 24 pages of it, and a profit-maker! Our original, and continuing distributor for houses is Accurate Distributing. Canada Post does the honours for apartments and businesses.
Of our original writers, the only two remaining are Carol Burtin Fripp, writing as co-president of the Leaside Residents Association, and I, I naively thought I would just be writing in that first issue. Nope.
Take a look at Issue #1 – (all issues are available at https://issuu.com/leasidelifenews). It’s a bit of a trip down memory lane. My message to you then was please to support our advertisers, as they are the people who keep us in business. This is even truer today, and especially now during our unusual circumstances.