Leaside has drastically changed since it was just farmland over 100 years ago. Recently celebrating a milestone birthday, the area is a bustle of shops, parks and restaurants along the stretch of Bayview, just south of Eglinton Avenue. Leasiders are proud of their lively neighbourhood and it’s packed with hidden gems like Moms to Be and More, a popular maternity and new moms store, Cupcakes Leaside, the brand behind the W Network series The Cupcake Girls, and Sky Zone, a 28,000 square foot indoor trampoline park.
Many notable figures grew up in the area like Michael Martchenko, illustrator for author Robert Munsch, and former hockey stars Frank Mahovlich and George Armstrong. Spend the day in Leaside and get to know this area a little bit more.
1. Leaside is over 100 years old.
It was a big celebration in 2013 when Leaside celebrated its 100th birthday. Back in 1913, the town of Leaside was just farmland, the area considered part of East York until it later amalgamated with the City of Toronto. A large vacant space was turned into the Leaside Aerodrome, a training school for wartime pilots and also the site for Canada’s first delivery of airmail. Leaside would later rank in Toronto’s top 10 most desirable neighbourhoods. Here are some interesting historical videos of Leaside, past and present.
2. Margaret Atwood graduated from Leaside High School.
Canadian literary icon, Margaret Atwood, was a fellow Leasider who graduated from Leaside High School in 1957. Her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, is said to be based on her experiences at the school. Other notable Leasiders include actor Will Arnett, also an alumni, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper who grew up on Bessborough Drive and learned to play hockey at the Leaside Memorial Gardens arena.
3. Longo’s was built in a restored heritage building.
The Longo’s Grocery Store on Laird was built on a site older than the town of Leaside. The building was once a locomotive shop for the former Canadian Northern Railway and later a packaging materials company and car dealership. The site was vacant for years and later completely redeveloped into the modern supermarket and the Leaside Village retail centre.
Photo via Facebook, Leaside Village