Preserved Stories Blog

Inquiry from Sue Baker regarding Gordon Eckersley – 1958 Montreal Star connection: Can you help?

We have had an inquiry from Sue Baker regarding Gordon Eckersley. If you know anything about where Gordon Eckersley is these days, please contact me through this website.

Sue Baker: I won’t be able to contribute to any of your stories but I hope you are able to assist me (a little selfish).

In 1958, after the passing of my father, Dermot O’S Baker a trophy was presented in his honour to Hugh Struthers! !

Gordon was also a recipient of a trophy for his low gross [golf] score of 89. These photos are printed in the Slug/Mtl Star 1958. All recipients of mention are at that time, Montreal Star employees! [Not clear what the Slug in Slug/Mtl Star refers to.]

Does anyone recognize these names? I would love a photo or two or word of any mention of “dad”! I lost him at the tender age of almost 15.

Jaan Pill: Good to read your message. Is it okay if I post it to the Preserved Stories / MCHS 2015 website?

Perhaps the best way would be for me to say that if anybody has information they can contact the website and/or they can send a message that I can then pass along to you.

Also, do you have details to add that would provide information about anybody having a connection to MCHS or to the elementary schools that MCHS students would have attended when they were younger? Can you tell me more about Gordon Eckersley – e.g., if he went to MCHS do you know when he graduated? Do you know what the low gross score refers to?

Sue Baker: I was once again overwhelmed by the horrific events of the day! [The message was written on July 15, 2016.] I am away from the tv now and will be indebted if you can post my note.

It is really about a retired school educator who has returned to her homeland and her great city of origin. I am trying to find answers to questions that went unanswered for years! I left at 24years old and returned at 65 plus..I missed Montreal and so many friends etc. Most of all I missed my childhood!!

Every once in awhile I go through photos and articles that were printed in the Mtl Star or Gazette! I have had this photo of these gentlemen receiving a golf trophy with my dads’ name on it! His last position with the Star was Managing Editor of the newspaper(1958). This is where I saw a Gordon Ecklersley. I have NO connection at all to the High School. I am unsure what the initials stand for! I was educated at Villa Maria and McGill!

Thank you for your patience! Oh, low gross was the term I had used referencing the golf tournament!

Jaan Pill: Good to read your message. Great to have the additional details. The news that is being broadcast is not the best these days. I will post the information that you have shared. From time to time, people have re-connected with each other or have been able to track down information through the Preserved Stories website. So I will post it tomorrow. [Actually, it took a few days.]


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Peel paramedics issue warning after young cyclists badly injured in Mississauga crashes this weekend – July 17, 2016 Mississauga News

A July 17, 2016 Mississauga News article is entitled: “Peel paramedics issue warning after young cyclists badly injured in Mississauga crashes this weekend.”

The opening paragraphs read:

Two teenaged boys are in hospital with serious injuries this weekend after separate crashes in north and south Mississauga while they were riding their bicycles.

The most recent incident occurred Saturday evening (July 16) in Lakeview just after 5 p.m., when Peel Region Paramedics say a male cyclist was hit by a car on Lakeshore Road, just east of Cawthra Road. The collision didn’t occur at an intersection, police say.

[End of excerpt]


Paramedics transported the victim, believed to be 17 to a Toronto trauma centre with serious leg injuries that aren’t considered life-threatening.


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Options regarding Photoshop overlays depicting severance proposals related to Committee of Adjustment & OMB meetings

The Photoshop overlay is from David Godley.

The Photoshop overlay regarding 9 Meaford Ave. is from David Godley. Click on image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

Artist's Impression, based on drawings from the 13 Villa Road file available at the Committee of Adjustment, of the approximate appearance of the proposed buildings, as it relates to the Villa Road streetscape. Source: Jaan Pill

Artist’s Impression, based on drawings from the 13 Villa Road file available at the Committee of Adjustment, of the approximate appearance of the proposed buildings, as it relates to the Villa Road streetscape. Photoshop overlay by Ryan Hryciuk. Click on image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

The first photo on the right is from a post entitled: Conserving Long Branch – July 2016 Update from David Godley

The second photo is from a post entitled: How to prepare a 5-minute presentation to the Committee of Adjustment.

You may note that in the first photo, the image of the front elevations representing the variance proposal is depicted in black and white. In the second photo the front elevations are depicted in a colour transparency that enables the viewer to picture the proposal in a slightly different way.

It may also be noted that the first photo features backlighting: the sun is behind the buildings. In the second photo, the sunlight falls on the front of the buildings.

Both of the Photoshop overlays work out well.

The purpose of the post, that you are now reading, is to bring attention to the fact that several options are available to us, when we work with Photoshop to clearly get across what a proposed severance entails.

Among the points to keep in mind is that the elevations and the photographed streetscape need to be closely to scale. If they are not to scale, the lack of coordination of scale will give rise to accusations of exaggeration, and in that way will detract from the effectiveness of the Photoshop overlay.


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Conserving Long Branch – July 2016 Update Addendum – David Godley

A previous post is entitled:

Conserving Long Branch – July 2016 Update from David Godley

A July 4, 2016 email July 2016 Update Addendum from David Godley <> concerns 9 Meaford Avenue.

David Godley refers to an exchange of emails that, David notes, “confirms the Planning Department’s position.”

“The main recommendation to defer for community consultation is fully supported,” he notes.  “However they have a phrase in the body of the report which says ‘no further concerns.” On this we will have to agree to disagree.”

David adds:

“I can assure you that without assistance from the Planning Department in the past Long Branch would be much more devastated than it is now.

“They have spent an inordinate amount of time on Long Branch Issues

“As you will see from the attached comment to the Committee of Adjustment I am still perplexed.”

The Photoshop overlay is from David Godley.

The Photoshop overlay regarding 9 Meaford Ave. is from David Godley.

The full text of David Godley’s comment to the Committee of Adjustment regarding 9 Meaford Ave, reads:

DAVID GODLEY, MA, MRTPI (Rt) Planning Consultant

401 Lake Promenade, Toronto, Ontario, M8W 1C3, Canada

Tel 416 255.0492

To Mark Kehler, Committee of Adjustment
5 July 2016

9 Meaford Avenue, Severance and Variances, B29/16, A338-9/16

I support Deferral as recommended by the Planning Department.


I note in the body of their report (last para.) dated May 31st 2016 that it is mentioned that they have “no further concerns”. I believe this to be a planning error. Otherwise the report has considerable implications for Planning in the whole of Etobicoke/ East York and perhaps for the City as a whole.

That is because the Department would be making a 180 degree switch from all their comments on similar applications for twin 3 storey soldiers on 25 feet frontage in single family only zoning. All their evidence at hearings has been exactly the opposite.

This applies to the approximately 20 applications that fall into the same category. All were opposed by Planning and none was supported. This includes 2 27th Street which was approved by the OMB with the devastating loss of 9 mature and healthy trees and 168 Lake Promenade where the overpowering nature of the development blocked sun, light and views along nearly the whole east side of the rear yard of the abutting property to the west. The owner emigrated!

Meaford Avenue is similar to Shamrock Avenue where the Planning Department was vigorous in opposing development. The whole character is transforming because of the OMB. Meaford Avenue is quieter, more trees and lower profile than Shamrock and thus more sensitive to change.

All the initiatives for conserving the character of Long Branch such as the Urban Design Guidelines, Community Forums, and working with the Neighbourhood are contrary to the “no further concerns” phrase.

I am aware of the machinations of both the Official Plan and Amendment 320 and it is clear that the general intent in both was to stop the type of development in the applications proposed in lower density neighbourhoods. The statements in the Official Plan are misconstrued by development planners who are in conflict of interest situations. The wording of OPA 320 is even clearer where it says development must reinforce existing character by looking at the most frequently occurring nearby massing and scale – a simple clarification of prevailing and predominant.

The zoning was changed in an attempt to eliminate 3 storey houses by limiting the height of the front exterior main wall and the maximum height of the first floor, both exceptions in the subject variances.

“No further concerns” also puts Community Development at the opposite end of the spectrum to the Department’s own Urban Design Section.

Consistency by the Planning Department gives credibility to their comments.

Foreign to me is the notion that the information and the opinions of the impacted residents and the broader neighbourhood are not part of an analysis of a complex proposal. Policy is built up from the grassroots and blended with overall Citywide policies. The same with applications on a par with the complexity of zoning applications which have mandated community meetings prior to Planning Department reaching conclusions.

Residents and Associations are completely dependent on the Planning Department along with the Councillor to protect their interests which are part of public interest, the raison d’etre for the Planning Department. This includes not just the public realm but also impacts on neighbours as the Planning Department have done in the past. The De Gasperis Divisional Court case allows this as a fifth “test’ for a variance. The Planning Act is full of public involvement requirements.

A red herring seems to be becoming part of Planning Department thinking. We are hearing that the new building within the building envelope of the zoning is somehow justified. This has nothing to do with the conformity with the Official Plan. Once a variance is submitted it is the policies of the Official Plan which must be observed for the specific proposal especially as “substantially the same” conditions are required. Having building envelope override the Planning Act is an argument I have not heard development planners use – yet.

Professional elitism is at the heart of the failure of the OMB. Planning is both a science and an art. Therefore experts are heavily influenced by their own values and their situation. So called experts in planning should not necessary outweigh those of neighbourhood people in my opinion. We need hearing officers who have a sound understanding of planning including urban design to have rational judgments.

Over time severance and variance applications have become more extreme and larger. We currently have applications for 5x floor space index where 0.35 is required and semis in single family zoning only. At the same time the OMB has become increasingly enamoured with so called planning experts.

Fortunately and belatedly the OMB are changing their tune and saying that where proposals are of lesser width than existing frontage widths or have more storeys than other houses they are not within the parameters of character and provide precedents which will transform streets to be unrecognizable.PL 151145 and 150665.

The most devastating attack on the character of Long Branch is from 3 storey twin houses each on a 25 feet wide lot. This has created anger and anxiety in the neighbourhood due the helplessness and frustration of the current process where citizens are sidelined.

Residents moved into Long Branch because it is historic, leafy, charming, quiet, lower density with plenty of green around the houses. It offers a unique quality of life. It is gradually being turned into a banal type subdivision with no character of its own. Those who are directly affected show their love of the neighbourhood through protest but the system does not allow them to follow through on the Official Plan to conserve character.

Planning Process for Review of Severances and Variances

A brief check list of matters to consider for these applications are:

1) Why cannot development be built under current zoning. (Application Form)

2) Does the proposal comply with the City’s definition of minor.

“Small changes or exceptions to existing land use or development restrictions contained in the zoning bylaw are called minor variances.”

3) Are the variances small in size (De Gasperis) as well as impact.

4) Is the development desirable for the appropriate use from the public interest point of view.

5) Is the general intent of the zoning achieved particularly the ordinance to limit first floor height to achieve 2 storeys and a sense of scale similar to existing and double the density with about double the massing..

6) Does the proposal conform to the general intent of the Official Plan

a) Does the proposal reflect “respect and reinforcement character” as repeated in the OP a dozen times.

b) Is change gradual, harmonious and sensitive.

c) Can Long Branch, as the severance capital of Toronto, be considered stable now because of all the inappropriate development that has been approved by the OMB over the Planning Department and Committee of Adjustment position. Can it even be stable with the current process of eliminating those impacted from influence.

d) Does the proposal reflect Policy 2 of the OP that conservation of character trumps density and demand.

e) Does the proposal reflect policy 3 of the OP (see below)

f) Does the proposal reflect policy 4 specifically 4.1.5c – to respect and reinforce existing physical character “heights, massing, scale….of nearby residential properties”

g) Is the Official Plans clarification in OPA 320 (City Policy) that conservation features are prevailing, predominant and most frequently occuring.

7) What is the opinion of the most severely impacted residents, the nearby residents and the neighbourhood as a whole.

The answers to the checks all appear to be no.

Other Issues

The applicant has provided no contextural information. The attachment gives some critical information not yet included in Planning Department’s comments. More is forthcoming from the residents.

An outstanding issue is that there has not been a study to evaluate ground water capacity. All properties south of Lake Shore are subject to significantly increased insurance rates to allow for basement flooding damage. This has not been taken account of by the Engineering Department. Continued reduction of rainwater absorption will only exacerbate the situation. A study is being initiated by the Councillor’s Office.

From my dealings with the Planning Department I am convinced they are concerned what the neighbours think about the quality of the street and that they prefer to live in historic, treed, characterful and vibrant neighbourhood. Therefore their phrase “no further concerns” is not congruent.

They have initiated the Urban Design Study for Long Branch which stemmed from concerns about exactly this type of development and is intended to clarify local interpretation of appearance.

In future the market bubble is likely to burst or a tax will be levied on foreign owners to bring down the inflated price of land. Long Branch does not want to look like a row of bad teeth and be quoted in educational texts as an example of where planning went wrong in the second decade of the twenty first century. If the subject phrase is unintended then it is like a dagger in the side of Long Branch. I am hopeful that all will get back to normal with the planning and the Planning Department.


The matter should be deferred to have a community consultation to bring the proposal into conformity with the various tests. After the Community Forum the Planning Department can then review their initial conclusions with the benefit of community participation. If no consultation is held with the public, the application should be refused.

Extract from Urban Design Policies of Toronto’s Official Plan

3. New development will be massed and its exterior façade will be designed to fit harmoniously into its existing and/or planned context, and will limit its impact on neighbouring streets, parks, open spaces and properties by:

a) massing new buildings to frame adjacent streets and open spaces in a way that respects the existing and/or planned street proportion;

b) incorporating exterior design elements, their form, scale, proportion, pattern and materials, and their sustainable design, to influence the character, scale and appearance of the development;

c) creating appropriate transitions in scale to neighbouring existing and/or planned buildings for the purpose of achieving the objectives of this Plan;

d) providing for adequate light and privacy;

e) adequately limiting any resulting shadowing of, and uncomfortable wind conditions on, neighbouring streets, properties and open spaces, having regard for the varied nature of such areas

[End of text] 

 2 Shamrock

David Godley adds that 2 Shamrock is coming up at the 4 August Committee of Adjustment meeting.


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Conserving Long Branch – July 2016 Update from David Godley

The Photoshop overlay is from David Godley.

The Photoshop overlay regarding 9 Meaford Ave. is from David Godley. Click on image to enlarge it; click again to enlarge it further.

[The following update is from David Godley. David sent it out to his email list on July 2, 2016 but I have been slow in posting it to my website. This is volunteer work and my slowness comes with the territory.]

Message from David Godley:


Formal Review of Ontario Municipal Board

(Links below and my submission attached)

[A June 23, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Naqvi makes good on campaign promise, launches Ontario Municipal Board review: Quasi-judicial panel that can overturn city council particularly controversial in Ottawa Centre.”]

[A June 23, 2016 Ontario Government news release is entitled: “Province Launches Review of Ontario Municipal Board.”


9 MEAFORD AVENUE B29/16, A338-9/16 Proposed 3 storey soldier houses

This proposal is to be considered by the Committee of Adjustment at 4pm in the Board Room at the Etobicoke Civic Centre on July 7th (Thursday).

The Planning Department are recommending deferral for community input but have raised no concerns.

It is unusual for the Planning Department to reach this conclusion prior to controversial cases without the public’s say.

It is anticipated the applicant will ask for the hearing to proceed and be given a decision (refuse or approve) by the Committee of Adjustment.
This will likely result in an Ontario Municipal Board hearing.

An issue which seems to becoming topical is the “building envelope” – the area of space that can be occupied by building due to setbacks and height limit in the zoning.

This came up on 88 Laburnham and seemed to be a factor on 10 Garden Place.

Although the placement of a house on a lot can be controlled though site plan approval this is too cumbersome according to Planning.

Using the building envelope approach means that double the density does not seem to be a problem although it is really a systemic weakness of the zoning system.

So the impact on neighbours is not taken into account even though they can be severe.

Mitigating impacts is in the public interest and consideration of reduction of quality of life is part of urban planning.

Clearly this approach to allow extra density because a proposal is in the “building envelope” is contrary to good planning and does not accord with the policies of the Official Plan.

This pro development argument needs to be squelched immediately. It runs counter to conserving the character of Long Branch.

Residents and Residents Associations are entirely dependent on the Planning Department and the co-operation of our Councillor to uphold the public interest.

Effectively the community is unable to shape its future in the current system that is antidemocratic (see OMB attachment).


Urban Design Guidelines for Long Branch – Walking Tour

The Long Branch Long Walk took place on the evening of June 28 2016. Here is my synopsis.

We are indebted to the Planning Department and Councillor Grimes for initiating the Urban Design Guidelines for Long Branch.

Whatever else it has done is getting communications going to try to address the issues.

What I learned both from analytically looking at developments and talking with citizens and staff on the walk was:

– it is a long walk from one corner of Long Branch at Lake Prom and 41st Street to the diametrically opposite corner and then have to return by foot!

– the consultants S vN are strongly collaborative in approach as are the Urban Design staff.

– the issue is hot. Of a total of 36 members on the Advisory Committee over 50 showed up!

– the half dozen or so resident/developers feel threatened both for their accommodation (most of them live in houses for a year to avoid capital gains tax) and their livelihood.

– they are blind to the character of the neighbourhood and focus on their own site and on their own designs.

– Sabrina Salatino, to her credit, stepped in firmly a couple of times to quell unproductive arguments.

– there is an array of views from the public from those who feel all new development is insensitive to ones who are prepared to compromise significantly.

– new houses with considerable extra density often have strong impacts on abutting houses in terms of views, privacy, light and sunlight, not to mention loss of trees in back yards.

– there is strong agreement that presenting a three storey elevation to the street is not in character pretty well everywhere in Long Branch, especially on narrow houses and basically this should be stopped.

– virtually every new twin built could have been improved significantly by better architectural treatment. This bodes well for Community Forums but the COA and OMB are not equipped to handle these fine grain issues.

– such things as recessed garages, limiting double or wide garage entrances, garage doors, steps, 3 dimensional facades (which many twins have), greater contrast in facade design, pitched roofs sloping back from the eaves, dropping eaves lower, combining gardens in the centre of twins with driveways at the edges, minimising tarmac, picking up local details etc

– Urban Design Planning staff are not consulted on controversial applications such as 9 Meaford

– a small and dedicated group of Urban Design staff and residents managed to find enough energy to look at Meaford Avenue and found a low density low profile street on wide lots undisturbed by jarring development. This was the Shamrock situation a couple of years ago. The Planning Department are to be congratulated on fighting the destruction of character which is taking place on Shamrock Avenue.

– only Meaford Avenue houses (and spaces) should be seen as the priority for judging fit and harmony as was reinforced in OPA 320. Houses on 23rd, 25th and City Road are basically irrelevant. They are outside the microneighbourhood of nearby properties.

– the simple test that determines whether a proposal needs analysis for fit is whether there are houses on the street that are exceeded. If the proposed lots are the smallest on the street , if the houses have more storeys than other houses on the street, the houses are set forward more than any other house on the street and narrow gap between houses (which tends to be useless) then they should not be approved. Density is more to do with impact on abutting neighbours.

It was a historic night for the neighbourhood in that Long Branch is being looked at as a whole.

I will be filling out the form handed out focusing on specific issues later.

Thank you again for all those responsible and participating in the Long Branch Urban Design Study.


MINTO DEVELOPMENT 3580 Lake Shore Blvd (west of the Beer Store)

In response to the market, Minto Developments are increasing the number of stacked townhouses and reducing the number of condo apartments.

This also involves a major improvement to the frontage along Lake Shore Blvd. with a reduction of height from 8 storeys to 5 storeys.

Local architect Arthur Muskovitch has designed a graceful frontage with vertical emphasis. Street level commercial will have three storeys of residential immediately above and a further floor set back.

The Planning Department, the Councillor and the public have worked together with Minto to come up with a win win situation.

Summary Status of Applications in Long Branch


Applications for July 7 2016 Committee of Adjustment (Thursday)

16 25th Street

9 Meaford Avenue (severance see above)

93 Lake Promenade

20 Elton (severance)

7 26th St

3580 Lake Shore Blvd

Next Meeting August 4 2016

New Applications

82 27th Street (severance)

48 Elder (severance)

157 30th Street (severance)

Appealed to Ontario Municipal Board

20 Garden Place (severance)

30 36th Street (severance)

2 Ash Avenue (severance)

80 23rd Street (severance)

OMB Hearings

4/5 July 10 am, OMB Offices 56/58 Ash (severances)

7 July 10 am, OMB Offices 9 Atherton (severance)


I am an independent retired planner who is trying to achieve an equitable planning process.

I have been helping residents in Long Branch and elsewhere with planning issues pro bono since 2006 when my Committee of Adjustment terms were finished.

I am not a member of the LBNA or for that matter the Lawn Signs group.

Please keep me in touch with anything that you think my 100 or so recipients might wish to know.

[End of text from David Godley <>]


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How to read the streets of Long Branch: Urban Guidelines Pilot Project is now underway

Walk route superimposed on Long Branch Subdivisions map

June 28, 2016 Long Branch Urban Guidelines Walking Tour route, superimposed on Long Branch Subdivisions map. Click on image to enlarge it.

You can read a map of a street – and you can read the street itself.

I am pleased to be a member of the Community Advisory Group for the Long Branch Urban Guidelines Pilot Project.

Long Branch Urban Guidelines Pilot Project

I have outlined the project in previous posts:

Urban Design Guidelines Pilot Project has been initiated in Long Branch

Neighbourhood Urban Design Guidelines Template, “How To” Manual and Pilot Project

Long Branch Urban Guidelines Community Advisory Group

For the past thirty years I have played a leadership role with many non-profit boards of directors, and have also sat on many advisory boards.

In such volunteer work, in a leadership role you are ensured of being heard, and you have the opportunity to build alliances leading to majority support for particular plans of action; in an advisory role, on the other hand, there’s a chance of being heard but no certainty. People can take your advice or leave it, and you do not have a vote. I enjoy such roles; even if nobody listens to me, I can learn a lot that I otherwise would not have learned.

I did not attend the May 17, 2016 public meeting at which the Guidelines project was introduced. However, since that time, I’ve had the opportunity to learn many details about the project.


Photo chosen at random from along the Walking Tour route (in this case at Lake Promenade at the foot of Forty First Street) highlighted at this post.

A May 11, 2016 post by David Godley outlines the purpose of the latter meeting:

May 17, 2016 Community Meeting for Long Branch Urban Design Guideline, Assembly Hall,  6:30 pm

All Long Branch residents are invited.

Attending the Willowdale Community meeting this week (on a parallel study) leads to the conclusion this is going to be a useful exercise, especially so for the Committee of Adjustment. This will produce a guide for them and all concerned on more detailed appearance. Hopefully the OMB or other appeal body will give the guidelines weight. An advisory group to meet over the summer is also proposed as well as further community meetings.

Long Branch was the first neighbourhood to be chosen for an urban guideline study in Toronto. You will find the Sinclair, van Nostrand, urban design staff, the City’s Urban design group and local planners enlightened and plentiful. Public participation is central to this exercise. Contact Sabrina Salitano Local Planner or Shawna Bowen Urban Designer for additional details. Some areas of Long Branch did not receive their mailed notification so please spread the news to Long Branch residents and owners.

[End of text] 

June 28, 2016 Long Branch Urban Design Guideline Walking Tour

On June 28, 2016 I received an email message from a resident who asked if I would be attending the Long Branch Urban Design Guidelines Walking Tour that was going to be held that evening.


View at the west end of Carnation Avenue in the northeast corner of Long Branch near the railway tracks which mark the northern boundary of Long Branch. On the left in the photo is the eastern boundary of Laburnham Park.

I checked about the walk and learned it was solely for the Advisory Group and City staff, and that people would need to sign up for it.

I made a further inquiry to see if I could sign up and a few days later my name was added to the Advisory Group.

How to read a street, and what to do with what you read

I have gone over the June 28, 2016 route by bike, by car, and by walking.

I have also studied the route using Google Street View and Google Satellite View, and have documented the route with video recordings and still photographs.

In recent years, I  have also had a close look at typical physical characteristics of parts of the route during canvassing for a wide range of political campaigns (Provincial and School Board elections).

What you see of a neighbourhood at the front door of houses, as a canvasser, adds additional, up-close detail and texture to what you see when you are standing on the sidewalk or driving down the street.

By way of example, the style and state of repair of mailboxes tend to vary in accordance with associated variables such as the state of repair of houses.


Photo chosen at random (in this case along Arcadian Circle) from the Walking Tour route highlighted at this post.

In some areas of Long Branch, such as north of Lake Shore Blvd. West along Exmoor Drive, again by way of anecdotal evidence, the houses tend to be moderate in size (with some exceptions especially involving recent infill projects). In other areas, such as corner lots in many parts of Long Branch and when you get closer to the lake, houses tend to be larger and on larger lots.

As a canvasser, I have developed an appreciation for the demographic profiles, life circumstances, human agency (the sense of having a capacity to have an impact on local decision making), and voting intentions that are evident along the streets of Long Branch.

The evidence that I’ve picked up is anecdotal evidence, as distinguished from empirical evidence acquired through academic or professional research. I see value in both types of observations; in a sense the distinction is between academic and non-academic observations; I draw strength from the fact that one of the legacies of the urbanist and writer Jane Jacobs is that non-academic observations by everyday citizens are of tremendous value – with regard to urban planning as with regard to other aspects of life.

These are among the things that I think about when I consider what’s involved when we speak about the reading of a street, which is not unlike what a person does when reading a book, screen, person, or anything else.

June 28, 2016 Long Branch Urban Guidelines Walking Tour

I did not attend the walk on June 28, 2016 as I was not yet a member of the Advisory Group at the time the Guidelines Walking Tour was held.

However, I have studied the route extensively (along with varied side routes that occurred to me) and have made comments, in time for the July 12, 2016 deadline for members of the Advisory Group to offer comments. It was great to have a deadline because that focused my efforts. One of the key things I’ve learned from the Walking Tour is the value of setting deadlines.


View toward Lake Shore Blvd. West from Twenty Seventh Street.

Excerpts from Long Branch Neighbourhood Walking Tour Workbook

I am pleased to post (below) key excerpts including a map from the above-noted workbook, for your interest.

Following text is from the workbook:

Map of Preliminary Character Areas within the neighbourhood, presented for purposes of discussion among the Community Advisory Group. Source: Long Branch Neighbourhood Walking Tour Workbook

Map of Preliminary Character Areas within the neighbourhood, presented for purposes of discussion among the Community Advisory Group. Each of the eight numbered sections of the route corresponds to a Character Area (zone) in the neighbourhood, according to the Walking Tour Workbook. The map includes the question: “Are these Character Areas consistent with your understanding of the Neighbourhood?” Source: Page 3 of Long Branch Neighbourhood Walking Tour Workbook. Click on image to enlarge it.

Guiding Change in Neighbourhoods

Official Plan. Toronto’s neighbourhoods are constantly changing, from small additions to replacement homes or other low-rise infill developments.

The Official Plan sets out a vision for Toronto’s neighbourhoods as “stable but not static”, and that new development will be sensitive to and generally fit with the existing physical character.

Zoning By-Law. Change within neighbourhoods is also governed by the City’s Zoning By-Law. The Zoning By-law sets out numerical standards to regulate the mass, height, and location of buildings, percentage of open space, and the provision of parking spaces.

Urban Design Guidelines. Urban Design Guidelines can provide additional guidance for change within neighbourhoods. They do not replace the Official Plan or the Zoning By-law. Instead, they help define the character of a specific neighbourhood and demonstrate potential design outcomes that fit with this character.

What Neighbourhood Character Means

The term character refers to the spatial and aesthetic qualities of a specific area within a city that make it unique and distinct from any other area.

A neighbourhood’s character is composed of a number of individual elements that together contribute to the creation of a distinct ‘sense of place’: the street patterns, special places, interface of buildings with the public realm, consistent façade elements, colours and materials, treatment of front yards, types of trees and vegetation, etc. Character refers to the composite of the attributes of all these elements and it is not limited by architectural style.

Advisory Group

A Community Advisory Group has been formed to assist with the development of the Long Branch neighbourhood urban design guidelines. The purpose of the Advisory Group is to provide feedback, guidance and advice at key points during the consultation process. It is composed of residents and other stakeholders. Advisory Group meetings will supplement the broader public meetings, providing an additional forum to test ideas and explore issues where there is a range of views.

Purpose of This Exercise

As part of the overall Neighbourhood Urban Design Guidelines project, two pilot neighbourhoods have been targeted to test and evaluate the Guidelines Template and Manual. This exercise falls within the second phase of a three-phase consultation process:

we are here2032

The purpose of today’s meeting is to further explore issues and opportunities raised at the first public meeting and identify potential design priorities for the neighbourhood as a whole.

The walking tour will follow the route as identified in page 3. A series of themes (1-8) have been linked to specific segments of the route: the Advisory Group will collectively discuss the themes in page 2 along the route. At the end of the walk, members can individually distill their thoughts into Design Priorities by filling in the form on page 4.

Preliminary Character Area Analysis


Character Areas are zones within the neighbourhood that have distinct conditions or traits, and that may require specific guidance in certain matters.

Three preliminary Character Areas have been identified based on the input received in the first public consultation session. The intent of this exercise is to clarify the differences between them and whether specific guidelines will be necessary to preserve the unique traits of each Character Area within the overall Long Branch study area. Help us understand to what degree local conditions affect the character of the Neighbourhood, based on this series of context-specific topics:

1) Parks, Parkettes and Adjacency to Natural Area

We heard that lots adjacent to natural areas are generally compatible. Should additional guidelines apply to areas adjacent to open spaces? What are the primary qualities that need to be protected?

2) Building Types and Perceived Scale in Context

We heard a range of views on the compatibility of a contrast in perceived heights. What are the best ways to mitigate the perceived scale of a building through design guidelines? e.g. stepbacks, pitched roofs, greening


View of Forty First Street looking south toward Lake Promenade. I took this photo when I was looking for the Route Map that had fallen out of my back pocket while I was riding a bicycle to familiarize myself with the route of the Walking Tour.

3) Lake

We heard that views to the lake and along the lakeshore are considered compatible. What are the best ways to preserve and enhance views of the lake and along the lakeshore through design guidelines? e.g. stepbacks, landscaping


The map was where I had dropped it.

4) Public Realm Within the Street

We heard that mature trees are generally compatible and a range of views on the compatibility of sidewalks. Should the guidelines for the public realm be consistent throughout the neighbourhood or vary by character area / specific streets?

5) Heritage

Based on our preliminary analysis, there is almost a full block of buildings on the Heritage Register along Long Branch Avenue.


Closer view.

Should additional guidelines apply to areas with many heritage register buildings?

6) Street Configuration

Based on our preliminary analysis, the arrangement of buildings on a street tends to differ based on the configuration of the street (i.e. how straight or windy it is). Should additional guidelines apply to streets based on their configuration?

Long Branch Urban Design Guidelines Walk Route. The map is from Google Maps.

This is the map which was resting on Forty First Street. The printout, from Google Maps, traces the Long Branch Urban Design Guidelines Walking Tour. Click on the image to enlarge it.

7) ‘Front Streets’ and ‘Side Streets’

Based on our preliminary analysis, there is variation in the configuration of lot frontages along certain streets. Should additional guidelines apply to streets with varying lot configurations?

8) Adjacencies

Based on our preliminary analysis, there are streets within the neighbourhood where the rear and / or side yard condition differs on either side of the street? Should the guidelines differ based on rear and / or side yard conditions of houses on a particular street?


Preliminary Identification of Design Priorities

Design Priorities are the summary of the issues and opportunities analysis for both the full neighbourhood and specific to particular areas. They are the starting point for drafting the principles that will direct the overall urban design guidelines, as well as identifying supplementary guidance that Character Areas may require.

Based on the urban design themes elaborated in the previous session, please list what the specific design priorities are and identify in which Character Areas (A, B, C or none [see the map at this page]) they apply:

[The following questions were covered in this part of the workbook; for this web posting, I have omitted details and layout connected with the questions.]

Neighbourhood and Existing Conditions


Built Form

Building Elements

[End of excerpts from Long Branch Neighbourhood Walking Tour Workbook]


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Chapter 4: How to read a doctor’s office

I owe thanks to Graeme Decarie for prompting me to get started on the writing of my very own Autobiography Stories. I urge you to get started on your stories as well, if you have not yet done so.

When we think of reading, we think of reading a text or a screen.

I like to read doctors’ offices. I also like to read dentists’ offices. I’ve had less experience reading optometrists’ offices, but I have learned to read them as well.

These are among the topics for Chapter 4 of my Autobiography Stories. But I will first take a step back and consider insights that I have gained from working on the first three chapters of my Autobiographical Stories.

Chapter 1: Cartierville School in Montreal. It was at this school that I became proficient in a standard judo move that I enjoyed practising at recess time in the snow. It was good to have some snow on the ground when practising this move as otherwise somebody can get hurt.

Being able to order a cup of coffee without struggling to make myself understood is one of the great pleasures of my life. Jaan Pill photo

Being able to order a cup of coffee without struggling to make myself understood is one of the great pleasures of my life. Jaan Pill photo

Chapter 2: Learning fluency as a second language. As a child I stuttered severely. At times I could not get out any words at all. I now speak quite well. Being able to say what I want to say, without a struggle, is one of the great pleasures of life, in my experience. I often still marvel at the fact that I can ask for a cup of coffee at a Starbucks without having to stumble over every word.

Chapter 3: My parents fled as refugees. Like many people, the refugee experience is a key part of my life.

How to read a doctor’s office

I like to read persons and situations as much as I like to read books and screens. Sometimes I like to think of the punctuation and story structure that comes to mind with regard to a particular person, group of persons, or situation or situations that I encounter. I recall a book about East Germany – Wall Flower: A life on the German Border (2015)  – in which the writer of the book pictured all things, that she encountered in her life, in terms of music.

The author of Wall Flower (2015) would hear particular notes, or would imagine particular ways that music functions, every time she encountered a person or a situation. I can relate to her experience, except that instead of experiencing music, I experience punctuation and varied elements of how language functions.

Topics for Chapter 4: How to read a doctor’s office

My topics in Chapter 4 can be outlined as follows:

1. I read a doctor’s office. I move from one doctor’s office to another. Some time later, conditions arise that enable me, with the help of a couple of physicians, to determine the cause of irksome, hitherto perplexing physical symptoms that I’ve been trying to figure out since my late teens. The insights that arise as a result of the journey to a new medical clinic prompt me to begin work on the draft of Chapter 4 of my Autobiography Stories.

2. On an earlier occasion, I read a dentist’s office. I move from one dentist’s office to another. Instead of going to have my teeth cleaned every three months (in my purported, dentist-ascribed role as ‘plaque magnet’), I start to have them cleaned every four months, which is the standard length of time between cleanings. The insights that arise as a result of the change in dentists are an ongoing source of inspiration for me.

3. On another occasion, I read a series of optometrist offices. Recently I moved from one optometrist’s office to another. It was a good move, as were the moves as they relate to medical and dental practices.

The metaphor of the judo move

In the draft of Chapter 1, I describe my enjoyment of a judo move whereby one child sends another flying through the air, and a strategy whereby if a child attempts to ambush me from behind, I would crouch down and cause the child to trip over me. Both of these manoeuvres I would spend countless hours practising and perfecting at recess times on days when the snow was thick.

From these games I’ve developed principles or understandings of how things work in the world. In working on my draft of Chapter 4, as it relates to readings of workplace settings – such as a doctor’s clinic – I’ve been able to clarify a core principle associated with the judo move that I have described, the one where you flip a person over on their back. I don’t know what the move is called but all the kids I played with as a child in primary school knew it well.

In keeping with my practice of reading situations and picturing things in terms of storylines and punctuations, the judo move is – metaphorically speaking – a transformational procedure whereby a pivot point is established as a key punctuation point in any kind of ongoing narrative that you can imagine.

The pivot point changes the direction of a flow of energy, in such a way that the force of the opposing player is mobilized for one’s own benefit. The opponent ends up sprawled in the snow and the person working with the pivot point remains standing.

At a more abstract, metaphorical level, the pivot point can be likened to a twist or turn in a story, whereby a situation that had previously been read in one way is suddenly and instantaneously turned around so that now the story is read in some other, strongly divergent, way.

In the media realm, the pivot point occurs when a scandal emerges.

Judo like meditation is a technique with many variants; such techniques can be adopted by any of a wide range of belief systems, including religious and corporate ways of seeing, and ways of being in the world.

Important thing is to begin

When I come back to the draft of Chapter 4, I will add some flesh to the story. Each of my chapters will be about 10,000 words; with a previous local history article, I’ve begun to figure out through trial and error how to write such a chapter. The key thing is to get started. I owe thanks to Graeme Decarie for encouraging us to get started with our stories, whatever form the stories may take.


I like to think of the following story as an illustration of a principle that is associated with a  judo move, or more generally an illustration of how, metaphorically speaking, pivot points can work at critical moments in a person’s life.

A July 12, 2016 Guardian article is entitled: “Takeaway owner, confronted by armed robber, serves another customer instead: Said Ahmed tells how he ignored pistol-wielding masked man, continued making a large chicken souvlaki for someone else, then turned and walked away.”


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Tale of a Town comes to Mississauga between July 11 & July 30, 2016 – Message from Mississauga Culture

Click here to access the message from Mississauga Culture >

I’m really pleased that I was able to learn about this Storymobile visit through an email message today from Mississauga Culture. I subscribed a while back for such messages.

I am also really pleased that in recent months, I’ve learned of several events involving Lakeview and Port Credit, because I saw something on Twitter.

I find it remarkable that, had I not been on Twitter, or getting emails as a subscriber to Mississauga-related updates, I would have missed learning about such events.

I live in Toronto in Long Branch close to the Mississauga border; I like to follow what’s happening in Mississauga. Mississauga is so close yet so far. It’s so similar to Toronto yet so different.

Waterfront Trail connects Toronto and Mississauga along Lake Ontario

I also like to regularly ride a bike – engaging in a form of high-intensity interval training – to Port Credit in Mississauga and back from Long Branch along the Waterfront Trail.

In the interval training, I spend five minutes riding at a regular rate to get warmed up. I then go two minutes as fast as I can, followed by a couple of minutes at a regular pace. I repeat the fast-slow sequence three or four times, and for the rest of the time I just ride at a regular pace. I follow such an approach because research supports such a form of high intensity training.

When I ride as fast as I can, my legs say, “This much and no further.” Because it’s only for a couple of minutes, however, I soon recover from the exertion and am ready to go again.

I would not picture myself riding as fast as I can for 20 minutes or an hour, as in a race. I don’t think that would do me much good.

Tale of A Town

An excerpt from the above-noted Mississauga Culture message (I’ve omitted the links, as you can access them easily through the above-mentioned link, if you are interested) reads:

The City of Mississauga presents Tale of A Town, a site specific theatre and media project capturing the collective community memory of Canada’s Main Streets, one story at a time, while preserving local heritage and promoting neighbourhood culture.

Come and share your vision for the future and your memories of the past about Dundas Street. One of the oldest streets in Ontario and a main artery through Mississauga, Dundas street is full of stories and we want to hear yours!

Look out for the storymobile in Mississauga between July 11-30. Check here for specific dates and times.

Learn more:
Tale of a Town
Dundas Connects
Culture Planning

[End of excerpt]


I have addressed the Storymobile concept at a previous post:

At the above-noted post I have shared the following details about the Tale of A Town project:

Successful strength training depends upon following the evidence

An excerpt from the above-mentioned post reads:

Storymobile: On June 5, 2016 I heard on CBC Fresh Air a program devoted to a “Storymobile” concept in which two artists, a married couple, travel around Ontario in a roving studio. They have a van, where the recording of oral histories take place. The project is called “Town of a Tale.” Additional information and a link is available at the CBC Fresh Air website. The Storymobile will be in Oakville in June 2016 and Mississauga in July 2016. It will be at other locations across Ontario as well.

The locations, for the oral histories project, are based upon collaborations set up between community groups and the project organizers. The outcome of the project includes theatrical presentations, in the communities where the recordings are made. Part of the focus of the Storymobile visits is the concept of the Main Street (now and in the past) of a given community.

This is a great concept and I look forward to learning more about the project, which will include a focus on the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of Confederation.

[End of excerpt]

Additional comment

I am currently in the first week of an Intermediate Level strength training program based upon the Fifth Edition of a classic text about strength training by Anita Bean:

The Complete Guide to Strength Training (2015): An A-1 resource for evidence-based practice in strength training

In the current program, I’m following a series of workout routines that involves a bit more work but at a pace that ensures I do not engage in overtraining. On my rest days between workouts, I study the details for the exercises I will be doing on the next day. The following passage (p. 217) from Anita Bean’s book provides a great overview of my current exercises, which I much enjoy performing:

You’ll be training your body over three different workouts instead of two as you did in the final 6 weeks of the beginner’s programme. Workout 1 trains chest, upper back and abdominals. Workout 2 trains shoulders, biceps, triceps and abdominals, and workout 3 trains legs, abdominals and lower back. By splitting your body into three parts you can train with even greater intensity and include more volume.

[End of excerpt]


Without the above-noted text to guide me along with some other books and online resources where the correct form for specified exercises is also described, I would be just meandering along getting nowhere in particular.

After a given number of weeks (which I’ve written into my strength training schedule book), I’ll take a rest week where I work with much lighter weights and volumes, as part of a periodization program, which I’ve also discussed previously at this website.


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On July 12, 2016 Toronto City Council Agenda: Investigation Report Regarding Conduct of Ward 6 Councillor Mark Grimes

An Investigation Report Regarding Conduct of Councillor Mark Grimes is on the Agenda for the July 12, 2016 meeting of the City of Toronto Council.

You can access details here.

Below are two City of Toronto background files ( 4 pages and 44 pages, respectively) related to the Agenda item:

Integrity Commissioner Recommendation – backgroundfile-94814

Integrity Commissioner Investigation – backgroundfile-94815

July 7, 2016 CBC article

A July 7, 2016 CBC article is entitled: “Integrity Commissioner finds Coun. Mark Grimes had ‘improper’ relationship with developers: Investigation launched in wake of CBC News reports, and prompts warning to all councillors.”

July 7, 2016 Etobicoke Guardian article

A July 7, 2016 Etobicoke Guardian article is entitled: “Toronto’s Integrity Commissioner won’t proceed with disciplinary action against Etobicoke-Lakeshore councillor Mark Grimes: Grimes found to have violated council’s code of conduct on two occasions.”

July 11, 2016 Toronto Star article

A July 11, 2016 Toronto Star article is entitled: “City watchdog finds councillor had “improper” dealings with developers: Councillor breached rules when he appeared in promotional video, moved for fewer community benefits paid by developer.”

Feb. 25, 2013 Etobicoke Guardian article

An earlier post comes to mind:

Feb. 25, 2013 Etobicoke Guardian article: Council rejects Grimes’ Mimico development incentives

Waterfront condos in South Etobicoke (but not in Mississauga)

We can add that a broader topic is that unlike Toronto, Mississauga does not build tall condos along the waterfront. How it is that things have gone in slightly different directions is a topic that I guess is part of the respective local histories dating back many years, of Port Credit, Lakeview, and South Etobicoke. I’ve found it enjoyable to explore these issues at Jane’s Walks events in the past several years:

Anecdotes Shared by Fellow Walkers – May 5, 2014 post by Jaan Pill at Jane’s Walk website


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Ted de Clercq attended Cartierville School in Montreal from 1951 to 1956

Cartierville School, May 2015. Scott Munro photo

Cartierville School, May 2015. Scott Munro photo

Click here for previous posts about Cartierville School >

At a post entitled Cartierville School in Montreal, which was set up on March 1, 2014, Ted de Clercq has recently shared the following comment. I have posted his comment as a separate post, as a way to bring attention to it. Ted’s comment is the forty-third comment at the above-noted post:

I attended Cartierville School from 1951 to 56. I lived a couple of blocks away on Reed street. It was too close to eat lunch at school unless you had a note and I envied the friends came by bus and who ate lunch and could order soup and chocolate or white milk , to go with the lunch that they brought from home. We had no lunch room. I believe Friday was cream of tomato.

May 2015 photo of Church of Good Shepherd, across the street from Cartierville School. Scott Munro photo

May 2015 photo of Church of Good Shepherd, across the street from Cartierville School. Scott Munro photo

My father also went to Cartierville school in the 1920’s and had Mrs Finlayson as a teacher. This was before she was married. I seem to remember my dad saying she use to be Miss Snyder but I may be just guessing. The school had 4 classrooms then. It was expanded twice that I know of, once before I started grade 1 and again when I was in grade 4. Mrs Shields was my teacher for the first half that year. While the school was under construction the class was housed in the hall of the Church of the Good Shepard, across the street.The same hall that was used for cub scouts.

The grade 4 class was very large near 50 children. There was no central heating in the hall and as Bob Carswell mentioned, was heated with a pot bellied stove that was in the middle of the room. The stovepipe was split where it was fitted to the stove and you could see flames going up the stovepipe. I was unfortunate to have my desk next to it, It cooked me on my left side. When we moved back into the school in January the class was divided in two. I was unfortunate and not selected to be in Mrs Shields class. Mrs Rood was nice but there was no one like Mrs Shields.

I remember Miss Brownley who I though was very beautiful. I seem to remember she got married and was then Mrs Pearlman. She may have had a twin sister that taught at the school as well. I remember twins that taught the first couple of grades, I am a bit blurry on their names . I also had Mrs Shaefer, Mrs Hamilton and Mrs Staniforth.

Jim Carswell, Lesley Carswell, and Bob Carswell, about 1953. Source: Bob Carswell

Jim Carswell, Lesley Carswell, and Bob Carswell, about 1953, at Cartierville School annual carnival. Source: Bob Carswell

The front lawn was large and has a steep hill just in front of the school. It the summer the hill was a rock garden and we had the joy of planting bulbs in the fall and seeing them flower in the spring. It was a great place to slide in winter until I broke my nose from hitting the ice on one run. Mrs Finlayson then forbid all sliding from then on.

We were lucky to have Princess Elizabeth visit the school a year before she became queen. She planted a tree in the front lawn.

In the early 50’s we celebrated Mayday with a Maypole dance, rapping and un-rapping the Maypole with ribbon, Lucky were the kids who were chosen to dance weaving the ribbons. The back of the school was mostly paved and games of marbles or flicking bubble gum cards at the wall were played until rulings came down from the office that gambling or games of chance were forbidden. Buck-a-buck was also forbidden after some kids got injured.

After the second expansion we has an auditorium/gym. It was a room for Christmas plays, school meetings.Tests for TB were also done there. Scary stuff at the time, getting 6 scratches on your back, then waiting for the results.

I moved to Laval-sur-le-lac, when I was 12 and attended grade 7 in a school in Laval West. I did miss Cartierville a lot.

I lived in Montreal, after Concordia and UBC, until 1980 when I moved to Florida where I still live today. I have two sons. One in Canada and one in Tennessee. I am an artist/painter and still have a drawing of an antique car and driver that I did in Cartierville school when I was 8.

[End of text]


A couple of previous posts have focused upon the history of Cartierville School in the early 1970s, by which stage it had become a French Immersion school:

The French Immersion program Claire attended in 1970-71 may indeed have been at Cartierville School

Question from Claire: Is this the same Cartierville School that I attended 1970-71 in its first year as a “French Immersion School”? 


An Aug. 4, 2015 article is entitled: “TOP 15 DES PLUS BEAUX PARCS RIVERAINS À MONTRÉAL!”


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