Updated: Jul 13, 2019
Surfaces: sand, concrete, grass.
Leslieville has changed perhaps more than any other neighbourhood in Toronto over the past generation.
When I was a kid, it felt seedy, grimy, run-down. It was the stretch of Queen Street that you only went through if you were on your way to the Beaches. Now, of course, it’s largely gentrified (whether that’s a good thing or not is debatable) but hints of the old Leslieville persist. There’s the occasional pawnbrokers, the weird downstairs Dollarama, and of course The Duke at Queen and Leslie, which Indie88 picked as one of the city’s best dive bars.
Leslie Grove Park feels a bit like the Leslieville I remember from my childhood.
The equipment is old and vaguely grizzled. It’s the playground equivalent of a regular at The Duke. You get the feeling that it’s seen things. If it could talk, it would take a long drag on its DuMaurier and tell you a tale or two.
There’s evidence of what used to be a baseball diamond in the park’s northwest corner. There’s a Pac-Man-shaped wading pool featuring faded paintings of aquatic life. This was probably a great park 15 or 20 years ago, and it deserves a revamp.
Having said all that, it was heavily populated when we were there, and the kids were all having a great time. Kids don’t generally care about old equipment, of course. It feels like Leslieville loves this park well. Maybe one day soon the municipal government will love it back with a bit of funding.