Leaside is a most comprehensive look at the people, significant events and built heritage, all of which contributed to the creation of this distinctive community. Named after John Lea, a successful farmer, whose house, built in 1829, is believed to be the first brick house in York County, Leaside grew from a railway settlement into a prosperous urban town. With its roots embedded in the history of three railways, Leaside has a unique industrial heritage that played a key role in the war effort during both World Wars, including its being the site of munitions plants, a wooden plane factory, and a base for the Royal Flying Corps. Leaside was also home to the Durant Motors of Canada, and later the Nash cars, Canada Wire and Cable, and the popular Thorncliffe Race Track. Did you know that Canada’s first airmail delivery touched down in Leaside and that an Olympic calibre ski jump once operated in the Don Valley? Jane Pitfield’s Leaside represent a nostalgic journey into the heritage of a most remarkable neighbourhood, still proudly retaining its identity as part of Toronto.
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About the Author
Jane Pitfield, a well-known former city councillor, took up residence in Leaside in 1984. She quickly became involved with the community organizations, was elected as school trustee and later, as part of the council for the City of Toronto. Her interest in history is reflected through her active support of heritage initiatives in her community, and, in particular, her generous support of the Leaside Branch of the Toronto Public Library. She is married and has four children.