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Leslieville used to be full of factories, but they are all gone now, drastically reducing the pollution in the air and making the neighbourhood much more appealing. However, some of the old factories have been turned into large film studios such as Cinevillage, Showline Studios and Pinewood Film Studios, creating a hip and happening feel to the area. Old homes that were falling into disrepair have been snapped up and renovated by singles, young professionals and families galore who realized that the tree-lined streets are safe and within 15 minutes of downtown. Plus, there’s batch of condo loft conversions. Leslieville feels like a village, its main street Queen East. The variety of shops is both high end and quirky. Restaurants, designer clothes, coffee houses, food stores, bakeries, antique and furniture stores, florists, and yes, fish and chip stores from the past make for one of the most interesting walks in the city. But to enjoy it you have to park your car and get out on foot – like the locals.
Leslieville was a small village in the 1850’s surrounded by the Toronto Nurseries, which was owned by George Leslie and his family. One of the famous landmarks in the neighbourhood is a maple tree. It is famous because of Alexander Muir, the composer of The Maple Leaf Forever, and the first principal of the Leslieville Public School. He was inspired to compose The Maple Leaf Forever because of a beautiful maple leaf that fell on his sleeve from that very tree. The tree still stands today and is a cherished part of the community.