Tag: Toronto Neighbourhoods

“East Side” – Leslieville

We're trying to thoroughly explore Toronto's neighbourhoods, one neighbourhood at a time. It may take us awhile, but that won't stop us.

Every single day as we walk around our city, we experience that each area offers something different to each person. Our intention is to highlight what we think is great about our city, one neighbourhood at a time.

Enter LESLIEVILLE - our next neighbourhood vlog in this "neighbourhood series". A family friendly district settled somewhere in the middle of Riverside, Distillery District, Greektown, The Beach and the soon to be re-vamped PortLands.

Both Jon and I are "west-enders" by default. (Torontonians know that many times there seems to be 2 factions. The west-enders and the east-enders.) It was time for us west-enders to highlight that Toronto isn't just the west end. The east end offers so many amazing pockets and neighbourhoods that beg to be uncovered and discovered!

We have simply fallen in love with Leslieville. 

What we've discovered over the past few months is that there's an incredible sense of community in this neighbourhood. Community combined with many parks, trendy shops, restaurants, close to the Don Trail, the lake + one of our favourite Loblaws... (Yes, yes, we judge neighbourhoods by their grocery stores and we have a list of our favourite Loblaws.)

Leslieville was named after "George Leslie" and first came to life in the 1850's. It was home to light industry for decades and since 2000 has been gentrified at a rapid rate. Gentrification brought those trendy cafes, shops, restaurants, bars, places & spaces. For example; Carlaw Avenue's revamped industrial buildings that have been turned into loft and condominium spaces. As well, for those of you wondering, Leslieville does have a little crossover with the Riverdale neighbourhood (think the brand new Broadview Hotel). 

We could go on and on, but now is when you should stop reading and just watch the video: 

Our top 5 of trendy shops and stops that made our do not miss list:

1. Leslieville Pumps (a gas station/convenience store that is not your normal gas station/convenience store)
2. The many cafes and coffee shops (Te Aro, Mercury Espresso to name a few)
3. Culinary gems such as Gare De L'Est, Descendent Pizza, Barrio and Ed's Real Scoop
4. Gerrard India Bazaar (a.k.a Little India)
5. Leslieville Farmer's Market (Sundays, May thru October @ Jonathan Ashbridge Park)
5a. Greenwood Park's off leash dog parks (we love dogs) <-- 5a is still 5, right?

That's all for now.
See you in the next neighbourhood!

“Mini Toronto” – Kensington Market

Unique. Eclectic. Colourful. Vibrant. Diverse. Charming. Artistic.
Community. 
Kensington Market.


Those who know this neighbourhood, know those words don't even begin to encompass the experience that is Kensington Market. 

Colourful Victorian houses, old synagogues, vintage shops, cafés & restaurants, a "garden car" and so much street art. Add in a pedestrian only party in the streets once a month, and it is easily one of the coolest neighbourhoods in Toronto.

For the short and sweet history of Kensington and it's diversity ☞
The 1880's brought the Irish & Scottish labourer immigrants, followed by eastern European & Italian Jewish immigrants. After the second world war there were Portuguese immigrants fleeing the Azores from political conflict and a wave of both Caribbean and Eastern Asian immigrants. Then there was the American political refugees after the war in Vietnam. The Chinese immigrants joined in as next door neighbourhood Chinatown grew too large. The 80's & 90's brought in groups of immigrants from Central America, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Iran, Vietnam and Chile. 
Jon and I noticed that it seems with each diverse group that immigrated to Kensington, they didn't take over the area to call it their own. Each group and era it came in added a layer beside the already existing layers. As you look around today, you feel each and every immigrant community who once called the streets of Kensington Market home. 

In saying all of this, you can see how all of your senses will be at work as you walk around the world in these few city blocks. And there is literally something for everyone and anyone. Beside an organic vegan café may be a Tibetan restaurant. Next to the Italian pizzeria is a vintage clothing shop. Beside one of the many cannabis dispensaries is a Mexican tortilleria.  You want a good Jamaican patty or a Chilean empanada and then go shopping for your fresh produce and meats, we know a few places.  Do you like to people watch? Dog watch? Street musician watch? You can do all of it on practically every street corner. 

But I digress, let's get back to this pedestrian party I mentioned earlier. 
The last Sunday of every month, from May until October, Pedestrian Sundays happen. From noon until 7pm there is a party in the streets that you won't soon forget. The streets are closed to any car traffic and then becomes a great rolling sea of people. Most of the shops and restaurants set up outside on the street to tempt you as you walk by, while musicians and artists litter the areas to entertain. From the Pedestrian Sundays we've been to, you also never know when you might find a flash mob or an unexpected parade erupting. I will put a disclaimer here *do not attempt Pedestrian Sundays if you don't like crowds*. It is the perfect opportunity to people watch until your eyes bleed, but for some that isn't their cup of tea. For those who try to stay away from crowds, mid-day during the week is when it's the calmest.

I could type for days about the history and feel of the Market, but since we are only aiming for a prologue sized blog (and not a novel) to add to our video, I will now glide into this segue ➟ watch our next vlog below! The first in our "Toronto Neighbourhood Series" — Kensington Market.