Preserved Stories Blog

Etobicoke Creek thousands of years ago gave rise to what is now an underwater valley

At a presentation I attended in Mississauga of an underwater valley — now located south of teh current shoreline of Lake Ontario — associated with an earlier stage in the history of Etobicoke Creek.

We know from geological evidence that, during its Glacial Lake Iroquois stage, the water level of Lake Ontario was higher than it is now.

There’s a road in Oakville, north of the Queen Elizabeth Way at Trafalgar Road, that is conveniently named Iroquois Shore Road. The road indicates where the Glacial Lake Iroquois shoreline used to be located. Evidence of the shoreline is visible across Mississauga and Toronto as well.

For example, the old shoreline is indicated by a hill that one encounters when travelling north along Avenue Road or Yonge Street when approaching St. Clair Avenue West. Similarly a hill, with a less abrupt slope is encountered, as I recall, in Mississauga when travelling north along Hurontario Street north of Dundas Street West.

An excellent account of the rise and fall of this lake is provided by John Chapman and Donald Putnam in their classic and authoritative text, Physiography of Southern Ontario, 3rd Edition (1984).

Thereafter, the water level went much lower than it is now, during what is called the Lake Admiralty phase of Lake Ontario.

During the time Lake Ontario was at a lower level, Etobicoke Creek formed a valley which is now underwater.

I look forward to learning details about this valley

In an earlier version of this blog, I wrote:

“The map below, which I’ve created to show the configuration of Etobicoke Creek in the years before and after it was channelized, provides useful information concerning the direction in which the creek would likely have flowed during the thousands of years when the water level of the lake was lower than its current level.”

The text above is based on an incorrect assumption on my part.

That is, it’s not likely that the creek has flowed in a westerly direction for thousands of years. In fact, as I understand, the flow might have been in all manner of directions over such a period of time.

We owe thanks to Robert Lansdale for sharing the fact — based on his knowledge as an engineer with direct experience with the physical features of Lake Ontario — that one cannot make the assumption that I have made in the above-noted earlier version of my text.

Robert Lansdale notes that Etobicoke Creek and the surrounding lands have changed drastically over thousands — and even hundreds — of years.

“The spit where Lake Promenade and the cottages were located,” he comments, “was mostly created via sand being dumped in this area from the Lake Ontario beach currents, such as from the Sunnyside areas and easterly. That’s what most likely caused the creek to have become diverted. ”


Configuration of Etobicoke Creek prior to its channelization


Share this:

Posted in Jane's Walk, Long Branch | Leave a comment

One feels a sense of hope that Bill 139 will reduce cynicism of citizens with regard to land-use planning in Ontario

I have taken a previous text, related to the Long Branch Character Guidelines project, and have repurposed it for my comments regarding Bill 139 , which is concerned with reform of the Ontario Municipal Board.

I have sent the comments to Jocelyn McCauley at

At a previous post, I noted the deadline for comments was Oct. 24 at 6:00 pm. That has changed, The deadline is now Oct. 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm.

As well, the Oct. 23 and 24, 2017 hearings have been cancelled.

My comments regarding Bill 139 follow:

Distortion of everyday language

I strongly support the proposed legislation. The sooner it is implemented, the better. I also believe it should be implemented retroactively, for reasons that were outlined at the Oct. 17, 2017 meeting of the Standing Committee on Social Policy.

My central comment, with regard to the Ontario Municipal Board, is that a noteworthy feature of urban planning in Long Branch (South Etobicoke), where I have lived for 20 years, entails a consistent and wide-ranging distortion of everyday language. I imagine the same distortion of language has given rise to cynicism elsewhere.

The degree of cynicism that is evident was a theme that was revisited several times at the Oct. 17, 2017 Bill 139 committee hearing, that I attended at Committee Room 1 at Queen’s Park.

Such a distortion – and debasement – of language has led to a situation in which, at Ontario Municipal Board meetings, in a large proportion of decisions, the word “Major” has become interchangeable with the word “Minor.”

The distortion of language, as it relates to urban planning, has given rise to an ongoing state of affairs in which a growing body of case law has been constructed, at the Ontario Municipal Board.

The case law has reinforced, and has guided, the incremental distortion of language, as it applies to urban planning, in neighbourhoods such as Long Branch. I would imagine that the same process has been underway elsewhere in Ontario.

It would, in response to such a state of affairs, be highly valuable if proposed OMB Reform legislation would lead to a situation where, it would be possible for all parties to spell out in detail, and in the visual language of urban design, what a “Minor” variance would really look like, when planning decisions are made.

Conversely, it is imperative that all parties have a shared definition of what the word “Major” means when it refers to variances from local by-laws.

Without specific directions, from what I have observed over the years, OMB members have in a majority of cases – and with notable, but few, exceptions – left their decisions, regarding such definitions, to “professional judgement.”

That is, it is my hope that, with the passage of Bill 139, decision makers at the Toronto Local Appeal Body, and at similar Tribunals elsewhere, will have some clearly defined criteria, other than their professional judgement, to distinguish between “Major” and “Minor.”

Professional judgement, from what I can gather, from observing many OMB meetings, serves as code for subjective understanding, or personal preference – in many cases, in the absence of, or in disregard of, relevant evidence.

The concept of evidence-based practice does not, except in rare and inspiring cases, appear to be a standard feature of this form of professional judgement, from what I have observed, over a period of many years.

Clear and consistent direction from managers of policy initiatives

As a rule, in my anecdotal experience as an observer, and as a participant-observer, input from residents has been (with rare exceptions) consistently disregarded, when matters of professional judgement come into play.

Without a focused plan regarding implementation of Bill 139, and a way to judge the success of said implementation, the legislation is likely, from what I have anecdotally observed, to have limited impact on the quality of land-use decision making, at the street and neighbourhood level.

The provision of clear and consistent direction – specifically, for Toronto Local Appeal Body decision makers, and decision makers at similar bodies  elsewhere – from the managers of policy initiatives, such as Bill 139, is imperative, in order to rebuild public respect for decision-making processes across Ontario.

Currently, based on what I have anecdotally observed, the respect is not there.

The alternative is a loss of interest, among otherwise enthusiastic residents, in civic engagement, as it relates to land-use planning.

A lack of engagement stands to further erode the social fabric that serves as a foundation for a flourishing and vibrant province.

A protocol of regular assessment and revision

The value of the legislation will be determined by how well, and how fully, it is implemented, by decision makers involved with urban planning in municipalities across Ontario.

For that reason, I support the proposal that the legislation should be re-assesed, and if necessary revised, on a regular basis, to ensure it has a clear and demonstrable effect, in close compliance with the original intent of the legislation, on urban-planning decisions that are made, as the years go by.

The descriptor “eclectic,” when used by OMB decision makers = kiss of death

Under current conditions, when an OMB decision maker announces that, “We have a street here that is eclectic,” you can be certain that such a statement is the kiss of death for the physical character of a given streetscape.

So long as we depend upon words such as “eclectic,” the physical character of neighbourhoods such as Long Branch will be a fondly remembered, distant memory, celebrated in some well-researched book project, that some dedicated amateur historian (who will, by that time, be contentedly residing at a leafy, tree-lined street in Stratford, Ontario) will have put together.

Based on my anecdotal experience, in attending a large number of Ontario Municipal Board hearings over many years, the word “eclectic” serves as a code word for:

“We do hereby affirm, as inevitably we must, that a couple of tall, narrow, and long soldier houses, on the proposed severed lots, will serve as an ideal, commendable Minor variance, in all respects in accord with the Toronto Official Plan and the City of Toronto By-Laws.”

In some pockets of the neighbourhood, the kiss of death has already been bestowed in Long Branch, with a suitable sense of occasion, drama, and finality.

I live on such a street, in such a pocket, and we look forward to moving out. Long-time neighbours of ours, across the street, have already made the move, prior to the upcoming emergence of two soldier houses, on a 45-ft lot, directly to the east of them.

Recordings of Tribunal meetings

The proposed OMB Reform legislation includes a provision for the recording of oral testimony at Local Planning Appeal Tribunals.

The draft OMB Reform legislation notes (p. 56) that: “All oral evidence submitted before the Tribunal shall be taken down in writing and, together with such documentary evidence and things as are received in evidence by the Tribunal, form the record.”

I see the provision of transcripts as tremendously important, as a way to ensure transparency in relation to land-use decisions in Ontario. This is so important, in my view, as a long-time blogger with a keen interest in news about how planning decisions are made across Ontario.

Institutional drift

With regard to the debasement of language, that I refer to, as it relates to urban planning in Ontario, it is useful to be aware of the history of institutional drift that has been evident in decades past.

The latter topic – that is, the manner in which OMB decision-making has incrementally changed, with major, and highly deleterious, consequences in recent years – is outlined at a previous post entitled:

Culture of CofA and OMB decision-making has changed dramatically in 25 years: MPP Peter Milczyn

The incremental changes have had – in my anecdotal experience as a blogger, seeking to share accurate and balanced information – a strongly negative impact on the physical character, and social fabric, of the community.

The debasement of language is, I would argue, akin to the process known as gaslighting, in which an attempt is made to question a person’s own, everyday perceptions, concerning the nature of events in everyday life.

The stretching out of shape of language, that I refer to, is equally as destructive, of the social fabric of the community, as the actual physical changes that we have witnessed in recent years.

Quality of communications

I would like to conclude my comments by referring to a review of a Film Series Premiere that I attended on Oct. 4, 2017 at Humber College:

Well-received, well-attended Mental Health Film Series Premiere at Humber College Lakeshore

I mention this film series because I sincerely believe that a similar format, to the series I have reviewed, would work well as a way to use social media to reach a wide public with the final version of the Bill 139 legislation.

That is, a series of 10-minute films about key features of the legislation, bookended by a similar format (as in the above-noted series) for the introduction and closing segment, of each film, would in my view work really well.

In that context, posting of such a series on YouTube would, I believe, be a great way to proceed, as has been the case with the film series that I have mentioned:

Keys to Our Past: Mental Health Film Series now available on YouTube

The above-noted series has high production values, yet appears to me to have been put together without an enormous budget.

In this production, four highly knowledgeable people, from four separate institutions, spent eight hours discussing the content, of their project.

They then proceeded with the filming, and concluded with first-rate, highly capable editing of the content.

In the event there may be interest, in speaking with the production team – in the event, that is, that there is interest in launching a similar public education / public engagement OMB Reform project – a good person to contact is Jennifer Bazar, Ph.D., curator at the Lakeshore Grounds Interpretive Centre at Humber College, in New Toronto just east of Long Branch.


Share this:

Posted in Committee of Adjustment & Local Appeal Body, Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Bill 139 (OMB Reform) hearings: Oct. 17, 2017 speakers list

Tuesday, October 17, 2017
Toronto, Ontario
Committee Room 1
Queen’s Park
Bill 139, An Act to enact the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act, 2017 and the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre Act, 2017 and to amend the Planning Act, the Conservation Authorities Act and various other Acts

3:00 p.m.
Canadian Environmental Law Association
Theresa McClenaghan, Executive Director and Counsel
Jessica Karban, Articling Student
3:20 p.m.
City of Mississauga
Marcia J. Taggart, Deputy City Solicitor
3:40 p.m.
Toronto and Region Conservation Authority
Brian Denney, Chief Executive Officer
4:00 p.m.
Building TO Inc.
Stephen Diamond
Jane Pepino
Jack Winberg
4:20 p.m.
Association of Municipalities of Ontario
Lynn Dollin, President
4:40 p.m.
Conservation Ontario
Kim Gavine, General Manager
Hassaan Basit
Bonnie Fox
5:00 p.m.
Jennifer Keesmaat
5:20 p.m.
Ontario Society of Professional Engineers
Patrick Sackville, Lead, Policy and Government Relations
Robert J. Muir, Manager of Stormwater, Environmental Services, City of Markham
5:40 p.m.
Town of Oakville
Rob Burton, Mayor

Share this:

Posted in Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Message from Ernie Hardeman MPP regarding Bill 139 committee hearings

The following message is from Ernie Hardeman MPP:

I am writing to update you on the committee hearings for Bill 139
which reforms the OMB and the Conservation Authorities Act. Yesterday,
despite the fact that more than 50 people and organizations had
applied to speak the government cancelled the public hearings on this
bill that were scheduled for Monday October 23 and Tuesday October

We fought against the cancellation of these hearings, but ultimately
the Liberal members have the majority on the committee and we were
outvoted. I am very disappointed that the government is not willing to
take the time to listen to the concerns of community groups,
environmental organizations, legal experts and municipalities.

While we support reforming the OMB, like many others, we have concerns
about some parts of this bill. We believe that rather than rushing the
bill through to suit a political timeline it is more important to hear
from the people who will be impacted by this bill, understand the
potential problems and try to fix them before the legislation is

For those who still want to share their concerns I wanted to advise
you that the government has also shortened the deadline for written
comments. Written submissions are now due on Wednesday October 18 at
5:00 PM instead of the original deadline of October 24.

I’m disappointed and frustrated that the government has cancelled
these hearings and prevented us from hearing these concerns in person.
I encourage people making submissions to copy me and I will do my best
to raise their concerns in the time that is remaining on this bill.


Ernie Hardeman, MPP Oxford
PC Critic for Municipal Affairs and Housing


Share this:

Posted in Committee of Adjustment & Local Appeal Body, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Town of Port Credit Association (TOPCA) Town Hall Mtg & AGM is: Thurs., Nov. 9, 2017 at 7:00 pm at Clarke Hall


TOPCA = Town of Port Credit Credit Association

We owe thanks to Dorothy Tomiuk @Dorothy_Tomiuk for letting us know via Twitter.


Much of what I learn about meetings in Mississauga I learn via Twitter, or else via the handy roadside display signs that the City of Mississauga uses to advertise events.

I am impressed with the quality of civic engagement that is evident in Port Credit and Lakeview. Such a level of civic engagement is a source of inspiration for me.

I am also pleased that during the past 20 years, I have lived in Long Branch, which is in a borderland (conceptually and geographically speaking) between the City of Mississauga and the City of Toronto. If I had only the City of Toronto to refer to, my understanding of the GTA would be more limited, than is the case given my proximity to the Toronto-Mississauga border.

For many years, I’ve been attending events in both Mississauga and Toronto, and have found the experience enriching and compelling. Good things are happening in both cities.

On a personal level, I can add that some of the things that are happening, with regard to land use planning specifically in Long Branch, are of a nature that, if a person has the opportunity to leave, then they in some cases will leave.

For that reason, we are looking forward to moving to Stratford, Ontario, where land use planning appears to be of a decidedly different nature, than what is evident in Long Branch.

For a variety of reasons, of which an upcoming lot severance on our street is one, now is a good time for us, in our particular case, to start the process of leaving Long Branch. This is what quite a few people, that I know personally in Long Branch and Alderwood, have been doing in recent years. We are fortunate, I believe, that we live in a society where the opportunity to leave exists.

Some of us find it easy to move; some of us are used to moving on. Some of us may find such a move a major challenge. It depends on the circumstances of people’s lives. We each approach these things in the light of whatever formative experiences may have shaped us, in the preceding years.

For newcomers to Long Branch, it’s a fresh slate. For those of us who’ve been around for a while, even 20 years, well – when you look at Before/After – you see things from a slightly different perspective.

I look forward, in years ahead, to observing whether or not the Long Branch Character Guidelines pilot project, and the OMB Reform process, leads to changes in outcomes related to land use planning at the City of Toronto. The topic is of much interest to many people!


Share this:

Posted in Commentary, Mississauga, Newsletter, Story management | Leave a comment

Deputations related to Bill 139 (OMB Reform) hearings will be available on Hansard, some days after each hearing


An Oct. 16, 2017 Toronto Star article is entitled: “Toronto tells province that clear planning reforms are needed as soon as possible: City officials praised the province’s plan to reform the OMB at a committee hearing while asking for a clear transition plan as the city sees an uptick in development applications.”

According to a message at a recent post, Oct. 23 and 24 hearings are cancelled and written submissions are now due on Wednesday Oct. 18 at 5:00 pm instead of the original deadline of Oct. 24.



A previous post is entitled:

Hearings on Bill 139 (OMB Reform) will take place on Oct. 16 & 17 and Oct. 23 & 24; Oct. 24 is comments deadline

An electronic version of the Bill is available on the Legislative Assembly website at:

I’ve called the Procedural Services Branch at 416-325-3500 for details regarding the hearings on Oct. 17.

I was informed about the details, and I also learned that the deputations, from the Bill 139 hearings, will be available as Hansard  transcripts – easily located at the Queen’s Park website – some days after a given hearing. I look forward to reading the transcripts!

I’m looking forward to attending one of the hearings.

Years ago, when I was involved in another line of volunteer work, than what keeps me occupied now, I made a couple of deputations (as a spokesperson for a volunteer organization) at Committee Hearings, on one occasion with regard to proposed legislation related to delivery of speech-language services in Ontario.

The other occasion was with regard to a bill related to human rights legislation in Ontario. It was on both occasions an enjoyable and informative experience for me; I enjoyed having the opportunity to express my views.

I recall that I worked on my presentations for hours and hours beforehand, making sure that I would be able to make my points in the allocated time frame.

It’s also a good thing to know the names of the Committee members, and to have some sense of what their backgrounds are. That’s part of being prepared, I would say.

A person has to be super well-prepared, in order to make a good presentation, and in order to contribute in a useful way to the Q & A that follows, with members of the Committee.

For my own part, with regard to Bill 139, I look forward to sending in written comments in time for the 6:00 pm deadline on Oct. 24, 2017.

In the meantime, today I’m following Twitter updates from Jennifer Pagliaro, City hall reporter for the Toronto Star –


Share this:

Posted in Committee of Adjustment & Local Appeal Body, Long Branch, Newsletter, Toronto | Leave a comment

Hearings on Bill 139 (OMB Reform) took place on Oct. 16 & 17; Oct. 18 is comments deadline


In a previous version of this post, I noted the deadline for comments was Oct. 24 at 6:00 pm. That has changed. The deadline is now Oct. 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm.

As well, the Oct. 23 and 24, 2017 hearings have been cancelled.



I have recently learned that hearings on Bill 139, which proposes to replace the Ontario Municipal Board with a Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, have now been scheduled.

MPP Peter Milczyn’s Office has shared the following message regarding the upcoming Bill 139 hearings:

Dear Neighbour,

Bill 139, Building Better Communities and Conserving Watersheds Act, 2017

The Standing Committee on Social Policy will meet to consider Bill 139, An Act to enact the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal Act, 2017 and the Local Planning Appeal Support Centre Act, 2017 and to amend the Planning Act, the Conservation Authorities Act and various other Acts.

The Committee intends to hold public hearings in Toronto on October 16 and 17, and on October 23 and 24, 2017. If you wish to attend one these public meetings hearings, please call the Procedural Services Branch at 416-325-3500 for more information.

Interested people who wish to comment on the Bill may send written submissions to the Clerk of the Committee, Jocelyn McCauley at the address or other contacts below by 6:00 pm on Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Room 1405, Whitney Block
Queen’s Park, Toronto, ON M7A 1A2
Fax: (416) 325-3505

An electronic version of the Bill is available on the Legislative Assembly website at:

Peter Milczyn

Constituency Office
933 The Queensway
Etobicoke, ON M8Z 1P3



I have posted about the OMB Reform process previously:

Click here for previous posts about the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) >

I’ve summed up my own overview of what would be required, in order to stop the accelerating “institutional drift,” that has been associated – with readily evident present and future consequences for local streetscapes including where I have lived for 20 years – with the OMB in recent years, at a post entitled:

Comments from Jaan Pill regarding August 2017 Long Branch Character Guidelines draft


Share this:

Posted in Commentary, Committee of Adjustment & Local Appeal Body, Long Branch, Long Branch Urban Design Guidelines, Mississauga, Newsletter, Story management, Toronto | Leave a comment

Comments from Colleen O’Marra regarding next steps for the Preserved Stories website

Small sample of artifacts from the 1984 dig at the Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site. Jaan Pill photo

The photo on the right of a small sample of artifacts from the 1984 dig at the Colonel Samuel Smith homestead site at 85 Forty First Street in Long Branch is from a blog post dated June 23, 2012.

A previous post is entitled:

Heads-up regarding next steps for the Preserved Stories website

At that post, Colleen M. O’Marra has shared a comment, to which I have responded in turn. I’m posting the discussion as a separate post, in order to bring attention to it. The comments, that appear at this website, do not turn up in Google searches. Thus that is another reason, why I like from time to time to post comments as separate posts.

I am really pleased that Colleen M. O’Marra has written the comment. She is a long-time visitor to (and commentator at)  my website. I have not been checking site statistics at my site, for some time. I’m not saying that I will not check in future, but for whatever reason, I’m not that interested in knowing how many people are visiting my site on a given day. Fact-based websites are not to everybody’s taste, right?

Instead, I like to depend simply on comments from site visitors, and occasional messages by email or through this website, to get a sense of what people are reading about, when they visit this website.

Comment from Colleen M. O’Marra

Don’t forget one of the best resources for your book Mr. Pill. The lonely filing cabinet in our great Long Branch library full of our town’s history. For example, listings of all the previous owners of the last homes on Lake Promenade funded by the unofficial founder of Long Branch, Thomas Wilkie . There are at least six of them standing on the north side of Len Ford Park. There is also the fascinating story of the warship, Defiance, ordered by Simcoe to be built for the defense of Upper Canada. The ship was constructed at the mouth of the Etobicoke River.Was it used in battle ? How about the mystery of artifacts found at Colonel Smith’s farm. A dig took place in 1984. Where are those artifacts ?

Comment from Jaan Pill

I much appreciate your reminders, Colleen O’Marra!

Bernice Law, an old-time Long Branch resident (who subsequently moved to Alderwood) organized a series of life stories by Long Branch residents many years ago. The stories that she gathered are at the Long Branch Library. There are so many connections to the past, in resources at the library.

I will be adding, to the library’s resources, a hardcopy version of the “History of Long Branch” document that I’ve put together for the Preserved Stories website. I first need to prepare it in a Microsoft Publisher version. The latter document includes some fact-checking related to previous local-history accounts, as they relate to Long Branch. For example, the Colonel Smith house was torn down in 1955, as a number of printed sources indicate, rather than in 1952, a date that, once it got published, has been repeatedly endlessly, even though it’s inaccurate.

Similarly, the erroneous statement that the Long Branch Hotel fire occurred in 1954 has been frequently repeated whereas the actual date was 1958 as noted in several eye-witness accounts among other sources.

This kind of fact-checking is important because many people rely on the Long Branch Library resources for historical facts about Long Branch. At times, the requisite checking of sources, and verification of details does not happen, and non-facts are repeated as facts. This is a frequent happening, whenever local history tales are recounted, in communities around the world. It’s a fascinating process and is a great topic to research, as I have been doing for the past seven years or so.

Bernice Law shared with me, some years ago, a series of life-story chapters by a long-time resident who lived in South Etobicoke many years ago. I have a plan to publish that, chapter by chapter, at my website and to ensure that the Long Branch library has a copy.

I’ve been invited to give a talk about Long Branch history at the Franklin Horner Centre. The talk is at 1:00 pm on Oct. 25, 2017. I enjoy the opportunity to share information, on such occasions.

The story of the Colonel Smith artifacts will be in my book for sure. As will the initiative called “The Story of Mississauga,” which I’ve been following for some time. It’s by establishing a context – such as by looking at the stories of Alderwood, New Toronto, Mimico, as well as Port Credit and Lakeview in the old “Toronto Township” – that we can get a really good sense of how the history of Long Branch is positioned.

As well, we are dealing with storytelling including the story of how Mississauga Museums has developed and elaborated, and edited over the course of many discussions, what is known as the “Story of Mississauga” – a process that is of ongoing interest to me.

(In the preceding sentence, I’ve treated “Mississauga Museums” as singular, as it is a proper noun that functions as a singular, not plural, entity.)


Share this:

Posted in Commentary, Language usage, Long Branch, Mississauga, Newsletter, Story management, Toronto | 2 Comments

Can you refer us to sources about the history of the watersheds at Stratford, Ontario?

A previous post is entitled:

MCHS Sixties grads Daniel McPhail, Scott Munro, Bob Carswell and Jaan Pill met in Toronto in June 2017

At that post, I mentioned that:

Among other things, I’ve been preoccupied with an Ontario Municipal Board hearing. As a result of the outcome of the hearing, and because the timing is right for other reasons, we are moving away from Long Branch in South Etobicoke, where we have lived for the past 20 years. We are heading to Stratford, Ontario.


Lynn Legge of London, Ontario, a key player in the organizing of the successful MCHS 2015 Sixties Reunion held in Toronto in 2015, shares the following comment, at the above-mentioned post:

Jaan you are going to enjoy Stratford it’s a beautiful town had a number of clients in Stratford and enjoyed the drive from London


I commented:

Lynn wonderful to read your message. We are much enjoying the process of research and networking related to our move to Stratford.

My own introduction to Stratford took place some years ago, when I attended a weekend workshop in Stratford concerned with heritage preservation. The workshop was in connection with ongoing work at the University of Waterloo, related to heritage preservation across Ontario.

On that weekend I got to know Stratford – and its history – quite well. We’ve been to visit Stratford several times more recently and have always enjoyed the experience!

My interests, especially given the increase of extreme weather events across the Earth, includes the natural history of the area – that is, the history of the watersheds, the history of flooding events in the last several decades, the history of amelioration efforts (e.g. upgrading of systems relevant to water runoff), and the location of flood plains. I like to keep such details in mind. If anybody, who is reading this comment, has information to add to what I have learned to date, I am always keen to learn more!


In years past, I’ve written several posts about Stratford, Ontario

Click here for previous posts about Stratford >

Cooper Block – abandoned railway repair shop in Stratford

At a previous version of this post, I referred to a dated article about the Cooper Site. A much more recent link, which I came across subsequently, is entitled:

Cooper Block Master Plan: Community Engagement

An introduction to the above-noted link reads (please note that I’ve corrected a commonly made spelling error, changing “complimentary” to “complementary”):

The master plan process will establish a framework for the (re)development of the Cooper Block for municipal purposes, including economic development purposes, anchored by the University of Waterloo satellite campus (as it exists now and as it will build out over time) and other complementary/associated uses that the City wishes to see developed on the block in order to meet its objectives.


The above-noted link refers to the following document, which offers a quick and cogent overview:

City of Stratford Cooper Block Master Plan: “What We Heard” Consultation Summary and Key Considerations for the Master Plan, September 11, 2017


Share this:

Posted in MCHS Stories, Newsletter | Leave a comment

MCHS Sixties grads Daniel McPhail, Scott Munro, Bob Carswell and Jaan Pill met in Toronto in June 2017

Left to right, Scott Munro, Daniel McPhail, and Bob Carswell meeting for lunch in south Etobicoke early in June 2017. Jaan Pill photo

Left to right, Scott Munro, Daniel McPhail, and Bob Carswell meeting for lunch in south Etobicoke early in June 2017. Jaan Pill photo

At a post entitled We have a question regarding archives, files, photos, etc. regarding MCHS grad Peter Parsons, MCHS Sixties Grad Daniel McPhail has commented (May 25, 2017):

My family purchased and moved into the house on Lavigne St in the spring of 1967. Upon moving in we noticed written on the wall of the partially finished basement were the words “farewell old house”.


I was really pleased that following the comment, Daniel got in touch with me, with the result that he was able to join Scott Munro, Bob Carswell and me for lunch at the Halibut House at 2814 Lake Shore Blvd West in New Toronto (South Etobicoke) early in June 2017 (if I recall the date correctly).

Daniel McPhail,June 2017. Jaan Pill photo

Daniel McPhail,June 2017. Jaan Pill photo

One of the things that Daniel talked about, when we met in June, was that students from Ahuntsic (which is where Daniel lived before he moved to Lavigne St. in Cartierville) used to take the No. 80 bus up Park Ave. to and from Montreal High. I hadn’t known about that bus route, and I was pleased to learn about it.

I also learned from Daniel that Patricia Parsons was the sister of Peter Parsons. That was something I did not know! If anybody has a news update about Patricia Parsons, please let me know.

As I recall from our conversation in June 2017, Daniel lived for a while in Meadowvale in Mississauga after moving from Montreal, and later moved to Milton, Ontario.

View looking west along Lake Shore Blvd. West around Fourth St. in New Toronto (South Etobicoke). Jaan Pill photo

View looking west along Lake Shore Blvd. West around Fourth St. in New Toronto (South Etobicoke). Jaan Pill photo

Daniel mentioned he is keen to get in touch, these many years later, with classmates from Malcolm Campbell High School. Please contact me – through this website or at – if you’d like it get in touch with Daniel.

We will be getting together for lunch, likely in November 2017

We are working on planning of another lunch, again in South Etobicoke.

I’ll be in touch with people I’ve been in touch with earlier, including Heinz Thurner (Karl), who was in touch with me not long ago. Heinz lives in Burlington, Ontario, not far to the west of Toronto.

Halibut House is at 2814 Lake Shore Blvd West in Etobicoke. Jaan Pill photo

Halibut House is at 2814 Lake Shore Blvd West in Etobicoke. Jaan Pill photo

As well, Bob Carswell, Scott Munro, and Janet Hogg are on the email list, that I’ve put together, to help us with planning for our lunchtime get togethers. Janet has not yet joined us for lunch, as her work schedule at times gets in the way, but we look forward to meeting her in future.

Stratford, Ontario

The get togethers are usually about once a month or so. Over the summer, we have not met. Among other things, I’ve been preoccupied with an Ontario Municipal Board hearing. As a result of the outcome of the hearing, and because the timing is right for other reasons, we are moving away from Long Branch in South Etobicoke, where we have lived for the past 20 years. We are heading to Stratford, Ontario.

If you are an MCHS grad, or know any grads, who live in the Stratford area, please let me know. It would be great to have some lunch get togethers in Stratford, as well as in Toronto, and in towns between Stratford and Toronto. All it takes is a little organizing, and that’s always fun to do.

With regard to organizing, I want to mention that today I made a point of marking down a work schedule, for this post. I wrote a note to myself, indicating that from 7:00 pm until 8:30 pm, my task was to write this post. It’s 9:00 pm, as I write this. I’m very pleased that I followed my schedule. Having completed the post, I have the satisfaction of having made a plan, and of having followed through on it.


Share this:

Posted in MCHS Stories, Newsletter | 4 Comments

Lakeview Ratepayers Association AGM: Impressive meeting, inspiring speakers including Mayor Crombie & Councillor Tovey

I had the good fortune to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Lakeview Ratepayers Association, which took place on Oct. 11, 2017 at the Mississauga Seniors Centre.

I learned about the meeting some time back, when I was driving south on Cawthra Road by the Mississauga Seniors Center and noticed a handy roadside sign, announcing the event. I’m pleased I saw the sign! The seniors centre is not far from a school in Mississauga where I used to teach. We used to take students skating at the nearby arena.

The meeting began with an introduction by Rea Lingo-Santaguida, President of the LRA, followed by approval of the 2016 AGM Minutes, presentation of the Treasurer’s Report, and an overview of Constitutional Amendments.

The Constitutional Amendments included the introduction of an Associate Member category. That is, individuals or businesses outside of the boundaries of the Lakeview Ratepayers Association will be able to join, as non-voting members. The membership fee, for this category, remains to be determined. Details related to the Election of Directors were also addressed.

As well, Rea Lingo-Santaguida shared a brief and informative PowerPoint presentation highlighting the LRA’s past year of activities and achievements.

Guest speakers

An impressive line-up of guest speakers followed.

In subsequent posts, I will highlight some of the contents of the presentations. For the current post, I will share photos and the following quick notes.

Martin Manna, a Manager at BMO, gave a brief talk, as did Dave McKeown, chair of The Compass, a charitable organization. I found McKeown’s presentation very moving. He spoke of the ways that we, as citizens, can offer help to fellow citizens, when help is needed during challenging transitions in people’s lives.

Mario Pascucci, the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board Chair spoke next, followed by the Peel District School Board Chair, Janet McDougald.

In the Q & A, a question from the floor, following the latter presentation, concerned an ongoing controversy about the teaching of Mathematics in elementary schools in Ontario.

That is, some parents have expressed concern that students are not learning the basics, in Mathematics, because a “discovery” method does not appear to work that well, in this subject area.

Janet McDougald commented that this is a most interesting area for discussion, and noted that something is occurring between Grades 3 and Grades 6, as evidenced by Math EQAO scores.

I will report in more detail on this discussion, at a future post.

Update: Meantime, by way of an update, an Oct. 12, 2017 CBC article is entitled: “Peel board says EQAO tests should be suspended over concerns with math results: Only half of Grade 6 students met the EQAO’s math standard last school year.”

Commentary: The comments, at the end of the article, are of interest. The entire topic, of how Math should be taught, is of interest. I have written, at this website, about the educational system in Finland, which does well in all subject areas in international testing, for whatever value such testing may have. I look forward to learning details, through further reading, regarding Finnish approaches to the teaching of Math.


Mayor Crombie

The speakers also included City of Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie. Including the Q & A that followed her remarks, she spoke for at least half an hour. I was super impressed with the content of her wide-ranging discussion.


Mayor Bonnie Crombie, Oct. 11, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

Her remarks helped me get a much better sense, than I had previously acquired, of the successful work that civic leaders in Mississauga are accomplishing, in bringing massive amounts of new investment to Mississauga and the Peel Region.

Crombie also spoke of the coordinated, focused approach to budgeting, at the City of Mississauga. She shared an insightful overview of the focus of energy, and the channeling of resources that is required, in order for the annual budgeting process to work out really well.

I will share additional overviews at future posts.

Councillor Tovey

The final speaker was City of Mississauga Ward 1 Councillor Jim Tovey, whose political career began when he served as President of the Lakeview Ratepayers Association.

Councillor Jim Tovey, Oct. 11, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

Councillor Jim Tovey, Oct. 11, 2017. Jaan Pill photo

I’ve been following Jim Tovey’s career for many years, and have reported at length about his strongly collaborative leadership role, in a wide range of innovative Mississauga waterfront projects, including Inspiration Lakeview; the Lakeview Waterfront Connection project; several Port Credit land-use projects; and the Small Arms Building project.

I am pleased to add that, as I have noted at previous posts, another Lakeview resident who played a key role, alongside Tovey, in getting the above-mentioned projects off the ground, was Lakeview resident John Danahy, of the University of Toronto faculty of architecture, landscape, and design.

With regard to the Small Arms Building, I am also pleased to add that another (unnamed) Lakeview resident played a key role, in enabling the project to proceed in the first place, by raising the alarm at a point where the latter building was about to be demolished. What a difference that made!

Tovey’s talk at the Oct. 11, 2007 AGM, of the Lakeview Ratepayers Association, focused on development issues at the Ward level, and on infrastructure achievements at the Regional level.

In upcoming posts, I will feature highlights from his talk.

The power of civility

I will close with a comment from Mayor Crombie.

The Mayor spoke of the high level of collaboration and coordination among Councillors and City Staff in Mississauga.

Crombie noted there is disagreement at times, at Council, given that many different viewpoints are at play – but disagreements are expressed in ways that are respectful.

That is a key message, that I took home with me.

Civility makes for a great way to proceed.

It is indeed possible for people to debate and disagree, and still maintain civility, and a sense of collaboration. That is among the messages, from this years’s Lakeview Ratepayers Association AGM, that truly resonates for me.


Share this:

Posted in Commentary, Mississauga, Newsletter | Leave a comment