If you’re looking for small-town charm in the big city, Leslieville has got it all. Originally an independent village home to a substantial population of working-class families and individuals, the area is now known for its array of boutiques, brunch spots and bars. With its tree-lined residential streets, cosy cafes, and a strong community that supports small businesses, living in Leslieville provides residents with a laid-back, friendly vibe without sacrificing the convenience of downtown life (it’s around 20 minutes on the 501 streetcars to the Eaton Centre!).
Without further ado, we present to you our very official guide In Love with Leslieville: Why Living in Leslieville is So Awesome. Here we go!
The Cafe Scene
Whether you’re a coffee connoisseur or just in need of a good ol’ daily fix, living in Leslieville gives you plenty of cafes to choose from. For tons of options all in one place (and not just coffee!), head over to Te Aro. An outpost of the popular Pilot Coffee Roasters brand, Te Aro offers a variety of roasts available daily, along with cold brew, espresso based drinks, food, and even Kombucha on tap. If you’re lucky enough to snag a seat on the patio during the warmer months, it’s one of the best places in the neighbourhood to catch up with friends, or take a sunny solo lunch break.
Open from 6:30am to 11:00pm, Tango Palace is here to satisfy your need for caffeine and baked-goods nearly any time of day. The cosy establishment sets a welcoming tone upon entry with its old-school marquee-esque sign and picturesque window seating, beckoning you to come in and stay awhile. The power outlets are plentiful and the WIFI is strong, making it the perfect place to power through those morning emails. And we can’t forget Mercury Espresso. This cafe keeps it simple with classic drinks, chalkboard menus and casually dressed baristas that could easily be mistaken for patrons. Their no fuss, laid back attitude encompasses the feel of the neighbourhood, which explains why it’s been a Leslieville staple since the early 2000’s.
The Business Community
Clothing shops, home goods, record stores…we could go on forever about the incredible independent retailers that call Leslieville home. Unlike its west-end counterpart, You won’t find any big-box stores along the main Queen East. Of the many things to do in Leslieville, weekend afternoon window (and actual) shopping in this neighbourhood has to be a top contender for our favourite activity. This neighbourhood really does have EVERYTHING.
Local favourite The Good Neighbour is your go-to spot for the hippest in clothing, accessories and home accents – last-minute host gift you forgot to pick up? Not a problem. Music lovers can take a leisurely browse through Tiny Record Shop’s expertly curated selection. If you’re planning an epic dinner party, you only have to walk a few blocks to pick up all your essentials. Specialized grocers like Rowe Farms, Leslieville Cheese Market and Raise the Root have got you covered from cheese boards to the main course. And we can’t forget Bobbette and Belle, who whip up take-home treats along with some of the most breathtaking wedding cakes in the city.
The Family Oriented Amenities
There’s a reason that living in Leslieville is known as one of the best areas in the city for families. With plenty of things to do in Leslieville that are geared toward toddlers, young children and teenagers, it’s easy to see why so many families choose to live here. Community events like the holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony and the summertime Movie Under the Stars in Leslie Grove Park provide an opportunity for residents to come together, both adults and children alike. The Matty Eckler Community Recreation Centre offers classes for children of all ages (swimming, summer camps, you name it), and specialized centres like Sprouts – Growing Bodies & Minds create a space for young ones to socialize, play and learn.
There’s even a Parent Resources Drop-In Centre, which provides workshops, counseling, guidance and other resources for both parents and children of this east-end community.
Spots That We ♥
Skin + Bones for their locally sourced menu and incredible wine selection.
Arts Market for their one of a kind gift and friendly staff – perfect for unique stocking stuffers!
Leslieville Pumps for their beef brisket sandwich.
Good and Provisions for a cosy date night.
Black Rooster Decor for the coolest home accessories and furniture in town.
Quick Reference Neighbourhood Guide
Grocery Store (Large): Loblaws, 17 Leslie St
Grocery Store (Small): Rowe Farms, 893 Queen St E
Barber: Hastings Barber Shop, 1270 Queen St E
Nail/Beauty Salon: B Side Beauty, 1148 Queen St E
Dry Cleaner: Park Avenue Cleaners, 818 Eastern Ave
Organic/Health Food Store: Raise the Root, 1164 Queen Street E
Hardware Store: The Home Depot (Gerrard Square) 1000 Gerrard St E
So, what do you think of our list? If you’re currently living in Leslieville, what’s your favourite thing about the neighbourhood? Better yet, if you’re looking to make this awesome area your new home, fill out the form below so we can get you started on your search!
Header image via BlogTO.
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