Letters May 2018

Re: Great Newspaper 

Thanks for producing a great newspaper that is positive, current, and relevant to our community. It is refreshing to read a local newspaper whose advertisers place ads based on the merit of the content and readership vs. flyers and other media where the articles are written for or by the advertisers.

Loved the articles on natural indigenous gardens and picking up others’ garbage. It is time to rethink what is beautiful, and to going back to the basics of loving and caring where you live. Thank you and keep up the great work.

Ted Southey

Re: Leaside Litterati

Each month I read Cheryl Vanderburg’s reports of her valiant efforts to rid our parks of litter and feel I must finally respond. While I appreciate her message and her efforts (especially after her detailed account of picking up dog poop in last month’s article – perhaps a little too much detail!) I feel she is somewhat misinformed as to whose responsibility this job is. 

I refer back to a previous article where she states “If we want a clean park it’s up to us to decide what we’re prepared to do” and also the article headed “Dear City of Toronto” where she implores City staff to pitch in and do their part. She states, “When the park looks bad, it reflects badly on the City.” Yes Cheryl, you are more right than you know with that remark – it is exactly the City’s responsibility (specifically the Parks Department) to keep our parks clean!

When I worked as a City of Toronto gardener (1998- 2011) there were crews – parks labourers – whose job it was to paper-pick the parks every day, spring, summer and fall. When the gardening season was over, often any leftover gardeners (ones whose contract hadn’t yet expired) would be transferred to these crews. Thus did I end my last two seasons picking litter in parks. The area we covered was centred around Bathurst and St. Clair, extending south to the tracks by Dupont. 

Why is it that this wonderful service is not extended to Leaside? Surely, we pay as much, if not more in taxes as the areas I worked in. Another job that was given to me as a gardener while working at Wychwood Barns Artscape was to sweep the playground walks of sand first thing each morning.

The sand covering the path leading past the playground in Trace Manes is a disgrace and a pet peeve of mine as it invariably fills my sandals whenever I take that route to the library. You will never get an indoor worker (let alone library staff, as someone suggested to me) to do this job, and no, the manager for Trace Manes C.C. cannot be responsible for the park as a whole, as Cheryl suggested in the “Dear City” article’. All City workers are heavily unionized, with specific job descriptions, so that even though the person sitting in the office of Trace Manes building may not be busy every minute of the day, he/she can refuse to walk outside and sweep up cigarette butts or other litter. They may not even be responsible for keeping the inside of the building clean, but I’m not certain of that.

To hark back to Cheryl’s statement– “It’s up to us to decide what to do” – we should be leaning heavily on the Parks Dept. to accept responsibility and properly do their jobs. If the garbage and recycling bins are overflowing, either increase pickup or put out more bins. The paper picking crews should be coordinated with the lawn cutting crews to ensure the parks are clean before cutting. These are simple things to implement. I’m not sure if Cheryl ever got a response (or action) from the City – she should speak to an area supervisor, or, if she doesn’t get action, a manager, or call our councillor. This goes for all of us who care about the state of our parks and playgrounds.

It occurs to me that, as a cutback, the City may have reduced or eliminated some of these jobs, as they had gradually been reducing labourers and gardeners through attrition even while I was working there.  Perhaps we could get an answer from Councillor Burnside’s office regarding all of these concerns. In the meantime, let’s all be a little more aware of those moments of carelessness, when we unthinkingly leave a coffee cup behind, or let a wrapper drop. For the dog walkers who blithely walk away without scooping (this happens even on my front lawn!), all I have to say is shame! you are the lowest of the low!

Thanks Cheryl and keep up the good work.

Heather Matthews

This is the complete version online. An abridged version is in the May print magazine.

Re: Gershon’s TDSB Report

Gerri Gershon’s article in your January edition claiming “great parks and sports facilities” in Leaside is not true. Leaside High School has the worst athletic track in Toronto and the football ground is also in a deplorable condition. Gerri Gershon, our School Trustee, cannot take full blame as the facilities in Talbot Park have been like they are for over 50 years! However, Gerri and her Toronto District School Board should take on the initiative and get together with Councillor Jon Burnside, the City parks department and the school principal, and plan and make the necessary improvements. Leaside students, living in an affluent area, whose parents pay high taxes, deserve better, much better. It is a disgrace.

Michael Stevenson,
Leaside resident for 50 years.

Re: Leaside Litterati

You don’t know me but I am on your ‘team’. I live on Millwood just east of Bayview and am regularly sweeping up garbage, debris and cigarette butts from here to the corner (and often around the corner) by the TD Bank.

It’s appalling that our neighbours feel free to dump their disposable cups, grocery receipts, butts, you name it, wherever they please. This strip is especially bad as the wind funnels along here bringing all sorts of treats with it. But the main culprits are the many pedestrians heading down Millwood. Many of those are students and a number of them are from St Anselm’s School.

Yesterday I spoke to a senior student who had tossed some paper on the lawn. He admitted that yes, he WOULD like to live in a nice community free from garbage, and couldn’t give a reason why he littered. His group of friends was egging him on. He dutifully picked it up…

I think a chat with the principal there might be beneficial. If we could enlist the students to keep the streets clean it would be an enormous help.

Re: the cigarette butts (a weekly sweep garners about 100); my guess is that many of these come from people getting off the bus or coming home from one of the pubs. I have asked Jon Burnside to see that garbage pails and a large visible ash tray are installed by the bank as part of the BIA’s Streetscape plan for the Bayview/Millwood intersection.

Millwood has a lot of rental units and I wonder whether people who don’t own their own homes are as invested in their community as those of us who do. A public awareness campaign is in order. According to city bylaws, littering is prohibited, but rarely is anyone fined. And more trash bins that are REGULARLY EMPTIED would be a big help.

Keep up the good work!

Phil Penney

Re Article on Hannelore Mohring

We are long-time residents in Leaside and very much enjoy your publication.

We were particularly delighted by Janis Fertuck’s recent article (April 2018) about Hannelore Mohring and the Deli Café.

We have been debating for a while now where this restaurant used to be. Mystery solved by providing the address in the article. Thank you!

It was one of our favourites in the early 90s, when our children (now strapping adults) were very small, as it was one of the very few places that, in those days, one could take children. It was always a special treat for all of us!

We are a little confused by the timeline and hope that you can shed some light. The article states that Hannelore ran the establishment (again) from 1982-1985. We moved to Leaside in 1988 and had our children in ’89 and ’92. We recall (although mightily sleep-deprived in those years) that the German owner was running it with her son. It must have been Hannelore. So we cannot reconcile this with the ’82-’85 timeframe. Did Hannelore come back?

Who ran it in the ’90s? Perhaps you can help. Our children also enthusiastically called it the “green restaurant” and none of us can now recall why.

Thank you for continuing to report on the history and personalities in our wonderful and beloved community.

Ulrike Kuprath

Squirrel nest in hood of car. Image: Elaine Snider.
Squirrel nest in hood of car. Image: Elaine Snider.

Squirrels Anyone? 

I recently experienced a unique problem when my car was parked in my driveway in South Leaside (see photo below).

I believe that a squirrel is preparing a nest in my car to give birth. This is the second nest that I have discovered in the last month. I found it when I popped the hood to add windshield washer fluid. I understand that a number of people are having this problem. It can be very costly if the squirrel chews on wires. I sought advice at Urban Nature – they advertise in Leaside Life. I am trying a remedy using fox urine pellets that they sold me.

Are other residents experiencing this problem?

Elaine Snider