Join us as we continue our visual tour of the history of the East End’s main drag from the Don to Victoria Park through Riverside, Leslieville, the Ashbridges neighbourhood, the Beach Triangle and the Beach. A nod of appreciation to the Riverdale Historical Society who has done amazing work to keep local history of Riverdale alive. To find out more about them and to join, go to: https://riverdalehistoricalsociety.com/

Land Acknowledgement

We acknowledge that what we now call Toronto is on the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples and is now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. We also acknowledge that Toronto is covered by Treaty 13 signed with the Mississaugas of the Credit, and the Williams Treaties signed with multiple Mississaugas and Chippewa bands.

By Joanne Doucette. Joanne is a local historian, a past Chair of the Toronto Public Library, founding member of the Leslieville Historical Society, and co-founder of the DisAbled Women’s Network. She is retired and lives in the Coxwell-Gerrard neighbourhood. She is administrator for the Metis Minute Facebook Page and moderates the following Facebook groups: Midway, Toronto Beaches Historical Photos, and the Coxwell-Gerrard Facebook page.

This walk starts at Grant Street and goes east along the north side of Queen Street East to Boulton Avenue in the Riverside neighbourhood.

View of Queen Street East, view east across Broadview Avenue Creator: Harvey R. Naylor Date: June 6, 1981 Archival Citation: Fonds 1526, File 75, Item 75 Credit: City of Toronto Archives http://www.toronto.ca/archives Copyright was transferred to the City of Toronto by the copyright owner.
1924 Goad’s Atlas, Queen Street north side from Grant Street to Boulton Avenue

The slideshow below explains how to understand Goad’s Atlas. It is not a map really, but a plan prepared to show the risk of fire for specific buildings. Why? For the insurance industry to help determine rates. To see Goad’s Atlas from different years online go to:




For more maps of Toronto go to:


1920 City of Toronto Directory
Queen Street looking west to Broadview, no date, TPL
744 Queen Street was the site of Mallendine’s Hall, a popular social space, but also used as a court room and for political meetings.
Postcard from 100 Views of Toronto Down East, 1905
Canadian Bank of Commerce, 1905, Darling & Pearson October 5, 1982 Creator: Harvey R. Naylor Date: October 5, 1982 Archival Citation: Fonds 1526, File 52, Item 133 Credit: City of Toronto Archives http://www.toronto.ca/archives Copyright was transferred to the City of Toronto by the copyright owner.
From Our Rival, The Rascal, 1897
Globe, October 24, 1933
744 Rifle for sale, Globe, October 30, 1936

For more about the designation of 744 Queen Street East go to:



For more about the architects Darling and Pearson, this Torontist article is a great introduction: https://torontoist.com/2011/11/historicist-the-lasting-legacy-of-darling-and-pearson/

For more about the architecture of this area go to:


from The History of the Toronto Fire Department, 1924
Boulton Avenue fire hall
From the Cyclopedia of Farm Animals, 1922
Illustrated Current News, 1918
Border Cities Star, October 26, 1918
There was an Owl Drug Store at 770 Queen Street East. This photo of a billboard is from between 1920 and 1926.
Pepsodent was a new brand in 1922. 700 Queen St., Owl Drug Store, Globe, March 31, 1922
Another new product available for sale at the Owl Drug Store, Kellogg’s Bran ad Globe, Sept. 16, 1919
The Woolworth Store at 792 Queen Street East, April 5, 1934
F.W. Woolworth Company, Wrigley’s Gum window display – [between 1920 and 1926]
The Poulton Block, By GTD Aquitaine (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The celebration was a little premature.
Oops! It all fell down. Collapse of Masonic building, Toronto World, October 25, 1885
798 Queen Street East & Boulton Ave. no date, 1980’s by unknown TPL

The Poulton Block is an example of Gothic Revival architecture. To find out more about this go to: http://www.ontarioarchitecture.com/gothicrevival.html

The addition to the Poulton Block that housed a Toronto Public Library branch.
Photographer unknown, ca. 1901. From The Toronto Public Library Annual Report, 1900, following p. 18.

The first Toronto Public Library branch east of the Don was in Riverside, just west of Leslieville. It owed its existence to public demand and the lobbying of a local businessman and leading member of the Masonic Lodge, William B. Poulton.
In 1888 Poulton, with the assistance of some local men, tore down an old brick house next to the Poulton Block. The Poulton Block, designed by Kennedy, Gaviller and Holland, was home to a Masonic Hall, at the corner of Queen Street East and Bolton Avenue. Poulton put up a new building adjoined to the Masonic Hall in the same Gothic Revival style. This new building became the home for Toronto Public Library’s first branch “over the Don”. The branch was just north of Queen Street East on the west side of Boulton Avenue. The Globe commented, “This is a step in the right direction, as many who patronize the Free Library have to travel all the way to Church street to secure their books” (Globe, July 18, 1888).
This prominent building was constructed for William B. Poulton, a painter and a Mason, primarily for use by the Masonic Orient Lodge. The block was designed by Kennedy, Gaviller & Holland, Architects, in Gothic Revival style. Early occupants of the ground-floor shops included a druggist and a bank. The third floor, marked by Moorish window arches, served as ‘Orient Hall’ until 1912. From 1888 to 1910, the Toronto Public Library’s ‘Eastern Branch’, its first branch east of the Don River, was located in rooms at the back of the building.
2007 Heritage Toronto Plaque
The Eastern Branch of the Toronto Public Library was the only branch east of the Don until 1910 when a Carnegie grant funded the new Riverdale Branch at Broadview and Queen Street East.
For more about the history of libraries in Toronto’s East End go to:

Building at Boulton & Queen looking northwest on Boulton no date, TPL
798 Queen St, at Boulton Ave, looking west, April 5, 1934
The Woodgreen Tabernacle, a Methodist church, dominates the skyline on the left while the Poulton Hall towers on the right.

Please check this website for the next part of this digital tour as we “walk” from the Don River to Victoria Park in a series that links together to form a chain.

My history of Leslieville is available for reading free of charge at:


To contact us go email: leslievillehistory@gmail.com

To visit our Facebook page go to: https://www.facebook.com/groups/821994634490152

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