Leaside’s legendary Hannelore Mohring

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Hannelore Mohring
Hannelore Mohring

It is very fitting that Hannelore Mohring, one of the Bayview Pixies, now helps to beautify the street where she was a restaurateur at the popular Deli-Café from 1961 to 1974, and again from 1982 to 1985.

Hannelore and her husband, Reimer, immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1952 and, after spending some time in Western Canada, settled in Toronto in 1958 with their two children, Reimer and Susanna. They were attracted to Leaside by the trees, the elegant homes and the “touch of Europe” they found in the shops and restaurants on Bayview.

They especially enjoyed the cheesecake and coffee at the Deli-Café, so much so that when the owner decided to sell, she convinced the couple to buy it, despite Hannelore’s reluctance caused by her own experience of growing up in the hotel business and “being raised by nannies and maids.”

In March 1961, Hannelore took over the 12-seat restaurant at 1581 Bayview, which specialized in wiener schnitzel, cabbage rolls, sausages, and deli sandwiches – exotic fare at that time. She hired a chef named Maria Mülhans and soon expanded into the empty store next door.

But Hannelore, who describes herself as someone “who can’t stay in one place for very long,” grew restless, sold the café, and ventured into real estate, selling farms in Ontario and Quebec to European investors. The couple even tried dairy farming themselves for a while and ended up keeping the farm in Quebec as a holiday retreat.

Back in Leaside, Hannelore discovered that her old restaurant was for rent again. When she reopened in 1982, the sign said “Under Old Management” and beer and wine were added to the menu. She and her son shared the cooking duties this time. But after three years of grueling 16-hour days, the couple sold the café and embarked on a series of travel adventures and visits to the farm.

Deli Cafe.
Deli Cafe.

Many restaurant patrons in the earlier decades were drawn to the area by the Bayview Playhouse, and Hannelore herself served such performers as Victor Garber, Andrea Martin, Rowan Atkinson and Geraint Wyn Davies.

At 88, Hannelore remains an inspiration to everyone on Bayview, walking two hours a day, taking aquafit and aerobics, fulfilling her Pixie duties and acting as a wheelchair escort at Sunnybrook once a week. Her recent travels have included Dubai, Abu Dhabi, the Far East and sailing in the Azores. She also remains connected with old Bayview friends, including the Badalis and Pagnellos, and says that “going down Bayview feels like going home.”

About Janis Fertuck 89 Articles
Janis Fertuck is a retired English teacher who spent the last 30 years of her career at Leaside High School. She enjoys writing about the vibrant Leaside community where she and her husband have lived for 22 years. Her other favourite pursuits include a part-time job at a boutique on Bayview and volunteering with the Bayview Pixies.