Situated between The Beach and South Riverdale Leslieville has become a remarkably popular place, with both hipsters who embrace the artistic sensibilities and younger families who desire close proximity to downtown, just 10 minutes away by both car and TTC.
Leslieville started as a tiny village back in the 1850s, and was developed around Toronto nurseries that were owned by George Leslie and Sons, who provided the namesake. The majority of the residents in Leslieville were gardeners, with some finding employment in one of the brick-making factories in the area. Alexander Muir, who composed The Maple Leaf Forever, served as the first principal of Leslieville Public School, itself one of the initial buildings in the area. The poetic compositions of Muir were inspired by his visions of a dazzling autumn maple leaf, which dropped from a tree in Leslieville right into his jacket.
Leslieville to this day still feels as if it is a small village. The comfortable houses, quaint stores and tree-lined streets are surprisingly tranquil and peaceful considering the close proximity of downtown Toronto. The older houses in Leslieville that stretch South from Queen Street East date back to the late 1800’s, and comprise cottages, Second Empire Line houses and Victorians. The second generation houses in Leslieville located north of Queen Street tend to date back to the early 1900’s, and are made up of relatively modest detached and semi-detached houses as well as some bungalows, a number of which are amongst the smallest houses in Toronto. Once inexpensive, Leslieville sale prices have experienced a dramatic increase over the past 5 – 7 years, with some of the city’s fiercest bidding wars playing out here.
Leslieville also boasts a thriving market for condos, many of which are located on Carlaw Ave between Queen St and Dundas St. There you will find the super funky I Zone Lofts – a Live / Work space that is home to many of the city’s finest artists.
Leslieville boasts a staggering array of trendy shops, boutiques, restaurants and pubs along historic Queen Street East. Lady Marmalade is a brunch favourite, but good luck with that line. On Gerrard Street East between Greenwood and Coxwell lies the burgeoning “Little India”. Here you find brilliant sari shops, Indian restaurants, Lazy Daisy Coffee as well as vendors roasting corn along the sidewalk.
Leslieville has an excellent public transportation system that operates routes for buses or streetcars on every major street, with the majority of the bus routes connecting with stations that are located on the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Motorists are in the enviable position of reaching downtown in just a few minutes with uncomplicated access to Lake Shore Boulevard, the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway.
Don’t miss nearby Greenwood Park – comprised of three baseball diamonds, a pool, playground, off leash dog park and two outdoor skating rinks. It’s a perfect picnic spot. There is also Jonathan Ashbridge Park located south of Queen Street, with 2 tennis courts, a wading pool and a children’s playing field. The S.H Armstrong Community Recreation Center located on Woodfield Road features a gymnasium, fitness room, craft room, indoor pool, as well as meeting rooms. And the Gerrard/Ashdale Public Library offers various programs for children, adults and seniors.