Have you ever noticed that Leaside is a microcosm of North America?
We have two very similar but somewhat different communities, divided by a clear line, Eglinton Ave.
South Leaside is older, far more populous, much more built-up. It has more of just about everything – shopping, schools, cultural centres, playing fields, ice rinks, traffic problems, monster houses, and media (the offices of Leaside Life). South Leasiders have a strong sense of identity: they think they’re the real Leaside, the heart of Leaside, Leaside proper, essential Leaside. They sometimes forget about us in the north.
Up here, we tend to be a spread-out people, clustered near the border, with a weak sense of identity. Whereas you in the south have manicured parks (that you frequently litter), we northerners play in our forested ravines. We have nothing much to unify us except Broadway Ave., North Leaside’s analogue to the Canadian Pacific Railway.
We enjoy free trade with the south and fairly easy intercourse across Eglinton Ave. (except when the officious agents of Metrolinx set up their barricades).
Both North and South Leaside worry about their future relationship politically. Does the outside world understand our historic and fundamental unity? Does it take North Leaside seriously?
If you think I’m going too far with this comparison, let me go farther. French came to Leaside in the 1970s with the founding of the first immersion program at Northlea school. Thus the North is more bilingual and more bicultural – Oui the North. The North also includes Sunnybrook Hospital, meaning that it has vastly better health care.
The clinching argument is this: The best description I ever heard of the difference between North America’s two principal communities is that Canada is a decaffeinated United States. With the closing of the perpetually troubled outlet in Sunnybrook Plaza, North Leaside has one small coffee shop. It is the decaffeinated part of Leaside.
Also the climate is better up here, the people are friendlier, smarter, and better looking, our athletes punch above their weight, our attention span is longer, and there is a movement afoot to set aside a condo for J. Trudeau to use as his Toronto pied a terre. You in the South can have Donald and Melania.
If this column offends any of you patriotic 100 percent Leasiders, let me be the first to apologize. Please come up here and spend some money. (At our Whole Foods Market, which is yet to open; until it does, as a tourist attraction, we are offering the North Bayview Ghost).