Laneway honours grocers’ 80 years in Leaside
Thanks to the efforts of a local resident, a nameless Leaside laneway will soon be known as “Badali Family Lane,” in honour of the Bayview Avenue grocers who have been serving their community since 1938.
Joan Stephens, who lives in a condo abutting the Bayview and Eglinton Avenue East area lane, first thought of naming the roadway for practical reasons.
“A few years ago an emergency vehicle couldn’t find the laneway because it was not named,” Stephens said. After consulting the community about possible monikers, Stephens selected “Badali Family” as an homage to the merchants she said are an immigrant success story.
Gus Badali came to Canada from Sicily in 1896 and sold produce from a horse-drawn buggy. His sons, Leo and Sam, opened Badali’s Fruit Market at 1587 Bayview Ave. in 1938, where it remains to this day, under the management of co-owners Dom, Sal and Steven Badali.
The Badalis are thrilled that the lane will give them a permanent presence in the neighbourhood where they have lived and worked for generations.
“I was shocked when Joan approached us in the shop,” said Steven. “It’s almost unbelievable to think that someone who is not a Badali is going out of their way to recognize us.”
Stephens contacted councillor Josh Matlow’s office to pursue the application process. The Toronto and East York Community Council approved it on Sept. 6, and a dedication ceremony is planned for the spring.
“I know the Badalis and their store well,” Matlow said. “I like the idea of acknowledging people who have been part of the fabric and character of the community for so long.” — Judith Muster