I was pleased to see the article that Leaside Life reran last month to recognize the passing of Michael Bliss.
For me, the loss of Michael Bliss is personal.
Professor Bliss entered my life as one half of a two-man act in the UofT history department that included James Careless. They introduced themselves to the first year class with the news that, despite the promising title “Careless/Bliss” in the syllabus, the course was not likely to dwell excessively on the history of loose sex in Canada.
My (eventual) wife was not deterred by this obvious disappointment. She did well in Professor Bliss’s classes. Having a bent for creative writing, she leavened one of her essays with poetry and song lyrics representative (or at least purportedly symbolic) of the events under consideration. Professor Bliss, instead of deducting marks for the irrelevancies, gave her an elevated mark for the initiative. His comments at the bottom of her paper included a note to thank her for keeping him awake amidst the tedium of countless papers utterly devoid of similarly entertaining literary embellishment.
Years later as my constituent, Professor Bliss was the embodiment of every politician’s fantasy: When he differed with me on a point, he would raise the issue forthrightly and directly but avoided making it personal. He would listen carefully to my position and integrate my information and perspective with his own, and make it easy for me to reciprocate. The result was that each such encounter was productive for both of us and, I hope, for the community we both sought to serve.
Just over a year ago I invited Professor Bliss to participate on a panel that I chaired at Massey College, the only other member of which was the celebrated Professor Peter Russell of the UofT Political Science department. Part way through the evening it occurred to the three of us that we might well have convened the event in Leaside: Michael Bliss and I, of course, were both residents of the community, but with the status of imports only. Peter Russell, on the other hand, was a product of the area and had clear memories as a boy watching entire swaths of the present day community undergo construction. Both of them told me later that they looked forward to getting together again for a return engagement. I am profoundly disappointed that this, now, will not happen.
Michael Bliss was a leading Canadian scholar, but his life was exemplary not only for that but for reasons well beyond that. Every Leaside resident should appreciate having had him in their midst and should share in a profound sense of loss with his passing.
NORTH LEASIDE TRAFFIC
Not for the first time, I am stating that the concept of forming working committees by you is flawed. The people selected can only speak as individuals and do not democratically represent Leasiders. The North Leaside Traffic Committee presented their findings at a meeting on May 9th. Neither I nor 20 of my neighbours got notice of this meeting. We live in north Leaside between Hanna and Bayview and will be disproportionately disadvantaged by the plan to create cul-de-sacs at the entry points to the community from Bayview Avenue. It blocks off access to areas to our north and west. It will also negatively impact traffic in south Leaside, North York, Don Mills and points further east.
A far better solution would be a 30 km/hr. speed limit on residential streets in Leaside and the enforcement of this and illegal turns by speed and red light cameras and by the police. Very high fines and demerit points would be deterrents.
The enforcement of a ban on trucks and buses on our residential streets is also needed.
Mr. Burnside, as the sole elected official involved, you alone will be held accountable for this initiative.
Dan Buckley, M.D.
Thanks so much for your summary article, “What will Leaside’s churches look like in another generation?”
It was very well written and evoked a real sense of community and the changing and challenging climate of religion, faith and spirituality surrounding people and churches today. Sincerely,
Michele K. Petick
Leaside United Church