Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Toronto Tuesdays • Leslieville

As promised, I am bringing you the first ever of my Toronto Tuesdays series profiling a different neighbourhood each week from the city I love. If you know me or follow me on twitter, you've heard me wax poetic about Leslieville. I lived there a few years ago in three different apartments. The first one on top of a prolific restaurant named Edward Levesque's Kitchen. Then I moved to the one next to it (same landlord) the next year. There was a rooftop patio where you could hang out and look at the CN Tower. Then I moved in to an apartment above Mercury Espresso Bar right across from a Value Village (dream come true, really). I made the most amazing mom friends as well as non-mom friends and if given the chance to move back, I would do it in a heartbeat. I haven't been back in awhile but I do have a good friend that just bought a loft there and she hasn't been complaining so I'm confident that the area is still more or less the same. One website that I frequented before and during I lived there was The Free City of Leslieville which looked at the architecture of housing projects in the area (there were a lot). My children's daycare was in the Woodgreen building where they fed homeless people and helped low income families as well as people with mental health issues. Some people might not like the idea of that but I thought it was important for my kids to see it and know that living in a community means helping each other. We were walking distance to a library, supermarket and a community centre with a pool. We were a 15 minute streetcar ride from the downtown core as well the beach. Life was perfect but as a young single mother who was going through some very stressful things, I couldn't do it on my own. I needed my family so I moved back in with my parents with my sons in tow in 2008. The gentrification was starting when I left although there are still a lot of local businesses thriving and I am happy to share them here based on my experience. Enjoy your virtual tour of Leslieville!

Where to eat:

B&B Fish & Chips
1116 Queen St E
Best fish & chips. Really. Well, this and Reliable (see way below).
I couldn't decide. The other one was closer to me after. And prettier.

Edward Levesque's Kitchen
1290 Queen St E
I'm not biased here. I Swear. Edward is really nice.
And the food is really good. Go for brunch.

Gio Rana's Really Really Nice Restaurant
1220 Queen St E
There's no sign for this place. Just a big paper mache nose.
That's why it's also known as "The Nose". Go here for dinner. It's so good.

Joy Bistro
884 Queen St E
I like eating here for lunch. Brunch upstairs is also quite good.
I like it there better. Come for Summerlicious or Winterlicious.

Leslie Jones
1182 Queen St E
Another favourite lunch destination. Best salad I ever had.
Love eating inside or outside. I really miss this place.

Mercury Espresso Bar
915 Queen St E
Again, not biased. They make the best coffee.
And I love the people that work there. Say hi to Matt for me!

OK OK Diner
1128 Queen St E
Best breakfast or brunch diner. Lovely in the summer.
Go sit in the patio. Nice people work there too.

Queen Pita
1276 Queen St E
Best falafel in the CITY. And it was two doors down.
I was very lucky. Go and decide for yourself.

Reliable Fish & Chips
954 Queen St E
They were on HGTV's Restaurant Makeover. This place is lovely.
Good food. Good peoples. Best Fish & Chips too.

Sweet Bliss
1304 Queen St E
When these guys opened up shop, they made the neighbourhood smell better.
Get your baked goods here. Nice and fresh on a weekend morning.

993 Queen St E
Formerly Hello Toast. This was my favourite brunch spot.
I loved taking the kids here. The servers were amazing.

The Tulip
1606 Queen St E
This place is almost Beach Territory but check it out. It's lacking in ambiance
but if you love steak and you're cheap, this is the place for you.

The Upper Crust
1008 Queen St E
My favourite place to take the kids for lunch.
Nice people and reasonable prices for food.

Where to shop:

Baby on the Hip
969 Queen St E
I was so happy when this place opened. It was the only kid store in the area.
I bought them a picasso board book and a knitted zebra rattle. Still have them.

Doll Factory by Damzels
1122 Queen St E
I adore this place. Not because I've been supporting them since their Clothing Show
days as Damzels in this Dress but because Kelly and Rory are really awesome people.

1300 Queen St E
This shop has lots of treasures for you vintage enthusiasts.
You will get lost in here for a few hours.

1152 Queen St E
Lots of vintage furniture and accessories.
I bought a teak mid century lamp here for twenty bucks.

Nathalie Roze & Co
1015 Queen St E
My favourite place to buy gifts. This place sells lovingly handmade items.
If you're looking for something unique to give, you'll find it here.

Where to window shop:

1091 Queen St E
I love mid century modern so I love walking in here to see what they have.
I can't afford anything but I still like the stuff. And the dog. But maybe it's not there anymore?

Machine Age Modern
1000 Queen St E
I've never actually walked in the store because it's too intimidating
but they had annual yard sales and I found TONS of great deals.

So there it is, your personal tour of Leslieville. I hope you enjoyed it and I urge you to check it out in person. Let me know if I left anything out. I know that there are a lot more new (and some old) businesses that I have yet to check out. I also couldn't find links or remember the names to some of my old favourites such as the cajun place and that place where I liked to buy jeans. I think some places even closed down? Kubo, are you still there? Maybe I'll update when I'm there again. I'm positively sure it'll be different but maybe I'll find some new favourites!


  1. Love, love Leslie Jones!!! Great blog btw!!

  2. Thank you! I'm so glad that place is still there!