Leaside Gardens Update

Dear Friends,

This is my first email update to our Leaside Arena users and friends since being appointed as chair of the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens Board of Management on January 1st, 2013. I would like to use this opportunity to thank our outgoing arena board chair, Brooke Biscoe, to give you a brief update on expansion and fundraising, to let you know about the 4th annual Laugh out Loud in Leaside event on Friday, February 22nd, and finally to provide an update on the pool closure.

A big “Thank-You!” to Brooke Biscoe

Brooke Biscoe served as chair of the arena board from January 1st 2010 until the end of 2012. It was during this time that the Arena Expansion Project went from the dream of the community to the concrete and steel reality that is now rapidly taking shape beside the original rink. Brooke has put in countless hours during this time meeting with municipal officials, potential donors, architects, contractors and community members in a determined pursuit of building the second rink. This is all in addition to his regular responsibilities as board chair related to the current arena, pool and banquet hall. On behalf of the arena board and, indeed, the entire Leaside Gardens community, I extend a sincere and heartfelt “thank-you” to Brooke for his dedication, hard work and leadership over the past three years. Brooke will now serve on the board as past chair and his experience and knowledge in matters related to the expansion project continue to be available to us.

An Update on the Second Rink and on Fundraising

Construction has moved forward quickly over the past few weeks and no-one driving by the arena can any longer doubt that the second rink will soon be a reality! The community fundraising goal of $3.5 Million is within reach as we recently passed the $3.1 Million mark. This means we have just under $400,000 still to raise between now and the summer to achieve our goal. It is not too late to donate! Donations in any amount will be gratefully received. And there remain a number of naming opportunities for those who may be considering a major gift. As you may know, when the expanded Leaside Gardens opens in the fall, the original rink will thereafter be known as the Bert F. Grant rink in recognition of the major legacy gift made by his three children in his honour. The second rink has not yet been named. If you would like to have this new rink named for your company or in honour of a family member, please contact me or a member of the fundraising committee.

Fourth Annual Laugh out Loud in Leaside – Fundraiser for the Second Rink

The Fourth Annual Laugh-out-Loud in Leaside comedy fundraiser, with all proceeds going toward the community fundraising goal of the Arena Expansion Project, will be held on Friday, February 22nd at 7:30 p.m. at Fantasy Farm (Pottery Road in the Don Valley between the Bayview Extension and Broadview Avenue). Each of the first three LOL in Leaside events has proven to be a great evening of good food, music and laughs, and each has also proven to be a successful fundraiser. Charlene Kalia of the arena board is again taking the lead in organising this event. Our thanks to Charlene and her volunteer team for their unfaltering dedication to the cause. A flyer with more details is attached. I hope you will join us on February 22nd.

Leaside Pool Closure Update

The repairs to the pool’s damaged ceiling has recently begun and the arena board has been informed by the City of Toronto that it will take approximately six weeks to complete. We estimate that the pool will reopen sometime in late March.

Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with your comments or questions regarding the programs and activities at Leaside Memorial Community Gardens. I may be reached through the arena at 416-421-4944 or by contacting me directly at raymond.white@sympatico.ca.

Best wishes for a successful 2013.

Ray White,
Chair of the Board of Management
Leaside Memorial Community Gardens.

Arena Expansion Update – 31 May 2012

To all friends of the Leaside Arena Expansion Project,

We are pleased to report that the City of Toronto yesterday approved the award of the contract for the Leaside Arena Expansion Project to Aquicon Construction Company Ltd. This was one of the final steps before construction can begin which we expect will be in July.

In the meantime we invite you to join us on Saturday, June 16th at 11 a.m. for the Official Ground Breaking Ceremony and Community Barbecue. The ceremony and barbecue will take place on the former Film Review Board property near the Curling Club and this area can be accessed either on foot from the arena parking lot or directly from Millwood Road — when driving towards the Leaside Bridge, enter at the driveway just before the railway underpass where some parking will be available.

We look on this day as a community celebration and everyone interested in the second rink at Leaside Gardens is invited to attend. We especially encourage you to bring your kids — the current and future members of the LHA, LSC and TLGHA who will benefit most directly from the new rink in the years to come. Hockey players are encouraged to wear a Leaside jersey.

For more information visit www.leasidearena.com or call 416-421-4944.

We hope to see you on Saturday, June 16th at 11 a.m.


Brooke Biscoe,
Arena Board Chair, and

Paul Mercer,
Arena Expansion Committee Chair.

Arena Expansion Update

Last night Toronto City Council approved the Leaside Arena Expansion Project as part of the 2012 city budget. The $12.5 million project includes a $7.5 million loan from the city and a $1.5 million loan from the province against future operating revenues, $1 million from the city in accelerated capital improvements, and $2.5 million raised by the local community.

As you know we undertook to have met this local fundraising target by the time city council voted on the budget. And I am pleased to say that we succeeded! Yesterday Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer and Fundraising Committee Chair Charlene Kalia confirmed that the $2.5 million cash-in-hand local fundraising target “to get a shovel in the ground” was achieved on Monday and that this information was formally passed on to city officials.

Meeting our community fundraising goal represents a huge achievement and I want to thank all those who have been a part of making it happen. To Paul and Charlene and the members of the fundraising committee who have worked so hard for the past eighteen months, to the families and volunteers associated with our three main user groups the LHA, LSC and TLGHA, and to all those local businesses, families and individuals who have contributed financially to this effort, I extend a big and heart-felt ‘Thank You!’ This is a community achievement and we couldn’t have done it without everyone working together. It doesn’t mean that our fundraising efforts are finished. We will still need to raise funds to finance aspects of the project that are not part of the tender and will provide more information on this later. In this regard, I encourage you to attend “Laugh out Loud in Leaside — Act Three“. This event has been a great success the past two years and promises to be another enjoyable evening of good food and drink, comedy and music, with great silent auction items. A flyer for the event is attached.

I would also like to thank Councillor John Parker for all his hard work behind the scenes in bringing the various city departments together when required and in guiding the project through the approvals process at City Hall. We can now focus on getting the project out to tender, awarding the contract and beginning the construction phase as quickly as possible.

So, while there is still a lot of work ahead of us, I want to again emphasize that yesterday represents a huge achievement on the part of the Leaside community and a major milestone in the long process of getting our second rink at Leaside Gardens. As Paul Mercer said, “January 17th is a day worth remembering! Congratulations to all board and committee members. And a big ‘thank you’ to the over 900 individuals and corporations that have made a financial contribution.”

Brooke Biscoe, Arena Board Chair

Leaside Memorial Community Gardens.

An update from Arena Board Chair Brooke Biscoe

As you may have heard or read, the Leaside Arena Expansion Proposal was approved by the Budget Committee of City Council last night and will go to the full Council for approval next week as part of the 2012 Budget.  The proposal specifies that $2.5 million of the cost of building the new rink will come from local community fundraising.  We are committed to meeting that target by the time Council considers the budget next week.  And we are very close.  With your help I am confident that we will achieve this important milestone.

If you have not yet made your tax-receiptable donation, please consider doing so today.  If you donated in 2011 and are in a position to increase your contribution now that we are in a new calendar year, your generosity today will help to get us across the goal line.  Cheques should be made out to “The East York Foundation” and may be dropped off at the arena — before Friday afternoon if at all possible.  You can also donate on-line through Canada Helps which is linked from the donate page on our website, here.

In addition, the 3rd Annual Laugh Out Loud Arena Fundraiser hosted by Charlene Kalia will be held on Friday, February 24th in the William Lea Room.  Once again, this promises to be an enjoyable evening of music and comedy, with great food by Grill Time and tremendous silent and live auction items.  Individual tickets are $75 (same price as last year) and you can also reserve your seating by purchasing a full table of ten for $750.  All proceeds go to the expansion project and payment made within the next week will help us to meet our $2.5 million local fundraising goal to “get a shovel in the ground.”  To purchase tickets or tables, or for more information, contact Charlene Kalia, charlene@charlenekalia.com.

Thank you for your continuing support!

Brooke Biscoe, Arena Board Chair
Leaside Memorial Community Gardens.

PS — attached, in the read more, is our fundraising thermometer showing where we were as of late December.  A number of additional donations and pledge-fulfillments have come in since that time.

Arena Expansion Project Update

We are now entering the critical phase of our fundraising drive.  We have so far raised $1.9 Million of the $2.5 Million community portion of the cost of building the new rink.  We need to raise another $600,000 in the next twelve weeks.  And we need your help to do it.  Here is information about three fundraising events coming up in June.  I hope you can join us for at least one of these activities.  This email closes with a message from Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer emphasizing the urgency of our task.

1.  Fundraising Mailing and follow-up Door-to-Door Canvass
Those of you living in Leaside and other neighbourhoods near the arena will recently have received a letter from expansion committee chair Paul Mercer encouraging area residents to make a financial contribution in support of the new arena.  To read this letter click here or to view the donor card click here.  On Saturday, June 11th between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. we will be conducting a door to door canvass of every home in the area to follow up on that letter with volunteers from the arena board, the LHA, the LSC and the TLGHA.  We are grateful for the ongoing support of our local elected representatives and are pleased that Councillor John Parker, MPP Kathleen Wynne and newly-elected MP John Carmichael are all committed to join us with a team of volunteers on June 11th.  We still need more people in order to reach every home in the community.  If you can help with this, please contact Allan Williams at allan@proximuscanada.com.

2.  John Creighton Memorial Event – Thursday, June 2nd
John Creighton was a lifelong Leasider and devoted hockey player, hockey parent, coach and LHA volunteer.  When John died suddenly in February, it was a natural decision that donations in his memory should go towards building the second rink at Leaside.  A memorial tribute this Thursday night at Originals on Bavyiew aims to raise $25,000 to name one of the dressing rooms in the existing rink in his memory.  Tickets are $75 per person and everyone is welcome.  See the flyer here.

3.  Family Barbecue – Thursday, June 9th
On Thursday, June 9th from 6 – 8 p.m. Rob Tremblett of Tremblett’s Valu-Mart is hosting a Family Barbecue at Canadian Self-Storage, immediately across the road from the arena.  Everyone is welcome and all proceeds will go towards the new arena.  Click here to view the flyer that has also been distributed throughout the neighbourhood.

4.   “There is an urgency here!”
The $9.5 Million Leaside Arena Expansion plan approved by the City of Toronto included our commitment to raise $2.5 Million of the total cost in the local community and from our user groups.  And we need to meet this goal by August before putting a shovel in the ground.  Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer recently emphasized the urgency of our task:

“Twelve years of hoping, dreaming, planning and hard work now gets reduced to the next twelve weeks.  Before the end of August we – the local community – need to identify $600,000 to make this second rink a reality.  If you or your child or grandchild have had a positive experience at LMCG skating or playing hockey please help extend that opportunity to others by making a donation now.  Sixty years ago the Community came together to build this arena for the enjoyment of all.  Today we need to build on that legacy and carry on the tradition.” – Paul Mercer, Expansion Committee Chair.

Finally, I can report that work with the architects and with city officials towards finalising the design of the project and securing a contractor with a goal of starting construction in late summer is going well.  I will provide an update on this aspect of the project another time.  My focus today is on fundraising and I ask again for your help in the weeks ahead to help get us across the goal line!

Brooke Biscoe,
Chair Leaside Memorial Community Gardens

Letter to the Leaside Community – May 2011

Dear Neighbour,

For the thousands of kids who have skated and played hockey here since 1951, Leaside Gardens is a cherished focal point in the landscape of their memory.

The Leaside Skating Club, Leaside Hockey Association, and Leaside Toronto Girls Hockey Association, whose programs together account for more than 95% of our prime-time ice time usage, have long realised that far more kids want to participate than can be accommodated on our existing single ice pad. Building a second rink at Leaside Gardens has been our vision since the 1990s.

Although slow to take off, the Arena Expansion Project has moved forward quickly in the past two years. In February Toronto City Council approved a proposal to build the second rink at an approximate cost of $9.5 million of which $7 million will come from a city-guaranteed loan, and $2.5 million must be raised by the local community and our partner associations.

Leaside Gardens was originally financed through the efforts of local organisations including all the home and school associations, church groups and service clubs who conducted a door-to-door canvass of every home in the area. It is only appropriate that the local community, which will benefit most directly from the second rink, again be asked to raise a portion of the cost of building it.

We have already raised more than $1.9 million of the $2.5 million community fundraising goal through the efforts of our partner associations, area businesses and individuals, and with a very generous donation from a local family wishing to remain anonymous. Now I am asking you, as a member of our community, to make a financial commitment towards making our shared vision of more ice time for more kids closer to home a reality. We need to reach our target before August 1st in order to stay on track for starting construction this fall and opening in time for September 2012.

Included is a project summary sheet as well as a reply card and return envelope with which you can make your contribution. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made to “East York Foundation (Leaside Arena Expansion Project).” For information on naming opportunities within the new rink, donor recognition plans, or to contact me or any other member of the Arena Expansion Committee directly with any questions or comments.

Thank you in advance for your support of this most worthwhile community project.

Paul Mercer, Chair
Leaside Arena Expansion Committee.

Leaside Arena Expansion Project – Background

Spring 2011

• Leaside Memorial Community Gardens (Leaside Gardens) was opened in 1951 by the Town of Leaside following a successful community fundraising campaign involving a dozen community organisations and with the leadership of the Leaside Rotary and Lions Clubs.

• For sixty years Leaside Gardens has been operated on behalf of the municipality by a volunteer Board of Management (arena board) made up of local community members. Leaside Gardens serves not just Leaside but also the surrounding neighbourhoods, including those in the former Borough of East York. The current arena board chair is Brooke Biscoe.

• 100% of “prime-time” ice (defined as Mon–Fri, 5 pm–11 pm; and Sat & Sun, 6 am–11 pm) is fully booked with 95% devoted to “youth non-competitive” use by one of our three long-term primary partner groups: the Leaside Skating Club (who have been with us since 1951); the Leaside Hockey Association (1952),
and the Toronto Leaside Girls Hockey Association (1974). LMCG has the highest ice usage rate, including non prime-time hours, of any municipal arena in Toronto.

• All three primary partner groups need much more ice time than can be accommodated at Leaside Gardens and have to rent a large portion of their ice requirements from other municipal and commercial rinks. In fact, for some select and competitive teams in these organisations, virtually none of their ice time is actually at their “home” arena.

• Recognising the strong demand for more ice, the arena board began discussions about building a second rink more than a decade ago. Planning began to accelerate in 2009 when the City of Toronto purchased the adjacent property (formerly home to the Ontario Film Review Board) on which the second pad will be built. In 2010 an anonymous donation from a local family eager to jump-start the process en abled the arena board to hire an architect and begin working with city officials on detailed design issues even before knowing with certainty whether city council would ultimately give its approval to the project.

• The expansion proposal approved by Toronto City Council on February 24th 2011 calls for building the second rink at an estimated cost of $9.5 Million of which $7 Million will come from a city-guaranteed loan to be repaid through future operating revenues, and $2.5 Million must be raised by the primary partner groups and the community. This will be the first new rink to be built by the city in more than thirty years.

• Between the original anonymous donation, the commitments of our three partner groups, and appeals by the fundraising team to local business and community leaders, the expansion committee has now raised over $1.9 million of the needed $2.5 representing the community portion of the cost.

• With the vision of “More ice time for more kids closer to home” the expansion committee and partner groups are currently engaged in an awareness-raising campaign to communicate what the new rink will mean for the young people of our local community. We also want financial contributions in order to help us reach our community fundraising goal before August 1st in order to stay on track for beginning construction in the late summer of 2011 and opening the new rink in September 2012.

• Information about the project and on the variety of ways in which individuals can make their contribution, may be found at www.leasidearena.com. One ‘pain-free’ way to contribute is through the “GiveGet” program where a portion of the cost every time you fill up your car with gas or make a purchase at selected local merchants goes to support the arena expansion project.

• You can follow the Leaside Arena Expansion Project on Facebook: www.facebook.com/leasiderink2 and on Twitter by searching for @leasiderinktwo.

Email Update – 11 January 2011

A Message from Brooke Biscoe,
Chair, Leaside Gardens Board of Management

The Leaside Gardens Board of Management is pleased to announce “Laugh Out Loud in Leaside” Act Two on Friday, January 28th at 7:30 pm.  All proceeds will be used to help the Arena Board promote the building of a second ice pad at Leaside Gardens.

Last year this event was a great success – a fun evening of comedy, food and friends for all who attended – and tickets sold out early.  This year promises to be just as enjoyable and in-demand.  So, in order to accommodate more people, it has been moved to larger venue at Eglinton and Leslie – the On-the-Park Events & Conference Centre.  Tickets are $75 each or a table of ten for $750.  The attached flyer contains all the information you will need to purchase tickets or a table.  Tickets can also be purchased online at http://leaside-arena-fundraiser-2011.eventbrite.com (fee applies).

Please forward this email and flyer to anyone else you know who might be interested.

We are grateful to Arena Board member Charlene Kalia for once again organising this event and to her team of volunteers for making it the success we know it will be.  I look forward to seeing you on the 28th.

Brooke Biscoe

Email Update – 29 November 2010

A Message from Brooke Biscoe,
Chair, Leaside Memorial Community Gardens Board of Management

29 November 2010

Public meeting tomorrow night

This is a reminder that the LMCG Arena Board and Expansion Committee will hold a public meeting tomorrow evening, Tuesday, November 30th at 7:00 p.m. in the William Lea Room at the arena.  The architects designing the project and city officials will also be in attendance.  All arena users and interested members of the community are invited to hear about the latest developments on the project, to view drawings of the proposed facility, and discuss anticipated next steps on fundraising, approvals and timelines.  A flyer with meeting details is attached.

Some recent news coverage

You may also be interested in this video clip of CityNews coverage of Hockey Day in Leaside on November 13th.  This event was an initiative of the Leaside Hockey Association to raise public awareness about efforts to build the second ice rink at Leaside Gardens.  I would like to thank the LHA for the continuing and dedicated support for our arena expansion plans.

Click here to watch the video in our gallery.

I hope to see you at the meeting tomorrow evening.

Brooke Biscoe.

Email Update – 1 November 2010

A message from Brooke Biscoe,
Chair, Leaside Gardens Board of Management

1 November 2010

Our goal of opening a second ice pad at Leaside Gardens moved one big step closer this past month as the City of Toronto named the architectural firm that will oversee the design phase of the project. My purpose with today’s email is to update you on the hiring of the architect, invite you to the upcoming public consultation meeting and advise you of several other items related to arena expansion.

Architects for arena expansion have been selected

As you know, it was the generous financial contribution from a community family wishing to remain anonymous that enabled your arena board to persuade the City of Toronto to move forward with tendering for an architect. Ten qualified bids were received and members of the expansion committee worked closely with city officials to review the bids. Last week it was made public that the firm of WGD Architects Inc. of Toronto has been awarded the contract. You can read more about the firm at their website www.wgdarchitects.com. The firm’s principals Richard Dabrus and Brian Gregersen have already met twice with the expansion committee’s project working group and we are pleased with the speed with which they have hit the ground and the anticipated timelines as we move forward.
Public Consultation Meeting November 30th

As a follow up to the initial information meeting on May 5th, the expansion committee will host a second public consultation meeting on Tuesday, November 30th in the William Lea Room at 7 p.m. at which the architects and city officials will be present. This will be a chance for our user groups and the local Leaside and East York community to learn about the process, make suggestions, raise concerns and, generally, to have input into the new facility within the parameters of location, design and cost that have already been set. We invite the leadership teams of the LSC, LHA and TLGHL to attend this meeting and urge you to pass the word to your members and parents. Our goal is to keep our key stakeholders fully informed and involved every step of the way in the days and months ahead.

Fundraising Campaign – Volunteer Required

We will provide more details about the upcoming fundraising capital campaign in the near future. In the meantime, we are searching for a candidate to fill a key volunteer role on the campaign. This person will act as a part-time administrator, arranging meetings, keeping track of commitments made and donations received, and generally working closely with the campaign cabinet and fundraising team throughout the duration of the campaign. It is our hope that a person with the necessary skills and enthusiasm to fill this role in a part-time, volunteer capacity may be found among the members and friends of our three main user groups. For further information or to express your interest, please contact expansion committee chair Paul Mercer at pmercer@mercermyers.ca.

Arena Board Vacancy

Finally, I want to advise you that there is currently one vacancy on the Leaside Memorial Community Gardens Board of Management. The arena board is currently accepting applications from interested community members to fill this vacancy. Please send your letter and/or résumé to my attention at the arena office 1073 Millwood Road TORONTO, Ontario M4G 1X6 or email me at leasidegardens@on.aibn.com. The deadline to submit your application is 5 p.m. on Thursday, November 18th. Interviews will be held the evening of Monday November 22, 2010.

Thank you for your time. And please do not hesitate to contact me at any time with your comments or suggestions.


Brooke Biscoe
Arena Board Chair.

Email Update – 1 September 2010

A message from Brooke Biscoe,
Chair, Leaside Gardens Board of Management

1 September 2010

I hope you have had a relaxing summer and are enjoying these last few days before Labour Day when the busy fall round of activities begins again for another year.

At Leaside Gardens the ice goes in this coming weekend and the arena will be open for business as of Tuesday, September 7th. As another season gets underway, I am writing to give you a brief update on several items related to our plans for arena expansion.

Hiring an Architect

First, as mentioned in my last update, a generous financial contribution from an anonymous donor eager to kick-start the expansion process has enabled us to tender for an architect. There was considerable interest among established and reputable firms and ten qualified bids were received. Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer and I have been part of the City of Toronto team reviewing the bids and we anticipate that the award of the contract to the winning architectural firm will be made in the next week or two.

The arena board has made a commitment that, once the firm begins its work, there will be an opportunity for public consultation. This will be a chance for our user groups and the local Leaside community to learn about the process, make suggestions, raise concerns and, generally, to have input into the new facility within the parameters of location, design and cost that have already been set. As soon as the details of such consultation are arranged we will share them with you.

User Group Survey

Second, I would like to thank the members of the LHA, TLGHA and LPOA who took the time to participate in our on-line survey earlier this summer. Some highlights of the survey results include:

· over 60% of respondents see the William Lea Room as an important resource in our community;

· 86% believe the ice conditions at Leaside Gardens are good to excellent, with the pool, arena and William Lea Room receiving high marks overall for cleanliness and appearance;

· 87% believe Leaside Gardens has a positive image in the community; and

· nearly 40% of respondent families also make use of public skating hours in addition to their participation in figure skating and/or hockey programs.

The survey results will help guide our efforts as we move forward with expansion and fundraising plans. A more detailed report will be posted on our new arena expansion website to be launched after Labour Day.

How you can help

Finally, it is no secret that we will be launching an arena expansion fundraising capital campaign in the not-too-distant future. You can help us as we prepare for this major initiative in two main ways:

· If you or someone you know might consider becoming a major donor to the campaign, please contact Expansion Committee Chair Paul Mercer at pmercer@mercermyers.ca to discuss. We are eager to open dialogue with such persons as early as possible.

· If you know of anyone who would be interested in receiving these email updates and is not currently on our distribution list, please forward their name and email address to Community Relations Committee Chair Allan Williams at allan@proximuscanada.com. The more people who are aware of the activities at Leaside Gardens and our expansion plans the better.

Thank you for your time. And I look forward to seeing you soon as another season begins at Leaside Gardens


Brooke Biscoe
Arena Board Chair.