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Working class past, hip future in Leslieville

Quiet and peaceful yet still full of zing, Leslieville is one of Toronto’s best-unkept secrets.

Quiet and peaceful yet still full of zing, Leslieville is one of Toronto’s best-unkept secrets.

The neighbourhood, located in South Riverdale and running past Broadview to Coxwell Avenue and between Gerrard Street East and Lake Ontario, is a true Toronto success story and one of the city’s hippest neighbourhoods.

Once a staunchly working-class stronghold where primarily factory workers resided, recent decades have seen the area completely transformed by an increasing influx of the middle class, enticed by Leslieville’s charming cafes, gourmet brunch restaurants and friendly streets bustling with joggers and cyclists.

Former factories have been turned into movie studio lots like Cinevillage and Showline Studios, and the resulting decrease in air pollution has made the neighbourhood more appealing to residents and potential homeowners.

Property values have been rising steadily in the area as more new buyers snatch up fixer-upper properties and plenty of new condo developments are going up as well.

A very trendy section of Queen Street East cuts through the heart of the area offering plenty of great eats and vintage furniture, fashion and design stores. To the northeast, the famous Gerrard Indian Bazaar running along Gerrard Street East From Greenwood Avenue to Coxwell is a smorgasbord of South Asian food, fashion and shopping.

Fireworks lovers congregate every Canada Day at Ashbridges Bay Park and racing fans can get their fill of betting at the nearby Greenwood Racetrack.

Greenwood Park, at the southwest corner of Gerrard and Greenwood, is the area’s biggest public green space with sports fields and lines of benches along Greenwood Avenue but Leslieville contains plenty more parks throughout its expanse as well.

For value and charm, Leslieville is definitely hard to beat.

The Lowdown:
• Average real estate values: $340,031 (Source: City of Toronto, Statistics Canada)
• Average gross rent: $731 (Source: City of Toronto, Statistics Canada)
• gyms: HotFlex Fitness (276 Carlaw Ave.), Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre (870 Queen St. E.), The Cardio Loft (401 Logan Ave.), CrossFit Toronto (388 Carlaw Ave.), Ladies Workout Express (1238 Queen St. E.)
• Notable schools: Eastdale CI (701 Gerrard St. E.), Riverdale CI (1094 Gerrard St. E.), Queen Alexandra Sr PS (181 Broadview Ave.), Leslieville Jr PS (254 Leslie St.), Duke of Connaught Jr & Sr PS (70 Woodfield Rd.)
• Major shopping and grocery stores: Gerrard Square Shopping Centre (Pape Ave. and Gerrard St. E.), Loblaws (17 Leslie St.), Price Chopper (731 Eastern Ave.), Food Basics (1000 Gerrard St. E.), No Frills (289 Coxwell Ave.), No Frills (449 Carlaw Ave.)
• Condominium developments: Work Lofts (319 Carlaw Ave.), The Ninety (Queen St. E. And Broadview Ave.), The Printing Factory Lofts (NE corner of Carlaw Ave. and Queen St. E.), Wrigley Lofts (245 Carlaw Ave.)

• 1. Riverdale Hospital
• 2. Rivertowne (condo)
• 3. The Ninety (condo)
• 4. Queen Alexandra Sr Public School
• 5. Dundas Jr Public School
• 6. Eastdale CI (high school)
• 7. Jimmie Simpson Park, which includes the Jimmy Simpson Recreation Centre (McGee St. and Queen St. E.)
• 8. Morse Street Public School
• 9. The Printing Factory Lofts & Urban Towers (condo)
• 10. Flatiron Lofts & Work Lofts (condo)
• 11. Pape Avenue Recreation Centre (Pape & Gerrard)
• 12. Gerrard Square Shopping Centre (Pape & Gerrard)
• 13. Riverdale CI (high school)
• 14. Leslieville Jr Public School
• 15. St Joseph Catholic School
• 16. Greenwood Park (southwest of Greenwood & Gerrard)
• 17. Gerrard Indian Bazaar (on Gerrard St. between Greenwood & Coxwell)
• 18. Bruce Jr Public School
• 19. Greenwood Racetrack
• 20. Ashbridges Bay Park (Coxwell & Lakeshore)

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