Leaside is a large neighbourhood just east of Midtown Toronto. Most of Leaside is made up of peaceful residential subdivisions populated by some of the most beautiful houses in the city. It you can afford a property in this affluent neighbourhood; it is a perfect place to raise a family. The long, winding tree-lined streets give the neighbourhood a scenic atmosphere. The area also has an abundance of shopping options along Bayview Avenue and breathtaking greenery with Sunnybrook Park just minutes away. The new crosstown line will greatly improve the transportation situation in Leaside within the next few years, so if you are planning on moving to the Leaside area, now is the time.
Where is Leaside?
Leaside is situated to the east of Bayview Avenue with Sunnybrook Park acting as the unofficial northern boundary of the neighbourhood and the CN train tracks following the southern border of the neighbourhood. Leaside makes up the western section of East York and sits right next to Thorncliffe Park.
Transportation in Leaside
Leaside has easy access to the Don Valley Parkway which allows drivers to get to Downtown Toronto or Scarborough in under a half an hour. The neighbourhood also has a bevy of public transportation options with buses running along Bayview Avenue and Eglington Avenue, which connect to the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. The Eglington Crosstown is a new light rail line that has been under construction for several years. The new line will run along Eglington Avenue and connect the East and West ends of Toronto through Midtown. It is scheduled to open in 2022 and will run right through Leaside, giving the neighbourhood even more transportation variety.
The History of the Leaside Neighbourhood
Leaside was initially a large piece of farmland, settled by John Lea in the early part of the 1800s. In the 1850s, Lea’s oldest son William, built an octagonally shaped house in the area that acted as the family estate. Since then, the area has been referred to as Leaside, after the Lea family.
In 1913, the Canadian Northern Railway incorporated the land and hired architect, Fredrick Todd, to design a community around their maintenance yard. The model community was planned out with specific commercial, industrial, and residential areas along with a town centre.
The construction of the neighbourhood was stalled by the outbreak of World War I. Factories in Leaside’s more industrial area were used to make ammunition for the war effort. After the war, the neighbourhood began to flourish, especially after construction was finished on the Leaside Viaduct in 1927 which connected Leaside to East Toronto. Development of Leaside was halted yet again during the second world war, when again, the area became a hub of war-time manufacturing, building radio equipment. The decades after World War II saw steady development of Leaside, all the way up to 1998 when it was merged with the rest of Toronto.
The Types of homes in Leaside
Leaside can be divided into several different sections. In the northern most section of Leaside, between Armistice Drive and Kilgour Road, there are a series of healthcare facilities including The Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, Leaside Sports Medicine office, and Sunnybrook Hospital. To the west, along Bayview Avenue, there is a lively shopping district with boutique shops and dining options. In the southeast corner of Leaside, east of Laid and south of Eglington, there is a substantial commercial and shopping district with larger retail stores, factories, and storage facilities.
The rest of Leaside, between Bayview and Laird and north of Eglington is dedicated to residential space. The residential area is mainly made up of a mix of two storey detached homes, bungalows, and semi-detached houses, all of which are built on generously sized plots of land. The houses in the area that were built in the 1930s and 1940s have a Tudor design style with steeply pitched roofs, brick exteriors, and timber accents. In the last few decades many of the bungalows in the area have received renovation adding a second storey.
In the 1990s there was development of many low-rise exclusive condos and apartments on the east side of Bayview, adding some variety to the types of homes in the neighbourhood. There continues to be construction of new condo complexes based around the new crosstown rail line.
Making the Move to Leaside
Leaside is the perfect location for families looking to put down long term roots in a safe area, with plenty of parkland, and a great school system. The average age of Leaside residents tends to be older than most other neighbourhoods in Toronto, so once people move into the neighbourhood they really do not want to leave.
If you are moving into retirement and are looking to sell your house in Leaside to downsize into a smaller home or condo that is more accommodating to your new lifestyle, now would be the best time to sell and capitalize on the competitive housing market. Even if you are selling your house in a popular neighbourhood like Leaside, home staging is still important to get rid of clutter and present the best version of your home to potential buyers. If you are making the move to Leaside, staging your home for sale, or just need a place to declutter, self-storage can be a great solution.
Right now, Storwell Self Storage is providing my clients with an exclusive offer of 4 weeks of free self storage. Storwell has locations in Mississauga, Scarborough, and one location in western Toronto that is just a short drive on the DVP away from Leaside. If you are in need of storage to help with a move or to stage your home for sale you can call or visit a Storwell facility in person to demo a unit.
Storwell Self Storage
Parks and Recreation in Leaside
Although Leaside is less than half an hour away from Downtown Toronto, it has a tremendous amount of greenery and parkland to explore, making it a perfect location for nature lovers. One of the best parks in the area is the massive Sunnybrook Park, which sits just to the north of Leaside. Sunnybrook Park has a bike trail, three full cricket pitches, a multi-purpose sports field, several picnic areas, and a fenced off dog park where your dogs can run around and play leash-free.
In the center of Leaside on McRae Drive and Millwood Road you will find Trace Mares Park. The park has a well-maintained baseball diamond and is home to Leaside Tennis Club, which has 6 tennis courts with flood lighting allowing for night matches. Right next to Trace Mares Park is the Leaside Branch of the Toronto Public Library, which provides a variety of after school programs for the youth of Leaside.
Towards the southern border of Leaside on Southvale Drive is the Leaside Community Memorial Gardens. Some of the features of Leaside Community Memorial Gardens include:
- Several ice rinks
- An Olympic sized swimming pool
- 8 sheets of ice for curling
- The William Lea room, an elegant ballroom able to hold up to 300 guests
The Best Schools in Leaside
Leaside has an amazing selection of schools, which is why the area has become so popular for families. The Toronto District School Board operates several schools in Leaside including the main secondary school in the area, Leaside Highschool located on Hanna Road. Leaside Highschool received incredibly high marks on the Fraser Institute’s Annual Report Card for 2020 being ranked as one of the top 20 secondary schools in all of Ontario, out of nearly 800 other schools.
Leaside also has a great selection of elementary schools for younger students. Some of the highest rated elementary schools in Leaside include:
- Rolph Road Public School
- Bessborough Drive Elementary and Middle School
- Northlea Elementary and Middle School
The best places to eat in Leaside
Leaside is a foodie’s paradise with a wide selection of different cuisines. On the corner of Laird Drive and Vanderhoof Avenue you will find Kintako, one of the best Japanese restaurants in the city. Just down the street from Kintako is a neighbourhood staple, The Leaside Pub. This old-school watering hole is a popular spot with Leaside locals serving up traditional pub favourites. Near the train tracks on Esandar Drive is the Amsterdam Brewery which produces over a dozen different kinds of beer. The brewery also has a restaurant that serves comfort food to go along with their selection of delicious ales.
Leaside really excels in the sweets department, with several ice cream and pastry shops in the area dedicated to satisfying your sweet tooth. Along Bayview Avenue you have Hollywood Gelato serving up 22 different flavours and Rahier Patisserie that specializes in French pastries like croquembouche and St. Honoré cake. People line up around the block to sample some of the delicious pastries from Charmaine Sweets on Brentcliff Road, which have become well known for their signature chiffon cakes.