The Neighbours of Lawrence Park North Magazine featured Sherille and her family in their most recent issue. Read the article below or download the magazine here.
By Heather Rosen
Sherille and Ed Layton, who emigrated together from London, England, have found a new home and sense of community in the Wanless Park area of Lawrence Park North. It is where they have lived with their eight-year-old daughter, Lily, for the past four years after first living in Leslieville and then in midtown Toronto. They are passionate about the city and the neighbourhood, and while they frequently return to the UK to visit family, they are always happy to come home to their adopted city.
They first met in their early-to-mid-twenties when both were employed on the same floor at Westminster City Hall in London. While they came from different backgrounds – Ed was English, from Surrey, and Sherille was born to Sri Lankan immigrants who settled in London – they soon found common ground and chose to spend their lives together. Ed quickly moved into print media, and spent a few years working at several London radio stations, including Kiss FM and TalkSport.
Sherille had trained at the highly acclaimed Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, where she specialized in ballet, modern jazz and tap dancing. A few months after meeting Ed, Sherille began to move into a career as a merchandise buyer, which required frequent travel to Hong Kong and mainland China.
Eventually, Sherille and Ed were looking for a change from London, which was becoming expensive. They applied to immigrate to Canada, and were surprised at how quickly their paperwork was approved. They packed up everything and settled in Toronto in 2001 before their wedding. The following year, they returned to London to get married, and honeymooned in Malaysia.
They needed to establish themselves professionally in their new city. After a positive experience with the real estate agent who sold them their home in Leslieville, Sherille became interested in pursuing a real estate career herself. In 2003 she began working for Bosley Real Estate Ltd. in Toronto, then moved on to Sotheby’s International Realty Canada, where she is celebrating four successful years as part of the Torontoism team.
Sherille likes that the Sotheby’s brand has a 273-year history and a strong, prestigious brand identity; the luxury real estate arm was founded more recently, in 1976. The company has offices in some 40 countries worldwide, and offers its clientele a level of professionalism that she feels is unmatched in the industry. Another reason she was drawn to the international focus of Sotheby’s is her early work experience: she says that her roughly 10 years of overseas buying experience helped her transition to a solid career selling real estate, often in connection with international clients.
Ed started at the Canadian offices of Twitter during its early years, and now works as Director of Sales for Juice Mobile, a company that provides technical and creative mobile solutions designed to help advertisers and publishers maximize their advertising dollars.
As a busy family, they enjoy their down time. They like to travel together, and have become very familiar with the “Canadian need” to travel south in order to escape winter, most notably to the Caribbean, and also to Florida. For them, summer means taking time to experience the wonders of Europe or Asia, but more often, it’s a chance to reconnect with family in England.
It’s difficult living far from my family. I’ve gone back for three or five days at a time, and it’s never long enough.
Sherille also makes an effort to visit her best friend from childhood whenever she returns to London, and says, “It’s like we haven’t been apart at all.” They keep in touch regularly via Skype and other technologies.
One of Sherille’s favourite trips was taking Lily (then 18 months old) to Sri Lanka to show her the wildlife and the tropical landscape. She enjoyed seeing Lily’s reaction to viewing elephants and monkeys up close. The Laytons are planning a trip to France this summer, and will visit with family along the way. Someday, she hopes to travel to New Zealand, South America and back to Sri Lanka.
Although the family loves travelling, their lives are deeply connected to Lawrence Park North, a community that offers them so much. They love the Yonge-Lawrence strip of shops and restaurants, and prefer to support local businesses first and foremost.
That sense of community is very important to the Layton family. As a small family unit with roots overseas – Sherille calls her family “The Three Musketeers” – they believe that they have found a perfect fit for them in Wanless Park. Sherille says:
This is such a special neighbourhood and a great community. A lot of people know each other. We bump into neighbours all the time and stop to chat. It’s a very nurturing and inclusive community.
Sherille is proud to help out in the community; she recently became a board member of the Bedford Wanless Ratepayers Assocation. In addition, she recently helped organize and support the Second Annual Wanless Park Spring Fair, including procuring donations from local businesses for the silent auction. Sherille says: “It’s always a great atmosphere when this community comes together, and the effort was huge this year.” Sherille also donates to CAMH, to help people in the community struggling with mental health and addiction issues.
Daughter Lily is another source of joy for Sherille and Ed. She is, as Sherille describes her, “eight going on eighteen.” With a great zest for life, Lily’s passions include singing (she takes singing lessons), spending time with friends, and making people laugh. Sherille says:
We’re tremendously proud of her. There isn’t a day that goes by when there isn’t a knock at the door and it’s a friend of hers looking to play. That’s yet another reason we love our location and community.
Their family unit also includes a beloved pet. Due to Ed’s pet allergies, the family chose a hypoallergenic breed, a Siberian cat named Sasha, who has been with them since 2014. Sherille says this breed of cat is very friendly and sociable, almost like a dog. Some neighbours tell her that he has been hanging out with them, but he is very loyal and always returns to his home and loving family.
Ed, Sherille and Lily delight in spending time together, including attending various multicultural food festivals around town. As a family, they are also active, and enjoy skiing, running and cycling. Since they live close to a park, they walk or run along the trails, with Lily often biking alongside her parents. At home they like to watch movies, listen to music and play Scrabble. An accomplished cook, Ed often treats his family to a delicious home-cooked dinner, but they also enjoy dining at fine restaurants together.
Although they have lived in Toronto for well over a decade, their British roots still show through their mutual love of English football. Each favours a different team: Ed is a fan of Aston Villa football club, while Sherille cheers for the Tottenham Hotspur team.Life in Wanless Park has brought the Laytons much happiness. Sherille says, “If we had a family motto, it would be ‘work, play, laugh and love in equal measure.’”