In our Hood – July 2014

100 years young. A big happy birthday to Bertha Armstrong, who turned 100 this May. Mrs. Armstrong still lives in her house on Randolph Rd. (she’s the original owner) where she and her husband raised two children, Jim and Judy. Judy, who lives on Mallory, tells us that her mother loves to attend to her garden and care for her cats, Emily and Ebony.  Happy Birthday!

Prominent Canadian poet and Leaside resident July 2014 was one of three writers short-listed for the 2014 Griffin Poetry Prize. Awarded June 4 in front of 1,000 attendees, the prize is the world’s richest “for a first edition single collection of poetry” in terms of amount ($75,000). Although fellow Toronto-writer Anne Carson won, congratulations to Michaels for being a top nominee for her poetry collection, Correspondences. She is also known for her internationally bestselling novel, Fugitive Pieces.

Grade 3 students at Bessborough, Northlea and St. Anselm, 165 of them, get their hands good and dirty each year planting gardens at 10 community sites, including Trace Manes, Leaside Library, and Father Caulfield Park. The effort is part of the Junior Gardeners Program July 2014 run by the Leaside Garden Society. The City of Toronto provides the plants, the kids do the planting as part of their science class, and LGS volunteers make sure the plants get in the right holes.

Cirque Du Rolph on June 11 raised money for Rolph Road Elementary School with a ton of fun fair activities that included a dunk tank, jumping castle, inflatable slide, silent auction and great gift  baskets. Congratulations to organizers Carolyn Armstrong and Lori Heller.

A fundraiser for Doctors without Borders at All Canadian Self Storage this June was just one of six scheduled charity fundraisers planned this year by the Leaside business. The event raised almost $5,000. Company president Hal Spradling provided his famous appetizers as well as plums, apparently infused with alcohol for four years! Two local sponsors, Amsterdam Brewing and valu-mart generously donated food and drinks.

Three Leaside100 commemorative trees were planted this spring, a red oak and tulip tree in Trace Manes park and a Freeman maple in Leaside Park in Thorncliffe. The trees came from the city’s tree donation program with funds donated by East York Foundation out of a surplus contributed by Leaside 100 events.

Wondering about the gravel around the new trees on Bayview? The new porous coverings from last fall had to be re-installed. The stones will soon be replaced by a smooth coating that lets the water in and protects the tree roots.

Might your front lawn be a Gardens of Distinction?  A green thumb committee from the Leaside Garden Society is walking the streets of Leaside this June in search of such gardens for six new community awards.  Gardens that might catch their eyes include those that are well groomed, make effective use of colour, have an eye-catching focal point, have an unusual variety or arrangement of plants, etc.

The awards will be given in early July. Owners will be asked to display a sign in their front garden identifying it as a Garden of Distinction.  It is hoped that the signs will stay in place until Labour Day weekend and addresses will be published so we all can walk by and ask, “Why doesn’t my garden look like that?”

Local artists and artists from Leaside/Bayview/Mt. Pleasant/Eglinton communities, take note. The 14th annual Bayview Art Tour takes place the weekend of Oct. 4 and 5. If you’d like to participate, contact For those who want to pick up that perfect one-of-a-kind piece, save the date.