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Mount Pleasant Cemetery, located on the border of Leaside, is a large green space where people may venerate the deceased and engage in quiet contemplation, exercise, and enjoyment. The province set up the cemetery as a statutory trust in the 1800s.
It is the view of many local residents, including Friends of Toronto Public Cemeteries (FTPC), that the cemetery, together with the nine other GTA cemeteries that make up the statutory trust, have more recently been operated like a private corporation by the Mount Pleasant Group.
A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision confirmed the existence of the statutory trust, but overturned a lower-court decision that the cemetery is a charitable trust and should therefore be subject to various public oversight provisions. The Court of Appeal, however, also noted that the province has the power to change this arrangement.
The LRA supports the long-time advocacy of FTPC to ask the province to update the legislation governing the trust. The cemetery should be treated as a substantial public asset, not be governed privately, and be subject to public oversight and transparency. Please consider signing their petition at: https://ftpc4.weebly.com/petition.html.
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Michael Garron Hospital recently asked for 1,000 handmade masks per week to help protect patients and visitors against COVID-19. The Neighbourhood Organization (TNO), a Thorncliffe Park charity, and the Leaside Residents Association recently teamed up to help answer that call.
A big thank-you goes to: TNO, which has the capacity to take on a project like this; Martha Chapman, Erica Cooke, Kathy Devins, Dale Gardiner, Sarah Hendriks, Lynn Holt, Betty Isbister, Jacqueline Jordan, Patricia Keith, Barb Leyton, Christina Pinelli, Reh Rhomberg, Andrea Wentzel, Linda Wright, and one anonymous donor for donating multiple sewing machines, all necessary accessories, and fabric for over 5,000 masks; and Karen Fraser and Scott Russell for their assistance.
TNO made the first donation of 1,236 masks to Michael Garron Hospital on April 15. Well done, everyone.
Fantastic news! Over 1000 masks done & more on the way! Thanks to the amazing sewers from.#Thorncliffe #Flemingdon #Leaside #Donmills, our staff, partners, donors, washers, drivers & to everyone for contributing in so many ways.This is inspiring indeed! @MGHToronto @MGHFoundation pic.twitter.com/I6EmNijGt0
— TNO-THE NEIGHBOURHOOD ORGANIZATION (@TNOtoronto) April 15, 2020
On the first weekend of May, people around the world are encouraged to participate in Jane’s Walks. These are free local walks named after urbanist Jane Jacobs, with the aim of sharing stories, learning about their communities, and connecting with neighbours. (For more information about Jane Jacobs, please check out the TVO documentary.)
Due to COVID-19, there are no organized Jane’s Walks this year: a provincial order prohibits organized public events of more than five people (other than members of a single household).
However, you can still conduct a self-guided walking tour! LRA Co-President Geoff Kettel has put together a Jane’s Walk for the west-central part of Leaside. The introductory article and the map for this walk are available in the May 2020 issue of Leaside Life, page 6. Stop-by-stop historical notes are available on the Leaside Life website. The map and historical notes also appear below.
The LRA wrote to the Mayor and City Councillors on Sunday, April 26, expressing support for making more space available for pedestrian and cycling use. The LRA cited Eglinton Avenue between Bayview Avenue and Laird Drive as a stretch of road where automobile speeds urgently need to be reduced.
The Mayor’s office responded on Tuesday, April 28, regarding recent measures taken citywide and, with respect to lane closures, stated as follows:
The advice the Mayor continues to receive from Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa is that full road closures or multi-block lane closures at this time should not be contemplated. She believes the City has to be focused during this key time on encouraging people to stay home as much as possible to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Notwithstanding this response, the LRA will continue to work for traffic calming efforts throughout Leaside, and supports measures to promote active forms of transportation such as walking and cycling.
For reference, please see below for the full text of the letter and the response from the Mayor’s office. The streets that the City intends to reallocate for pedestrian use in the first instance, as part of its CurbTO initiative, are listed in this Toronto Star article.
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Did you know that Northlea Elementary and Middle School opened in 1944?
Below are some photos from the collection of a parent in the school’s early years. Elizabeth (“Betty”) Duck was an original 1946 homeowner on Divadale Drive, and these photos feature – and are shared with the support of – her daughter, Mary Jane Backer. Thank you to her and also to neighbour Kelly Nicol for scanning and making these photos available for a wider audience.
Do you have Leaside-related photos that you’d like to share? Please email us for more information.
Have you travelled along Eglinton East, in the stretch east of Brentcliffe and west of Leslie lately? You may have been surprised by the view north. What was a treed ravine slope has been transformed into a clearcut. These are “before” (March 30) and “after” (April 17) views (though even the “before” view is not strictly “before” as it was taken after the first trees were removed – when the LRA became involved).
It’s the first stage of constructing a retaining wall to allow room for the travel lanes, bike lanes, and sidewalk in the area of the Portal, where the LRT trains will emerge from/enter into the tunnel for the underground portion of the line.
No question the retaining wall is a valid project needed for the Eglinton LRT, but who knew the project, and in particular the tree removal, was happening?
Well, that’s a good question. The LRA is represented on the Metrolinx Liaison Committee for the Leaside (Bayview) and Laird Stations – and they met on March 9 – and this committee was not advised.
The neighbours above on Thursfield Crescent were provided with little information – a crude diagram and map that did not show their property lines. Work started on March 24, but horrified neighbours intervened and work was shut down, ultimately for over three weeks, until April 16 when the tree removal work re-commenced.
The LRA was contacted by Thursfield neighbours, who in addition to the epidemic-related stress that all of us are dealing with right now, were losing (and have now lost) the treed skyline, a big part of the “peace and enjoyment” of their property.
The LRA worked with the neighbours to get proper information from Metrolinx, and helped to compile “20 Questions” to Metrolinx regarding all aspects of the project. These questions were partially answered but In the end the tree removal was total and occurred without an on-site meeting with Metrolinx and contractors present to interpret and explain the tree removal plan – which in the end involved clear cutting right up to the fence lines.
The LRA and Thursfield neighbours thank Kathleen Wynne MPP for her assistance in arranging and moderating a teleconference meeting with Metrolinx.