Leslieville Lives; Stories from the ‘Ville – Dean Seguin
Meet Dean. We first met when he launched his website GoodHood back in 2015. I remember asking him if I could link my photo project to the site or something similar. I never did do that, but I loved the site and stayed connected to it – and him – and saw the site grow as a source of interest/information about Leslieville. We finally met months later at Brickyard Grounds (now Bistro) one afternoon after he approached me about doing a story at the end of my ‘A Day in the Life of Leslieville’ project for the site. I was honoured and found him to be a gracious guy with an easy personality.
Dean hails from the west coast – North Vancouver and Coquitlam to be exact. He’s the middle of four (2 older brothers, 1 younger sister). An active outdoorsy family, they spent a lot of time skiing, camping and hiking. When Dean was 10, his dad lost his job as an engineer in Vancouver and they moved cross country to St. John, New Brunswick for a few years, then northward to the small town of Hay River in the NWT, on the south shore of Great Slave lake. At 13, Dean was thrust into a new life of small town strangers. His father, who worked for the NWT Power Corp, spent a lot of his time flying all over the Arctic, and to Inuit communities, so Dean gravitated to hockey/sports/travel during his time there and reminisces fondly about what he experienced then. “The NWT was amazing. It’s not uncommon to see herds of wild buffalo, packs of wolves (snowmobiling), bears and moose. I appreciate it more now”, he laughs.
He left the Territories after high school to study journalism at Mt. Royal University in Calgary, working part-time at Westjet’s call centre in a PR role. “I was extremely lucky. I travelled to all the provinces (bar PEI) and some international destinations; Europe, Australia, the Caribbean and Central America. I did a lot of skiing/boarding and backpacking as well. I love the simpler, outdoor life.”
After finishing his degree, Dean worked as a journalist for independents/weeklies such as NOW, Calgary Herald, Photographer Magazine etc. Ironically, while based in Calgary, in his element ie; lakes and mountains, Dean was offered a job in ‘flatland’ – Toronto. Within 3 weeks, he was on a plane eastward. He started working for SBC Media, whose magazines include Snowboard Canada, SBC Skateboard, SBC Wakeboard and SBC Resort Guide.
“I didn’t know anyone in Toronto, but I was shocked to discover I loved the city!” he laughs. He lived all over Toronto, ending up in Leslieville. He met his partner, Lauren, in 2006, who was working at K2 then. They’ve since married and have 2 kids together. Lauren moved on from K2 to become Marketing Director at Contiki Travel Canada. In fact, the night I was interviewing Dean, she came home with the ‘MVP Award’!
Dean worked with SBC until 2011 (the ‘glory days’ he called them) during which time he got a contract with NBC covering snowboarding at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. “Talk about timing! I loved the job at SBC, but needed a new challenge. I felt the digital component of the business was lacking and applied to Microsoft (MSN). So, getting this Olympics gig was a highlight of my LIFE! I was doing athlete features, live blogging about snowboarding, play by play on the Internet and commentary to online users. ” For any snowboard fans out there, Dean was hobnobbing with Tony Hawk, Shaun White, Brad Martin, Mercedes Nicoll, Sarah Conrad & Dominique Maltais.
Shortly after the 2010 Olympics, Dean moved on to MSN, first as Auto Editor working his way into the sport/travel arenas. “We were living in the west end then, but would come east quite often. We loved Leslieville. It felt like a small town in the city. In 2009 they bought a house here and again, Dean was feeling the need for a challenge. “After 5.5 years, I started to feel a bit like a cog in the wheel at MSN. My creative juices weren’t really flowing. That’s when the idea for GoodHood was born. It began with me emailing friends about a great place we ate at or a festival that was happening in the area and it expanded to so many people I decided to start working on a website. At the time, Facebook seemed to lack media/information about the east end. It was pretty grass roots then. I felt really passionate about Leslieville and wanted to get the word out about what was going on, places to go, things to see.”
GoodHood was officially launched in Spring 2015. I’m sure many of you are members or know of it. It’s slick and modern and a great site for information going on in the neighbourhood. As well as that, Dean has profiled many of the shop owners on the strip and has a ‘Best of’ section. He shares many of his posts to the I Am A Leslievillian FB page, and also has a FB page (GoodHood).
In early 2017, Dean left MSN to work with Travel Zoo. “It’s a ‘best deal’ kind of business. If you subscribe, you’ll be emailed, for example, the top 20 list of travel deals. We really need to be on top of what’s happening out there in the travel world, so it’s constantly stimulating. I love that”.
“I guess with 2 littlies now, you’re being challenged on a daily basis!” He laughs. “Oh yeah. These guys were a game changer”. Sloane, their daughter, now 3 and Cole, 2, keep ’em busy.
The quintessential new Leslievillians, Dean, Lauren and their kids are fast becoming the face of Leslieville. While they seemed to have lived/live charmed lives, their outlook on the future – of both the neighbourhood and their family – is conscientious. Both Dean and Lauren work full-time (the kids go to All About Kids), keep on top of happenings in the neighbourhood (for themselves and the website), live a socially conscious lifestyle, enjoy and contribute to the businesses in our ‘small town’. Dean laments some of the recent changes. “We can’t deny the expansion and popularity of this area, but hope to see more people keeping the smaller businesses buoyant, even if the odd big corp business moves in. I don’t think it’s going to accelerate ‘too’ much over the next few years. The problem is the cost of housing now and the rents that are being asked will see some of this ‘small town’ feel of Leslieville change. But the only thing we can be sure of in life, good or bad, is change.”
To learn more about Dean’s website, visit www.goodhood.ca and the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/agoodhood/
Older photos supplied by Dean Seguin