Letters – February 2016

Confessing to an old secret

Ralph Cameron
Ralph Cameron

Subject: Life in Leaside 1932-1946.

I recently found your newspaper on the internet. Leaside brings many fond memories from skating in the park at McRae and Millwood and early Sunday school at Leaside United. I remember one severe winter when I had to ski to the fire station near McRae and Millwood to get bread as all the streets were impassable.

I can tell you a secret – during the war, roughly 1944, there were frequent alerts and scares about Japanese weather balloons drifting toward eastern Canada and starting fires by using timing devices designed to drop incendiary bombs over North America.

My brother, who was a bit of an experimenter, assembled his version of a weather balloon by gluing Japanese rice paper into strips and hanging a box underneath and quite successfully launched a bogus balloon which drifted and landed somewhere about a mile north of our home.

It caused quite a stir with Fire Chief Bell and the local police racing to the scene. I don’t think they ever knew who pulled that off.

We lived at 38 Cameron Cres. for a couple of years then suddenly had to vacate and find a new home at 198 Airdrie Rd. We lived there until I was 14 and then lived in other cities because my father worked for the railroad.

I went to Bessborough school for the first four years and since we lived facing Lea Ave., the school boundary for attending Northlea or Rolph Rd., I went to Rolph Rd. for grade 5. Back to Bessborough for grades 6 and 7 and Northlea for grade 8. That was that school’s first year.

I’ve contacted one former classmate who attended Bessborough with me and he gave me the history of several former schoolmates.

I delivered the Toronto Star and Telegram to many war plants during the war, including Canada Wire and Cable, Bauer & Black, and Research Enterprises Ltd. (REL).

There was a dirt road running east to the Don River on the north side of REL and we swam in the Don River and swung on the ropes hanging from trees right over the old swimming hole.

At that time REL dumped their sewage into the Don and standing on the bottom of the swimming hole in a foot of sediment was not uncommon. Goodness only knows what was in that muck but some consisted of grinding compound as REL ground optics for the military during wartime.

Since bathing suits used in such water generally lasted about three weeks we dispensed with them.

Ralph Cameron,
Ottawa, ON

Web site lit fires of nostalgia

Subject: Good work, people!

Bill Hudgins
Bill Hudgins

I was born at Women’s College Hospital (I’m told) back in 1941 and raised on Bessborough Dr., where my mother occasionally taught primary classes.

Over the years, I’ve lived in Waterloo, London, Thunder Bay and Saskatoon, and now in Point Pleasant, WV.

When I bumped into your website today, it lit the fires of nostalgia, particularly in relation to the piece by Ted Harding: I guess Leaside gets into your blood (July 2013).

Well done, ladies and gentlemen. Few communities in my experience have a comparable instrument for community involvement. The David and Goliath battles reflected here are endless, but to Leasiders not hopeless.

Carry on! May you all, and this instrument of common interest and communication, live long and prosper!

Bill Hudgins,
West Virginia, USA

My dining room  is now a cave

I am a homeowner on Rykert Cres. of 50 years.

On one side of my house is a redeveloped home with a two-storey garage which has cut off the light from a large window. The dining room is now a cave that requires a light on all day.

On the other side of my house the prettiest home on the street is now the ugliest, and trees were cut down.

Building codes are completely ignored. Why?

It is a very disheartening situation.

Doreen Rosmarin,
Rykert Cres.

What happened   to Boxing Day?

The residents of Leaside are truly blessed to have such a great local news publication. I look forward to each issue of Leaside Life.

Will Ashworth always has an interesting and informative take on local issues and the January 2016 issue is no exception.  His article on the Bayview Leaside Business Improvement Area (BIA) (Great start for the BIA) was descriptive in providing us with details on the improvements made to the street.

I have one further improvement the BIA could implement, ensure their stores are OPEN.

I along with thousands of other would be shoppers struck out on Boxing Day (Saturday, Dec. 26) to partake of the world of bargains on this the bargain shoppers Nirvana.

However along Bayview I had difficulty finding more that 10 percent of the stores open on Boxing Day, this being about 11:30 a.m. I found a coffee shop, a drug store and a couple of clothing stores open, the rest were closed.

I did find all the stores open in the big box arena on Laird.

If the Bayview Leaside BIA wants to persuade us to shop more at their local stores rather than at the big box stores, they need to be open when we want to shop. To close two  consecutive days during the busiest shopping period of the year is akin to having a beach community ice cream parlour close during a long summer weekend.

I am sure their families would understand their work requirement for Boxing Day, just as I respect their need to close during less busy times, such as in January when we are all shopped out.

Jim Hartley,
Glenvale Blvd.

Too many  stop signs

In response to “We are our own bad drivers” by Jon Burnside in the January issue of Leaside Life:

Two thoughts:

  1. The more stop/yield signs we post, the more we discourage defensive driving and road awareness. The more people are told what to do, the less they think for themselves and make better decisions.Compared to European countries, our driver training standards are lower. As a rough measure of driver competence, look at international road death rates per 100,000: Germany (the land of recommended speeds, not limits) is 4.3, the UK is 3.5. Canada: 6.

    In the UK and Germany yield is used more often than stop if signs at residential intersections are present at all. Not to mention the extensive use of traffic circles without traffic lights.

    One implication is that obedience does not improve road safety.

    It is no surprise that some stop signs are ignored by residents in Leaside.

  2. Residents know the neighbourhood. Many of the signs exist to discourage through traffic and to control speed and are not required for efficient traffic movement. Especially on the quiet internal streets in Leaside, stop signs waste fuel, contribute to air pollution and waste time. Better to use speed bumps than stop signs to control flow, if control is needed at all.Many of the three/four-way stops have no convincing logic, for instance, Airdrie and Heath.

    The most egregious example is east on Leacrest at Hanna. Leacrest serves only the residents living on the street and is a shortcut/through street to nowhere. The stop sign at this intersection makes no sense to me.

In an effort to manage through traffic going forward, I hope the driving experience for those of us who actually live here is not further degraded.

The use of technology to enforce stops signs in Leaside can only be justified if there is a demonstrated safety risk at specific intersections. Otherwise, it’s just a revenue generator. Enforcement for its own sake is not sufficient reason.

My favorite road sign (from www.wired.com/2004/12/traffic/)

Tony Koch,
Randolph Rd.