In our Hood

Brian Domelle, the Canadian Tire franchisee at 825 Eglinton East, retired Feb. 12 after 37 years as a dealer, the last 17 in the Leaside Centre at Laird and Eglinton. Taking over from Domelle is Stephen Grand, currently the Canadian Tire dealer for its store at Sheppard and McCowan in Scarborough. Many factors weighed into Domelle’s decision including age (66), the fire that destroyed its garden centre in September 2012, the Walmart rumoured to be opening in SmartCentre’s new development, the opportunity to do something different and the impending LRT construction. Individually none of these factors made up his mind but when taken collectively they were enough to send him off into retirement.

Prepare yourselves. There are signs of construction beginning on the Eglinton LRT. The first job will be the widening of Eglinton just east of Brentcliffe to accommodate where the tunnel will surface. Prep work includes relocating hydro poles, and generally getting “stuff” out of the way. A Metrolinx information centre for the community is being set up at Sunnybrook Plaza, to keep everyone up-to-date and stay on top of concerns.

Meanwhile, construction has started on the new Whole Foods store on Bayview at Broadway. There will be 50,000 square feet of space next door to Mount Hope Cemetery, is the former location of Brennan’s motor car dealership. This will be the third Whole Foods Market in Toronto and is slated to open early next year.

SmartCentre North expects to begin construction at its Wicksteed site sometime this fall with stores opening in late 2015, the company says. It says so far it does not have any confirmed tenants.

The post office is back at Sunnybrook Plaza. It was gone last year when Wrap-It-Up left and has now resurfaced in the Rexall drug store. Open every day at 9, closed at 9 except 6 on Saturday and 5 on Sunday,

Alexa and Christian Rocca, children of realtor Patrick Rocca, are getting involved for the second year collecting new or gently used dresses, suits, shoes and accessories for graduating students in Thorncliffe Park. Until April 4 you can drop them off at Bosley Real Estate, 290 Merton, or arrange for pickup. /

Leaside said goodbye to a few merchants this spring. Nitty Gritty custom furniture is closing after 38 years in business. Owners Dave and Liz Ross and Pauline Crespillo expanded into restoration when they moved to Leaside’s business park eight years ago. Their work included carousel animals and rocking horses. “We’ll miss you,” they tell us, “You’re the ones who have given us so much: great challenges, novel experiences, great fun, and most especially, great friendships.”

Congratulations to long-time Leaside resident Carrie Tse, who recently launched her studio Bamboo Bay at Millwood Rd. and Bayview.  The centre provides art and craft classes for children ages 2-12 as well as piano lessons. Carrie and her three sisters grew up in North Leaside and attended the schools in the area. Her older sister is known by many as a local piano teacher and Tse’s parents owned the local restaurant, China Feast.

“I was full steam ahead with my closing, when my landlord approached me,” says Bayview’s Whatever Lola Wants owner Rhonda Fruitman. Fruitman was able to renegotiate a short-term lease and hopes to stay in the neighbourhood. “ I have put everything I have both financially and emotionally into my shop,” she adds. It’s  worth a visit for the adorable bulldog, Olive, and the new (blind) pug named Tucker.