The Town of Leaside celebrates 100 years: April 23, 1913-2013
The Town of Leaside was incorporated by Act of the Ontario Legislature on April 23, 1913. Its motto “Stability and Wisdom of Purpose” has characterized the community to the present day.
Land extending south east from what is now Bayview and Eglinton to the CPR tracks was farmed by settler William Lea in the mid 19th Century.
The railway arrived in the late 1870’s, and by 1894 a station was established at “Leaside Junction”. The Canadian Northern Railway Company (“CNoR”, a predecessor of Canadian National) acquired holdings in Leaside to mount a locomotive repair shop and marshalling yard for its Eastern Lines.
In 1912, CNoR commissioned noted Montreal landscape architect, Frederick Todd, to lay out a model town to complement its Leaside rail operations.
The resulting Town of Leaside was incorporated in 1913 with 43 residents and a plan for employment development to the east of Laird Drive and residential development to the west. Housing was built soon thereafter for workers and managers associated with local employers such as Canada Wire and Cable and Durant Motors.
Both residential and industrial development began in earnest during the 1930s. Leaside was an important supplier to the war effort both of manufactures and personnel during the Second World War. The 1940s and 1950s saw massive growth throughout Toronto and Leaside became built out as an important residential and industrial Toronto suburb.
In 1954, Thorncliffe Park, located south and east of the established town and formerly an orchard grove and later the site of a popular race track, was formally annexed by the Town of Leaside. During the ensuing decades Thorncliffe became an apartment tower community that proudly announced itself as “A good place to work, live, and shop”. Thorncliffe is now home to over 30,000 people, it has recently been called “Canada’s Arrivals City”.
In 1967 the Town of Leaside joined with the Township of East York to form the Borough of East York. In 1998 the Borough was amalgamated with the municipalities of Metro Toronto to form today’s City of Toronto.