These communities lie between Lake Ontario and the railway tracks that separate them from Riverdale and Danforth Village. The Beaches (or the Beach, or Beaches) is between Victoria Park Avenue and Coxwell, and Leslieville is west of Coxwell. The Beaches is best characterized by the Queen Street East commercial district and the 3 kilometre long waterfront Boardwalk along the actual beaches east of Ashbridges Bay Park, and the community is bisected by Kingston Road. Coxwell lies north of the Port of Toronto Harbourlands and has excellent access to the waterfront at Tommy Thompson Park and the Outer Harbour's east headlands.
Leslieville was a small village in the 1850s, growing up on the edge of downtown Toronto, and was home to the Toronto Nurseries owned by George Leslie, who as one of many gardeners. Leslieville got its namesake school in 1863, and its principal composed "The Maple Leaf Forever", inspired by a local maple tree, still standing, and marked by a historical plaque (at Laing Street & Memory Lane.). The Beach's first settlers with United Empire Loyalists who came in 1793, the Ashbridge family who farmed here until the late 1800s. By this time the land was subdivided for summer cottage development and amusement parks that made this community a summer social centre for the city through the 1920s, when year-round homes were being built in the neighbourhood. Motorists have great access to Lake Shore Boulevard, with connections to the Don Valley Expressway and the Gardiner Expressway. There is streetcar service along Queen Street, Kingston Road (with bus service east into Scarborough), Gerrard Street, with north-south buses along Victoria Park Avenue, Main Street, and Woodbine Avenue which connect to the Bloor-Danforth subway line. The GO Train station at Danforth & Main zips transit riders to Union Station. Leslieville is well served by streetcar routes, and is home to the TTC's streetcar barns.
The area is served by 8 elementary schools, 3 Catholic elementary schools, 2 high schools, and 2 libraries. Centennial College's Warden Woods Campus is nearby, and University of Toronto is accessed via the Bloor-Danforth subway, York University's Glendon Campus is north on Bayview Ave, snd Ryerson University is nearby in downtown Toronto.
Queen Street East is the favourite shopping district in the area, with lots of shops and restaurants catering to beach visitors. There are also a lot of shops along Kingston Road, more focused on local clientele. Gerrard Street has two great ethnic shopping districts, India Bazaar, just west of Coxwell, and East Chinatown at Broadview, closer to the Don River.
The Beaches' most famous landmark is the 3 kilometre long Boardwalk beside the miles of beaches, accompanied by the generally-paved by the Martin Goodman Trail which extends west from The Beach to the Humber River (and beyond). Ashbridge's Bay Park is home to several sailing clubs and a beach, which is very popular with windsurfers and beach volleyballers. Kew Gardens is the area's "action central" with 10 lit tennis courts, a baseball diamond, an outdoor ice rink, a children's playground & wading pool and a concert bandstand, and is popular with area festivals. In addition the community has 2 indoor pools, 2 outdoor pools (including an Olympic sized one at the foot of Woodbine Ave), 2 ice arenas, and 3 running tracks. The community has 3 movie theatres (2 on Queen, one on Gerrard), and is close to the Danforth and the Distillery District for entertainment and nightlife.
Leslieville in the area from Queen Street south to Eastern Avenue has cottage, Victorian homes, and row houses from the 1800s. The homes north of Queen Street date to the early 1900s with detached and semi-detached homes and many small bungalows. The Beach has homes built as early as the mid-1800s, with many early 1900s homes, but most were built in the 1920-1930 era. The former Greenwood Racetrack site (Woodbine & Queen) has been developed with new homes, adjacent to Woodbine Park. Homes in this part of Toronto are in the low to low-medium price ranges. More Beaches Photos