Fall is upon us; the air is a little bit crisper, school is back in session, and fall sports and activities are back in action. As we see new generations and community members of today using the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens (LMCG), we can’t help paying homage to those who came before and made their mark in our community through access to a facility like ours.
The name Mahovlich is well-known in Leaside, but has a special significance to those who were around the LMCG in the 1960s and 1970s. During those years, a man named Peter Mahovlich owned the skate-sharpening shop in the arena. He was a friendly fixture there, easily recognized by his signature black fedora, deep blue coveralls, and navy shop coat, and he could often be found with a skate in one hand and a cigar in the other.
He earned the respect and admiration from the community for his gentle demeanour and willingness to help, no matter the task. He would often be seen driving the Zamboni, administering first aid, and helping other employees and staff in the arena.
Peter and his wife Cecilia came to Leaside from Croatia, while their two sons, Frank and Peter Jr., both of whom entered this world seemingly with skates on their feet, were born in Timmins, ON. Frank and Peter Jr. were amazingly talented hockey players who were drafted to the NHL. Frank spent 12 seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs before being traded to Detroit and later Montreal, and Peter Jr. played with Detroit and then Montreal for eight years.
The Mahovlich family’s presence in the arena and the community had a significant impact on sports in Leaside. A plaque and photo in Peter Sr.’s honour is installed outside the dressing room where he had his shop in the arena.
Please visit leasidearena.com for more information on Leaside Memorial Community Gardens and the programs offered.
Article contributed by Julie Brown.