Leaside and the Railway

Canadian Museum of Science and Technology, CN003957

On April 23, 2013 – 100 years after the establishment of the Town of Leaside – the community of Leaside was honoured with two Heritage Toronto plaques recognizing the historical contribution of the railway to the town and its development. The plaques were presented at Bessborough Public School as part of the Leaside 100 celebrations. Photographs of the presentation will be posted shortly.

The railway first arrived in the Leaside in the 1870s, when the Ontario and Quebec Railway Company purchased land on William Lea’s property to run its railway across. By 1894, a station was established at “Leaside Junction.”

In 1906, Canadian Northern Railway purchased land to the east of present-day Laird Drive where it constructed a locomotive repair shop and marshalling yard for its eastern lines. Six years later, the company commissioned landscape architect Frederick Todd to design a model town. On April 23, 1913, the Town of Leaside was incorporated with a population of 43. About a month later, the plan for the town was approved.

Growth was slow at first for Leaside, but the 1940s and 1950s saw a boom in its industrial and residential development. In 1967, it became part of the Borough of East York, which later amalgamated with the municipalities of Metro Toronto to form today’s City of Toronto.

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