Have your say on Leslieville's future


Leslieville Business Improvement Area (BIA) is asking for the public’s help in guiding the future of retail, dining and entertainment in the neighbourhood as it supports a community of 220 small businesses along Queen Street East from Booth Ave (Jimmie Simpson Park) to Vancouver Ave (just east of Greenwood).

The BIA has engaged an external consulting team, ThinkFresh Group and Futures Present, who are seeking to understand perceptions about Leslieville, the BIA and the many stories that are here in Leslieville. They will be using this to help create a narrative and strategic direction for the BIA.

As part of this process, local Leslieville residents are being solicited for feedback on what they tend to do in the neighbourhood. It will shape the community and you’ll also be entered into a draw for 50 Leslieville Dollars. Not bad for about 15 minutes of work.

Take the Leslieville resident survey. The survey closes at midnight on Sept. 13.

Leslieville lands new cannabis store in pot-shop lottery

Photo:   Get Budding

The neighbourhood’s about to go up in smoke.

A Leslieville pot store applicant was among the 13 in Toronto (42 in Ontario) to win the province's second cannabis retail store lottery.

The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) lists the proposed store address as 1303 Queen St. E., which is a retail and residential building just east of The Burren.

That means the neighbourhood could be getting a government-approved cannabis retail shop, if all goes according to plan.

The lucky winners have until Aug. 28 to get paperwork in check for a full licensing review.

Coming soon: Mira Mira Sandiwch + Ice Cream Bar

There’s a new spot in the east end to get your ice cream fix.

Mira Mira, which has been operating a catering business from 1372 Queen St. East for the past couple of years, is set to open its storefront to the neighbourhood with an ice cream and sandwich bar.

Mira Mira also operates a spot in the Assembly Chef’s Hall downtown on Richmond St West.

The new shop is set to launch Aug. 1. Stay tuned or visit eatmiramira.com/ for more info.

Yardsale Cocktail Bar brings retro vibe and classic drinks to Gerrard

Photo:  Yardsale Bar

Photo: Yardsale Bar

Step back into the ‘60s and ‘70s at Yardsale Bar — the newest kid on the Gerrard block that pays homage to the past.

Launching in the former space of Sugar Loaf Bakery at the corner of Jones, the retro cocktail den features a menu of signature, throwback and classic cocktails served in vintage-style glassware.

Sip on something more traditional or check out one of their original creations in a mid-century themed space. Drinks are paired with Spanish-influenced tapas-style dishes.

Its website calls the essence of the space as “Mad Men-meets-your-uncle's-basement vibe” with beanbag chairs and lava lamps backed by a ‘60s and ‘70s soundtrack.

Yard Sale Bar is now open at 1062 Gerrard St. E. Check out yardsalebar.com for more information.

Brandon’s has mid-century modern decor, vinyl records supplying the tunes, and a menu of classic cocktails served in vintage-style glassware. In other words, it’s exactly the kind of place where we would expect to see a Midge Maisel type at the table next to us working on some new jokes. But if you want to slip into this dimly lit retro drinking den, you’ll need to know where to find it–and when.

As storefronts continue to close on Queen, more and more businesses are drawn to the cheaper rents on Gerrard. The next up-and-comer: Yardsale Cocktail Bar.

Going into the former space of Sugar Loaf Bakery at the corner of Gerrard and Jones, Yard Sale Bar is set to launch in June with retro cocktails and a menu of shareable plates.

New street in Toronto's east end honours the city's baseball past

Photo: Toronto Public Library archives

Photo: Toronto Public Library archives


Long before Rogers Centre (and SkyDome), and prior to Exhibition Stadium, Maple Leaf Stadium and even Hanlan's Point Ballpark, there was The Toronto Baseball Grounds. Home to the city’s first pro baseball team, The Torontos, the stadium was located just off the Don Valley in the city’s east end.

A new street in Riverside Square near Queen East and Broadview Ave. has been named Baseball Place in recognition of the original Toronto Baseball Grounds.

The street is located in almost the same spot as the former Baseball Place, a leftover legacy of the roadway that provided access to the city’s first baseball stadium. The original street disappeared decades ago.

When the stadium opened in 1886, admission was a quarter and its grandstand, which overlooked the Don Valley, could seat 2,000 fans. The name eventually changed to Sunlight Park, in honour of the nearby soap factory, and it stayed in operation until 1913 when baseball moved to the Island.

A plaque attached to the building at 655 Queen St. E honours Sunlight Park and the Toronto Baseball Grounds.

New public art installation coming to Leslie and Lakeshore


The artist for the TTC Leslie Barns Public Art Competition has finally been selected. Dean Baldwin will be creating

A pair of installations that are a tribute and gateway to the Leslie Spit will be coming soon to the intersection around Leslie and Lakeshore.

The sculpture “Typha,” will be constructed of Toronto streetcar railway track, rods and other profiles of corten weathering steel, and made into a collection of reeds, rushes and cattails bundled into an 11,000-pound arrangement. "Trajat" is a quiet tribute to the discovery of 11,000-year-old old fossil-like footprints made by native ancestors. The remains were discovered in blue clay on the floor of Lake Ontario near Toronto Island while the lake bed was drained during the sewer construction of 1908. 

The works, being created by artist Dean Baldwin, are part of the Leslie Barns Public Art Competition that took place during the construction of the facility. .

Morning Parade Coffee Bar launches cafe in Beach Hill

Photo: Morning Parade Coffee Bar

Photo: Morning Parade Coffee Bar


A parade is usually what we expect from our morning coffee and a new cafe in Beach Hill is bringing just that. Morning Parade Coffee Bar has launched near Gerrard St. E and Woodbine Ave.

The east end’s newest coffee shop is serving fresh, locally-roasted Sam James Coffee, the east end’s own Sloane Tea and a variety of baked goods from local bakeries, including Front Door Bakery (the bakers behind Red Rocket’s treats).

“I’m excited to bring a bright, warm, welcoming space to the Beach Hill community,” says owner Elektra Simms.

She is a resident of Toronto’s east end herself and so it’s particularly special to her to open this space in the neighbourhood.

The bright space features murals by Toronto artist Justin Rousseau that represent the idea of the morning parade.

“The name of the cafe refers to the daily parade we each take and the people all around us doing the same.  Morning Parade Coffee Bar is a place for us all to connect on that route.”

Morning Parade Coffee Bar is now open at 1952 Gerrard St. E. Pop in Monday-Friday from 7 a.m - 4 p.m. and weekends from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. A grand opening celebration is slated for June 8.

Toronto Raptors drop into Leslieville's Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre

Photo:  NBA Cares

Photo: NBA Cares

Raptors fever is running at an all-time high across the city with fans clamoring  to watch games, spot players and get in on the excitement of a championship. That’s why it’s almost unthinkable that sightings of the team’s biggest stars would happen in Leslieville of all places — especially after the historic first-game win of the NBA Finals.

But that’s exactly what happened today.

The Raptors along with NBA Cares, the league's social responsibility initiative, dedicated a newly created Learn & Play Centre at the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre — a legacy for kids and families in the east end of the city.

Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol and Danny Green, along with GM Masai Ujiri, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and others, rolled up with an entourage on Queen East and joined youth from the community for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

The upgraded centre is intended to be a space for sportsmanship, respect, teamwork and more. The facility has been given a decor refresh and has been appointed with new equipment, furnishings and tools for learning.

Spaces inside the centre, including a multi-purpose room, a recreation room, a preschool room and the gym, were renovated over the past week. Visitors will be able to sit down at new computers and also sharpen their basketball skills, play ping pong and video games. The outdoor basketball court was given fresh paint, new baskets and a We The North makeover.

Playground opens at Maple Leaf Forever Park

Photo: Kathryn McLean

Photo: Kathryn McLean

The famous Leslieville tree that was toppled in a summer windstorm in 2013 was the one that inspired Alexander Muir in 1867 to write “Maple Leaf Forever,” Canada’s almost-national anthem. The silver maple can now also add a playground to its legacy.

A revamp of the park near Queen and Leslie streets is now complete and it includes a brand-new playground for kids with slides, swings and structures to climb.

The park’s official address is 62 Laing St., accessed off Memory Lane — a little street that runs between Greenwood and Leslie, south of Queen Street East.

It’s also the site of Maple Cottage, one of the few remaining examples of Ontario cottage architecture style in the east end.

Kaboom Chicken closes for good in Riverside

Photo: Dean Seguin

Photo: Dean Seguin

Yet another business has fallen in the east end.

Kaboom Chicken — the spot that brought Korean-style street food to Riverside — is now closed for good.

“We’ve had so much fun serving our Korean Goodness to all of our customers,” they wrote in an Instagram caption, “and are unbelievably grateful for all the support and love we’ve received.”

After a successful run as a pop-up eatery, Kaboom Chicken put down roots near Queen and Broadview in the fall of 2016.

Fans of Kaboom will he happy to know that the hunt is on for a new location and the business plans to pop up at festivals and events this summer.