Written On January 10, 2018
Leaside is one of Toronto’s most desirable neighbourhoods. With great schools, diverse restaurants, and a strong community, Leaside has many charming qualities.
Once farmland, Leaside was settled on a similar timeline to Toronto proper. Leaside began in 1819 with a single family named the Leas. The Leas settled the area over two generations: John Lea, who initially bought the land, and his son, William Lea, who constructed the neighbourhood’s first red brick home in 1854. The home was called Leaside.
Years later, the Canadian Northern Railway bought of Lea’s land and began constructing a maintenance stop, also titled Leaside, as the land was particularly well-suited for a small settlement. In 1912, the CNR hired a landscape architect to develop a community servicing the railway’s employees. “Laird”, “Wicksteed”, and “Hanna” streets were named after CNR executives at the time.
The following year, Leaside’s housing plans were approved and the town was officially incorporated. However, development did not unfold as initially anticipated. During the war, the industrial land used by the railway was given over to the war effort. Several factories were set up producing everything from munitions to radios. Most of these once-industrial properties are currently convenient commercial spaces such as Leaside Village.
In addition to industrial production, Leaside was also closely linked to the Royal Canadian Air Force. Due to the flat nature of the land, Leaside was the perfect site for an airstrip. During World War II Leaside hosted and sponsored a Royal Canadian Air Force squadron that eventually adopted the “Leaside” nickname.
The population grew steadily over the course of both World Wars. By the 1950’s Leaside was a prosperous town with approximately 15,000 residents. Sunnybrook Plaza, established in 1951, was one of Toronto’s first shopping centres. By the 1960s, Leaside officially became a part of East York. This was the beginning of the Leaside neighbourhood we know today.
Since then, Leaside has grown into one of Toronto’s most sought-after areas. A lively community full of friends and neighbours, Leaside is a wonderful place to bring up a family. It’s home to one preschool, three elementary schools, two middle schools, and one high school: Leaside High School. It also boasts several parks, a community centres with various amenities, and a public library.
Leaside has many assets, but perhaps the most exciting is the neighbourhood’s proximity to the shops, café’s, and restaurants on Bayview Avenue and Laird Drive. Depending on where you live in Leaside, one or both of these two streets are within walking distance. You can enjoy a coffee at Lit Espresso Bar on Bayview, or a glass of craft beer at The Local Public Eatery just steps away from home.
A family-oriented neighbourhood with modern conveniences and a fascinating history, Leaside is an ideal place to live.
Stay in the Loop!
Everybody likes being an insider, especially when it pertains to exclusive and soon to be released properties. Simply enter your email address and we will keep you apprised of upcoming listings.
You May Also Like
The New Year is upon us, bringing new ideas and opportunities!
New Year’s Eve is just around the corner.
With Christmas only a few days away, we’re thinking about all of the special holiday meals to come. Whether you’re hosting the whole family for dinner or having a few friends over for a cosy brunch, you may be wondering how to decorate your table this year.