Lights, camera, Leaside

The 19th-century Thomas G. Elgie house on Bessborough Drive is one of the very oldest homes in Leaside. (Photo by Alissa Heidman)
The 19th-century Thomas G. Elgie house on Bessborough Drive is one of the very oldest homes in Leaside. (Photo by Alissa Heidman) (Thomas G. Elgie House)

Anthony Regan and Barry Samuel step into the Leaside Library with their filming equipment and ideas. The love they share for their community has inspired them to produce a documentary titled 100 Years Inside Leaside.

The documentary is aimed at chronicling the last century in Leaside through interviews with influential, longtime residents. 100 Years Inside Leaside will be woven around the life of Walter David Newel, a man who paid the ultimate price for Canada’s freedom. He was killed during a training run in the Second World War. He was born and raised in Leaside, and there are memorials of him throughout the community.

Regan says this was not their initial plan, but he and Samuel found their story through Newel.

“We thought it would maybe be of interest to people in the business community, or to even show people what’s around the community and it grew and grew and grew,” Regan said.

Bill Pashby, a Toronto lawyer, is a well-known, third-generation Leaside resident. He chose to stay in the community to raise his family.

“One of the most interesting things is that my two granddaughters live in the house I grew up in,” Pashby said.

Pashby has many neighbours in their 50s that grew up in the houses they currently live in. According to Regan, this seems to be a trend.

“More and more it’s happening in Leaside. People want to stay inside the community and (so) they give their home to their children,” Regan said.

Pashby recalls going tobogganing at High Park as a child. It is the same hill where he took his children and now his granddaughters.

“Some of my best memories are in Leaside,” he said. “I think there’s been a lot of changes but not any more than any other place.”

Regan and Samuel have released a sneak peak of their production. With growing interest in the project and more interviews to conduct, they don’t have an exact release date yet. In the meantime, the historical community of Leaside excitedly awaits its debut.