Riverside is often referred to as Riverside/Leslieville. This is because the two neighbourhoods meld into one another. The streets that make up the Riverside area run from the Don Valley Expressway to Logan Avenue, and Gerrard Avenue to Eastern Avenue. This block of real estate has been snatched-up by savvy investors, families, and young professionals. Collectively, they seemed to understand that the east end of the city, although once dilapidated old, sometimes abandoned, buildings and businesses, was destined for greatness.
Walking down Queen street, from the Don Valley Expressway, you’re greeted with that palpable ‘east end vibe’…old buildings stand tall (but not too tall) with pride, showing off their raw and understated industrial charms to passers-by. Boutique windows are artistically crafted. Cafes are packed with eyes that peer over an illuminated ‘Apple’. Latte machines make whisking noises and writers, quietly, read (and re-read) their prose. In cooler months, young families push strollers in well-heeled Frye boots and Nobis Jackets. Tired looking ‘hipsters’ line walkways, huddled to the side of a building, waiting in single file to get into the hottest brunch spots where pancakes are piled-high. It’s worth the wait.
The same can be said for this once predominantly working-class neck of Toronto. The beautification of the area was spearheaded by the Riverside B.I.A. This has resulted in preservation of all that’s good about Riverside’s past while embracing and adapting to pave way for a bright and prosperous future. This sweet, and charming, combination of old and new can be seen in the handful of local industrial loft conversions, new builds, modern renovations, and classic Victorian and Edwardian dwellings.