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Leslieville is situated just east of the Don River in Toronto’s east end. The neighbourhood, which began as a small village back in the 1850s, has since blossomed into a vibrant community of cozy houses, quaint shops and tree-lined avenues. Despite its close proximity to the city's downtown core, Leslieville maintains a dreamy, small town vibe that attracts families, retirees and local tourists looking to escape the bustle of Toronto life without losing any of its amenities.
Some of the oldest houses in the neighbourhood, on Queen Street and Eastern Avenue, have been standing since Leslieville’s birth and include cottages, Victorian houses and Second Empire row homes. These vintage adobes now stand side by side with a second generation of houses, built in the early 1900s, including expansive townhouses, towering condominiums and tiny bungalows that stand among the smallest (and most charming) in the city.
Leslieville is currently a prime investment hotspot, hosting charming starter homes, affordable condos and mixed-use properties.
Who lives in Leslieville?
Leslieville has a distinct family feel, especially when juxtaposed to the rapid life of downtown. The neighbourhood has been welcoming young professionals and creative types more recently; those who seek a more laid back way of life in the evenings and weekends. The growing interest in the area has made Leslieville a great spot for home-buyers, both investors and residents.
The following data was obtained from the 2016 South Riverdale neighbourhood census profile, and the City of Toronto Ward 30 profile. Average prices are determined by the realestatecondos.ca listings.
Population growth: 8.7%
Rent/Own: 49% / 51%
Median Age: 35
Average household income: 75,333
Average condo sale price: $1,035,141.94
Average condo rent price: $2,858.42
Average family size: 3
Population density: 3,136 people per square km
Leslieville is a walker's paradise, with a terrific Walk Score of 90/100. The area is well serviced by local businesses, that include trendy shops, specialty grocers and some of the coolest restaurants in the city.
The neighbourhood scores an 86 Transit Score, relying on the 501 and 510 streetcars, which run along Queen Street, plus bus routes on Carlaw, Greenwood, Coxwell, Eastern Avenue and Gerrard Street, that connect it with the city at large.
Drivers will mostly use links to Lakeshore Boulevard, the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway, when journeying to other ends of the city or leaving it altogether.
Leslieville’s main shopping district is on Queen Street East, which hosts a collection of unique, independently owned shops. From speciality grocers to handmade clothing, Leslieville residents enjoy wares found nowhere else.
The India Bazaar, the commercial epicentre of Toronto's East Indian Community, which offers silk fabrics and mouth-watering street food, is but one example of Leslieville's fantastic and unique character.
For boutique fashion and original artwork, venture to Carlaw Street and check out KA Boutique. This space is so much more than a fashion outlet; it’s a creative experience. The clothing line features a monochrome offering of women’s wear, all made from organic and ethically sourced fabrics from Canada and Italy. Stock, however, is very limited, with just 50 items per sale.
For a more casual offering, try Good Neighbour, which sells men and women’s fashion from popular brands including Herschel and Mackage. The store also sells art prints, quirky home goods, and bath products.
The area also has excellent grocery offerings. South of Queen you'll find a Loblaws to stock up on all of the essentials. For those who prefer to shop locally, there are plenty of smaller, independent grocers dotted throughout the area, including Fruitful Market. This mostly organic shop and kitchen stocks daily essentials, including fruit and vegetables retrieved directly from Ontario farmers, as well as in-house grab-and-go food items.
Well-known restaurants and cafes
Leslieville boasts a famed restaurant scene, which includes an epic collection of eateries that run the gamut from breakfast to late-night snacks.
Two of its most popular brunch spots include Lady Marmalade and Bonjour Brioche, both serving up a unique take on the trendy meal, and it's not uncommon to spot the line-up before you even see the restaurant itself.
For a deliciously unique experience, pizza lovers from across The Six are flocking to Descendant, Toronto's first kitchen to serve up Detroit style pizza. Though Detroit in style, the menu takes inspiration from a broader area, with pies flavoured by Italian, Carribean and Indian influence.
Another local favourite is Barrio, a Mexican spot with a patio that transports you from Canada to Playa del Carmen. There’s seating for over 100 diners, plus a menu that ranges from Mexican street corn and watermelon ensalada, to flavourful twists on much-loved tacos and burritos. Of course, there is also a tequila-heavy cocktail menu that enthusiasts should not miss.
Inspired by a culturally and demographically diverse group of locals, Leslieville is home to all kinds of recreational outlets. From education to exercise, your free time is covered. Bookworms will enjoy the Gerrard Ashdale public library, which longside an extensive collection of literature, also hosts a number of programs for all age groups. The S.H. Armstrong Community Recreation Centre on Woodfield Road lets residents make use of its gymnasium, indoor pool, fitness room, craft room and meeting rooms.
For a more specialized fitness experience, try The Circus Fix, an open gym that delivers training in aerial silks, traps and acrobatics. They offer classes for all levels and age groups, and also do summer camps. Or, try One Academy, a 10,000 sq. ft. training playground that hosts 10 different classes on a weekly schedule, including Rise, Sprint, Lower Body and Abs.
One unique community hub, which offers retail options alongside recreational activities, is Surf the Greats. This radical community and hangout space is dedicated to educating Ontarians on the surf culture that is (unknowingly) right on their doorstep in the form of the Great Lakes! Whether you want to try your hand at riding the waves, taking part in a surf class, or stocking up on some hip beachwear, Surf the Greats is a cool collective that should not be missed.
Leslieville is also adjacent to Toronto's Little India, which supplies the locals with some of the most delicious curries and tandori foods in Toronto, to go along with a swathe of shops and stores that harkern back to the old country.
If all that isn’t enough, Leslieville is within walking distance to the quaint Distillery District, as well as Cabbagetown’s urban farm, Riverdale.
Schools in Leslieville
Because Leslieville has become an increasingly popular spot for growing families, the area is well equipped with schools. Some of the schools in the area include:
- Bruce Public School
- Leslieville Junior Public School
- Equinox Holistic School
- Duke Of Connaught Public School
- St. Joseph Catholic School
- Morse Street Public School
University and college students can use the Queen streetcar to head west and land at a variety of campuses located in the city centre.
Parks in Leslieville
Leslieville is blessed with a number of gorgeous green spaces, which complement its urban landscape with a stroke of natural splendour.
Nearby parks include Leslie Grove Park, Hideaway Park and Greenwood Park. You can find three baseball diamonds, an artificial ice rink in the winter, a swimming pool for the summer, and a playground year-round at Greenwood Park. Leslie Grove park on Queen Street East has a ball diamond, wading pool and children’s playground. Youth programs are also offered on Friday evenings at the Leslie Grove Shack.
Dog walkers should head to Hideaway Park, which has a great off-leash dog area, plus a small wading pool and children’s playground.