When the expanded Leaside Gardens opens this fall, the original ice surface will be known thereafter as the Bert F. Grant Rink in recognition of the $250,000 legacy gift made by his three children in his honour.
Who was Bert F. Grant?
He was president and later chairman of what is today known as the Crestview Group of Companies. In the early 1950s, as Lawrence Construction, this company built the Crestview apartments and the homes on both sides of Leacrest Rd., the long parcel of land in South Leaside on the brow of the Don Valley, south of Moore between Pottery Rd. and backing on to the Leaside Gardens arena property.
The company was founded by his father, Bert H. Grant, who emigrated from England in 1909 and began building houses in the Pape and Danforth area in the 1920s. He also built the Du Maurier apartments and duplexes at the north east corner of Yonge and Lawrence in the 1930s.
Bert F. Grant was born in 1921 and, after serving as a wireless operator with the RCAF during World War II, joined the family business in 1946. Starting in 1950 he acted as site foreman on the Leacrest Rd. development, which eventually grew to include the 22 two-storey apartment buildings of eight to 10 units each near Mallory Cres. (which the company still owns) and all the homes on both sides of Leacrest between the apartments and the arena property.
The project was completed in 1952, the same year as the arena that will now bear his name.
Later that year he was elected president of the Toronto Home Builders Association. He guided his company through a period of expansion in the 1970s and ’80s when they built or acquired additional residential and commercial properties in the Leaside area and around the GTA, as well as in Barrie, Port Carling and Peterborough.
In 1986 he redeveloped the south east corner of Eglinton and Mt. Pleasant as the building that today is well-known as the home of WWF Canada and the Granite Brewery.
Bert F. Grant continued to be active in the company until his death in 2008.
His three children, Suzanne Robb, Dianne Grant-Koch, and Bert A. Grant presented a cheque for $250,000 to the Leaside Arena Expansion Committee at the ground-breaking ceremony last June.
Bert A.’s son Bert C. is vice-president of Crestview and the fourth Bert Grant to be involved in the family business.
The second rink, which is now taking shape next to the original Leaside Gardens, has yet to be named. Anyone interested in having the new rink named for a company or as a legacy to honour a family member should contact the expansion committee