Leslieville began as a small village back in the 1850’s. The village grew up around the Toronto Nurseries owned by George Leslie and sons, after whom this neighbourhood is named.
Most of Leslieville’s residents were either market gardeners or were employed at one of several brick making companies that used to operate in the area.
One of the first buildings in the village was the Leslieville Public School, built in 1863. Leslieville’s first principal was Alexander Muir who composed “The Maple Leaf Forever”.
Muir’s poetic verse was inspired when a brilliant autumn maple leaf fell from a Leslieville tree onto his jacket.
That maple tree is still standing today and has become Leslieville’s most famous landmark. It is designated by an historic plaque at the intersection of Laing Street and Memory Lane.
The green and white Leslieville street signs that run along Queen Street were installed in 1987. These historic markers are symbolic of a renewed interest and pride in Leslieville among the residents of this quiet east end neighbourhood.
Leslieville, still feels very much like a small village. It’s cozy houses, quaint stores, and tree lined streets, seem surprisingly serene and peaceful considering Leslieville’s close proximity to downtown Toronto.
Source: Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods copyright Maple Tree Publishing Inc.
Leslieville is also home to some terrific restaurants & shops such as Joy Bistro, The Red Rocket Cafe, Tomi-Kro, East End Garden Centre and Altitude Bakery to name a few.
Leslieville has recently been seeing an immense amount of gentrification with homes being renovated and restored and as a result has experienced a significant real estate boom in the last 5 years (2008). The architectural design of homes with their large front porches make getting to know your neighbours easy and help create a strong sense of community along it’s tree-lined streets. Leslieville’s well utilized parks such as Greenwood and Leslie Grove Park also act as meeting space for residents.
Leslieville’s close proximity to downtown and recreational areas such as the Leslie Street Spit, The Lakeshore Bike Paths and Cherry Beach make it an attractive place to reside for active, affluent professionals who work in Central Toronto. Leslieville is also home to many young families, gay and lesbian persons.