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Leslieville, a Grand Gateway to the green and wild places on the Great Lake Ontario

Video of a little trek I took from Jones Avenue and Queen via Queen Street to Leslie Street, via Leslie to Lake Shore Boulevard.

Some residents of Toronto’s downtown east side neighbourhood known as Leslieville, want the City of Toronto to install cycling infrastructure along Leslie Street when it is redeveloped this year.

This video goes a measure to explain why, it’s dangerous for bicyclists on Leslie – that’s why you don’t see very many of them. But soon, with all the parks opening to the south and a gentrification ongoing in the neighbourhood – this street will be teaming with cyclists… because it is one of only a few Gateways across the Great Wall – Lake Shore Boulevard!

This is a pretty slow Saturday afternoon in February, no snow, no snow banks – just a hellish westerly gusting to about 60 km/hr..

Just your typical Bike Ride in Toronto on a Saturday afternoon in February


The TTC is building a ‘Car House’ (the Ashbridges Bay Light Rail Vehicle (LRV) Maintenance and Storage Facility – ) on a plot of land on the South-East corner of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard – and to connect this cleaning a maintenance facility to the Toronto Transit Authority’s street car grid they are putting in street car tracks on Leslie Street from Queen Street, South down to approximately Commissioners Road.

Via Wikipedia - Streetcar track reconstruction at Bathurst Street and Queen Street.

Building a Grand Union at Bathurst Street and Queen Street West - 1997 (?)


The project is a major construction job:

1) A ‘three-quarter Grand Union’ at Queen Street and Leslie Street – so the new LRT cars travelling north can turn east or west – and so cars on Queen Street, traveling in either direction, can turn south to get back to the Car House;

2) Leslie street will need a new foundation to support the new LRT vehicles, each of which weighs in at 48,200 kg. The new vehicles are 30.2 metres, or 99 feet long – 25% longer than the longest street cars Toronto has now (the ‘articulated’, ALRV) which is 23 m or 75 feet. The TTC ssays they are ripping up the entire width of the street, sidewalks included.

3) The intersection of Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard has all kinds of infrastructure under it. I’m not privy to the details, but I’m assuming water and sewer, electrical, fiber-optic… . Apparently many of the conduit for these elements will not stand up to the stresses that a street car right of way over top of them will create. That means they’re going to have to dig deep and build steel re-enforced concrete conduits for all these various elements – and make sure all are accessible by maintenance crews from a variety of city departments.


So after all this – can we get separated bike lanes on Leslie Street so folks can cycle safely to:

-the Waterfront Cycling Trail (formerly Martin Goodman Trail);
-the new Port Lands Parks; and,
-the new Tommy Thompson Park on Leslie Spit

The Transportation Department says the road is too narrow for Bike Lanes. The City of Toronto agrees – there is no way to make the street wider, and besides the road will be a TTC right of way in 10-15 years as Leslie becomes a service route. And the TTC says no, we can’t make the street wider – not in this project – the 2 year environmental study is already done – There’ No Time!!!

And they’re all correct … but we still need separated cycling infrastructure in order to help get parents and their children south of the great barrier, the Great Wall – Lake Shore Boulevard.

What to do?

We need your in-put.

The Leslie Street Complete Streets Working Group is meeting periodically and has lobbied all concerned about this issue. We are now at the end of the City of Toronto mandated, ‘Pubic Consultation Process’ – with no ground given on bike infrastructure. Now I think, we enter a phase of political organizing – we have to get a ground swell of popular support for cycling infrastructure on Leslie Street.

One suggestion, for the short term – just paint on bike lanes, or sharrows – for now, then…

Please help – us, all together, we can create a better Leslie Street. Perhaps, as I have dreamt – a Grand Gateway to the green and wild paces along the Great Lake Ontario – just 850 metres to the south.

And a new identity for Leslieville and South Riverdale – place names that will be known by tourists around the world.

For more more information, or to get involved – Contact me at, michaelholloway111(at)gmail(dot)com


See specifications for the new (LRT) street cars: TTC -

Also at the TTC:

See the old ones:  Wikipedia:  ”Toronto streetcar system” —> 3.0 “Rolling Stock” —> 3.1 “Streetcars purchased by the TTC” (click on the links in the “Type” column to see the different vintages) -

This article was written under the video while it was up-loading – to see it there click on the video, or this link -


Posted: February 25th, 2012
Filed under: Uncategorized
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One Comment on “Leslieville, a Grand Gateway to the green and wild places on the Great Lake Ontario”

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