In our Hood

Quick thinking neighbours sprang into action early on May 9 when vandals set nine cars on fire in Bennington Heights. Local radio personality, Stu Jeffries, up early because of his work as a radio DJ at Boom 97.3, saw the flames and banged on neighbours’ doors. The fire spread to the home of Doug Bryce, who woke up his wife Aurelie. They grabbed their three children, ages 2, 5 and 7, as well as Bryce’s brother, all sleeping at the time. They escaped unharmed but thoroughly shaken. The destruction affected Burnham Rd., as well as Heathbridge Park, Windmill Rd. and Nesbitt Dr. That same evening, lottery tickets were stolen from the Hasty Mart at the corner of Bayview and Moore when robbers broke into the store after hours (apparently they forgot there was video surveillance on the property). 

Team Canada goalie Kendra Fisher spoke in Leaside at a special parents’ night May 28, sponsored by Leaside High School, Bessborough and Northlea Public Schools, Fisher has successfully fought severe anxiety disorder coupled with panic attacks, depression and agoraphobia. She now speaks out about it to audiences across Canada to help others dealing with mental illness.

On June 4, All Canadian Self Storage is holding a community fundraiser for Médecins Sans Frontierès Doctors without Borders. Music by Beverly Taft of jazz festival fame. $25 gets you dinner (courtesy of valu-mart), $50 gets you into the 4,000-square-foot VIP tent for tenderloin, shrimp and prosecco. In addition, the Laird Dr. business has offered free storage at their facility for all field workers going overseas to serve with the charity.

Happy birthday to long time Leasider Pat Cole. Cole has watched over Trace Manes Park from her Rumsey Rd. home most of her 80 years. And a special call out to Helen Koyama of Donegall Dr., this being her 60th year in Canada. And most of that time we believe Helen’s been volunteering.

As word spread about the Leaside Garden Society Plant Sale last month, one neighbour, preparing for a major house renovation, offered “all the plants in her backyard that could be dug up in a day”. Energetic garden volunteers, pitchforks and shovels in hand, worked tirelessly to recover what they could (and sold all the plants the next day at the sale). Now that’s community teamwork!

Broadway in Leaside: Congratulations to the talented singers who presented Northlea on Broadway on May 10, with numbers that ranged from the Merry Widow to Dr. Seuss. The Little Mermaid was also a big hit this spring, presented by Northlea students. There was also an evening of Broadway tunes at Broadway Bedazelled later in May at Leaside United Church.

Awesome fundraising once more with the annual Awesome Sale, Leaside United. A grand total of over $22,000, considered particularly good in a year when most people didn’t think of spring until spring was almost over! Line-ups stretched around the block to get first choice of the selection. Overheard by one happy buyer, “This is the best sale in the city!”

Best wishes to all new grads at Leaside High School, with this year’s commencement June 25, Grads join notable Leaside alumnae including author Margaret Atwood, Arrested Development star Will Arnett, and Canadian actress Laura Bertram (Ready or Not, and Once Upon a Time).

New neighbours: As Laird Dr. becomes what Paulina Sazon describes as “walkable,” she expects more visitors popping into her flower shop, now opened at #82. Fete Boutique Floral +Events recently relocated to Leaside. In business over 50 years, the shop sells flowers that follow fair trade practices and are approved by the Rainforest Alliance (meaning responsible harvesting and no child labour). They also sell flowers grown by local farmers in Niagara.

Rowe Farms, known for its antibiotic-free meats, grass-fed and pasture-raised beef, poultry and lamb, opened in May at 1617 Bayview. Unique to this location, manager Rob Craig and assistant Manager Ryan Goodfellow (both chefs) are offering ready to go lunch and dinner choices, Before setting up the store, Craig walked the local streets to find out what Leasiders would like to see in the store, “From our opening day, the neighbourhood has given us a fantastic reception,” he says.