In the 1830s workers paved Queen Street with planks. It became a toll road. Stage coaches and travelers had to stop at a toll booth where the Duke of York is now. Like service centres on today’s expressways, entrepreneurs came to serve travelers who needed to water and feed their horses in stables and replace lost horse shoes in blacksmith shops.
Wayfarers also rested, fed and watered themselves. By 1852, the village boasted three hotels, a blacksmith shop, and several general stores. When George Leslie, owner of Canada’s largest tree nursery, took over the Post Office and general store, Leslieville was born.
As Toronto’s population exploded in the 1850s, farmers subdivided their fields into small lots. Here, market gardeners grew fruit and vegetables to feed the city. Meanwhile others found clay deposits and turned out bricks to build Toronto.
Drovers herded cattle, sheep and hogs along the road from the surrounding countryside. After they reached the tollgate, they turned their weary, hungry animals loose on the grass along Ashbridges Bay to fatten and Leslieville’s butchers supplied steaks, chops, sausages, bacon, etc. to feed “Hogtown”.
Abattoirs, nurseries, and brickyards became Leslieville’s major employers. Others cut ice and fished on Ashbridge’s Bay. Small shops provided necessities from sewing needles to shoes.
Soon professionals such as doctors and pharmacists came to care for the body and clergymen to care for the soul. And so Leslieville grew until in 1884 it became part of the City of Toronto and large industries began to locate in “the East End.”
Tap the images to read our history.
The Board meets monthly. All are welcome to attend and observe. Check in here to see the minutes.
As resident of East Toronto since 1990, I became a Leslieville resident/landlord, and business owner in 2008. During the ongoing renovations to my property at 1256/58 Queen St E. I had the pleasure of meeting many of the business owners of Leslieville, many of whom I now count among my friends and acquaintances. I believe that being able to walk to your favourite restaurants, galleries, pubs, shops, etc. is truly a privilege and to that end I couldn’t have chosen a better place to live. In addition to my business interests in Leslieville I have owned/operated a construction company based in south Etobicoke for nearly 20yrs. Prior to that business I worked in the design/ development sector for many years and hope that my experiences, expertise, and love of Leslieville can in some small way have a positive impact on our community through the BIA.
I have worked for Sustainable in Leslieville for a decade, and through this time I have seen a lot of change in the neighbourhood and a lot of improvement. I work with many homeowners in the area to upgrade their homes, add space for their families, and lower their carbon footprint through sustainable architectural design. Through these projects I have met a lot of people on a lot of streets, which has helped to increase my love for Leslieville. Working in Leslieville has allowed me to visit so many of the businesses on Queen Street - primarily restaurants for lunch. Through my work in architecture I aim to improve our environments through sustainable design, and through my work with the Leslieville BIA I aim to help improve our business environments by fostering an active community, engaging with neighbours, and creating special projects for everyone's benefit.
Hello! I first got a taste of Leslieville as a resident on Caroline ave in 2003. Wherever I go, whatever I do I’m always spreading the Leslieville love and when it came time for me to open my own Real Estate Brokerage (Spring Realty) I immediately knew it had to be in my home town of Leslieville. We have a highly engaged community of residents and an equally engaged group of business owners that I am proud to be a part of. As entrepreneurs, we’re forced to excel at everything! What I’ve enjoyed learning, teaching, and mastering the most are my marketing and social media skills. This is what I bring to the table as Board Member and Chair of the Marketing Committee. My many connections in the East end business community have proven to be an asset and I will continue to leverage these relationships for the benefit of the BIA going forward.
I am a Certified General Accountant in public practice who works in a family business that has been part of the community in Leslieville for many years. I have experience in taxation, book keeping, and financial statements. As part of the board, I hope to encourage the business to work together to create a better sense of community. I use my expertise to sit on the board as a treasurer on Leslieville. With this in mind, I represent Leslieville as a director on the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas.
I am the director and operator of a charming and beautiful venue called The Vandenberg House, established in 2014. We provide rental event and meeting space for personal and corporate events. Living in Leslieville since 2008 has given me some insight and first hand experience with our ever changing, unique neighbourhood. As soon as I opened my venue, I joined the BIA as a board member to support our neighbourhood and Leslieville BIA members with a positive and creative attitude. Our diverse, friendly and small town feel is unique to Toronto and felt throughout our neighbourhood. I love our area and look forward to working with others to grow our Leslieville vision.