Wilmar Kortleever: the ultimate community champ since landing in Leaside


Unlike the legendary Flying Dutchman ghost ship which could never make port, Wilmar Kortleever wasted no time making his overseas journey and landing in Leaside. Although he was deeply ensconced in his Netherlands community, life changed when he met and fell in love with a beguiling Canadian, Glynnis.

Within three years he had crossed the Atlantic and they settled in North Leaside. Wilmar remarked, “It seemed a very walkable, family-friendly neighbourhood with great schools and close to downtown. It had everything we were looking for.” Soon their son Corwin arrived, now in Grade 9 at Leaside High and an enthusiastic skier, runner, soccer player, and Venturer Scout.

Wilmar’s arrival has certainly been Leaside’s gain. He is an involved public education enthusiast and tireless community builder. The list of initiatives and projects that he has instigated and contributed to is staggering. And when a call went out for comments on Wilmar’s contributions the response was overwhelming.

In his own words Wilmar humbly credits others and minimizes his contributions with “Leaside is full of contributors. I like to help out, work on projects and with people I enjoy, put my money where my mouth is and tend to take the lead if something needs doing.” He appreciates that Glynnis encourages and supports his many community contributions.

Wilmar, when pressed, did admit that he is proud of his contributions at Northlea and that all the activities that were initiated while Corwin attended are still thriving. The only regret he expressed is that “I miss the active hands-on involvement at the elementary level.

Wilmar isn’t shy about sharing his opinion on how to preserve and improve Leaside. “The city has no business approving developments when they haven’t planned schools, parks and facilities to accommodate incoming residents. The school system doesn’t encourage enough meaningful parent involvement; there are too many rules limiting parent and even administrators’ influence in meaningful decisions. Even minor school repairs go through layers of bureaucracy. It would be terrific if community volunteers could focus more on innovation than what isn’t working!”

Here’s what some of the many people who have been involved with Wilmar have to say about him. Julie Brown commented, “Wilmar is generous with his time, talents and positive outlook. He’s known for serving on countless committees, chronicling events, coaching a choir in German, and I have never heard Wilmar speak poorly of another person.” Rachel Chernos added, “Aside from being completely unpretentious, he invisibly looks after so many things that when he and Corwin graduated from Northlea everything continued to run smoothly. No matter the obstacles, he’s always positive and leads with care and integrity.” Pat Lawrence added, “Every spring Wilmar is the key volunteer for the 132nd Scouts Garden Campaign preparing route maps for each scout and filling in when streets get missed.” Paul Colombe said, “JAW – Just Ask Wilmar, a man of many hats. And in the words of Paul’s daughter Mary (12), “I honestly thought Wilmar was the president of Northlea.”

About Suzanne Park 60 Articles
Suzanne Park is a leadership and conversation coach and writer who enjoys bringing to the pages of Leaside Life the unique experiences and community contributions of her Leaside neighbours. Her daughter Zhen, a student at Leaside High School, is also a contributor to Leaside Life with a fresh perspective on her community.