Queen Street East: 709-737 Queen Street East Broadview Ave to Lewis Street, Riverside

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 Mississauga 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 Mississauga of the Credit, and the Williams Treaties signed with multiple Mississauga 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 Broadview Avenue and goes east along the south side to Lewis Street in the Riverside neighbourhood.

View of Queen Street East, view east across Broadview Avenue April 13, 1918
The north side of Queen Street East, looking east from Broadview and Queen, March 2, 2021. Photo by Joanne Doucette.
Queen Street East, north side, from Goad’s Atlas, 1924 Note that Scadding Street, the north-south street at the right of the plan, was renamed Broadview Avenue. North of Queen the same street was formerly called Don Mills Road. Both were part of the Indigenous trail that followed the high ground on the east side of the Don Valley.
709 Rising Sun Inn, Queen St. E., south side, east of Broadview Ave., Toronto, Ont., by William James Thomson. The inn operated from the 1830s to ca. 1860, TPL
1924 Goad’s Atlas, Queen Street south side from Broadview Avenue to Lewis Street

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
709 Tam O’Shanter Inn, ca. 1863, s.e. corner Broadview and Queen by John McPherson Ross
Holloway Map 1846 – Detail showing the race course at the foot of Broadview Avenue that drew thousands of customers over the Don
709 Dominion Bank, southeast corner of Queen Street and Broadview Avenue – May 15, 1914
709 Corner of Broadview Ave. and Queen St., looking south-east – 1972
Photo by Chris Barker, May 27, 2012. Digitally retouched by Joanne Doucette. Reproduced under a Creative Commons License https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/
The Real Jerk, Toronto Star, March 20, 2002 The Real Jerk moved from Riverside but now has several locations. For more info go to: https://www.therealjerk.com/
The An Sibin Pub, a traditional Irish eatery, opened on the corner, Toronto Star, 15 Nov 2012
709 Queen Street East, March 2, 2021 Photo by Joanne Doucette
The Brickworks Ciderhouse now occupies the corner. Toronto Star, 14 Feb 2018 Toronto Life has a review that entices: https://torontolife.com/food/whats-menu-brickworks-ciderhouse-east-ends-new-shrine-cider/
711-721 Queen Street East, March 2, 2021 Photo by Joanne Doucette
711 Queen Street East, The Bank of Montreal, 1972
Photo March 2, 2021 by Joanne Doucette
719 Rear of 719-721 Queen Street East – June 4, 1913
The Manson family were well known butchers in Riverside and Leslieville. Globe June 8, 1897

Drovers herded cattle along Kingston Road (now Queen Street East) and the Mill Road (now Broadview Avenue). The tired, hungry and thinner cows (and pigs) were fattened up on the grasses growing behind the butcher on the shores of Ashbridges Bay. Then the butchers slaughtered them and sold the meat in the St. Lawrence Market.

Butchers St. Lawrence Market – Canadian Courier, Vol. XI, No. 5, Dec. 30, 1911 Edward Mallon (sign at right) was from another family of butchers in the neighbourhood. Mallon Avenue near Jones and Dundas Street bears their name.
In an effort to outwit the temperance movement, distillers promoted whiskey as medicine. Even in my youth, older men carried home liquor in brown bags and referred to it as their “medicine”. Joanne Doucette, author of this blog James Bleakley is listed at 717 Queen Street East in this ad.
Duffy’s Whiskey, Toronto Star, Feb. 22, 1913
Toronto Star, 08 Feb 1916
James Bleakley was out of luck when Prohibition shut down his liquor and wine store and the neighbourhood bars. Drinking didn’t stop — it just went out of sight. Bootlegging thrived in the East End and rumrunners ran cargoes across the lake to New York State. 715 James Bleakey, Liquor Dealer, Globe, June 22, 1917
A rumrunner beached on the shore of Ashbridge’s Bay.
A much more somber business replaced the liquor store.
Washington Johnston Funeral Home Globe, September 3, 1934
Attempted robbery Chinese restaurant, Globe, Jan. 16, 1930
719 Broadview Cafe, Toronto Star, Dec. 19, 1922

The restaurant owners could fight off robbers, but they were defeated by the economic downturn that followed World War One. With no money in their pockets, people could not afford to eat out.

Detail 719 Rear of 719-721 Queen Street East – June 4, 1913

From 1900 to 1913 The East End experienced the benefits of a world economic boom, despite the Panic of 1907. Most of the housing stock in The East End went up from 1900 to 1930 with many houses constructed in that first decade 1900 to 1910, but the housing shortage was acute and many resorted to living in “the rears”. This gave laneway housing a bad reputation, well-earned, and led to by-laws banning such housing. The City of Toronto only slowly opened its collective mind to laneway housing in the 21st Century. https://www.toronto.ca/city-government/planning-development/planning-studies-initiatives/changing-lanes-the-city-of-torontos-review-of-laneway-suites/

Jobs were to be had close at hand as many new factories sprang up along Carlaw Avenue and Eastern Avenue around 1900. That year the Niagara Parks Commission approved a plan to build a massive hydro-electric generating station on the Canadian side of the Niagara River that would power The East End’s factories with cheap hydroelectricity. The period from 1900 to 1910 was a time of great hopes and dreams for the working-class immigrants. Most men had relatively good jobs in a growing economy. For most they could really believe that they had a chance to get ahead.  If all their dreams could not be lived in their life time, they expected that the lives of their children would continue to improve through education and hard work – the proverbial “elbow grease”. This was a time when the belief in progress permeated all levels of society. They expected good schools and libraries so that they and their children “could get ahead”.

721 Queen Street East, March 2, 2021 photo by Joanne Doucette
Toronto Star, June 9, 1995
723 and 725 Queen Street East, March 2, 2021 Photo by Joanne Doucette
The Finucans were a family of market gardeners. Globe, Dec. 2, 1896
725 Queen Street East, Boots and Bourbon Toronto Star, December 3, 2013
727 to 731A Queen Street East, March 2, 2021 Photo by Joanne Doucette
The morality squad raided both sides of Queen Street in Riverdale. Globe, Nov. 19, 1927
Fraser Radio at 731 Queen Street East sold far more than radios. Toronto Star, October 11, 1950
733-735 Queen Street East, March 2, 2021 Photo by Joanne Doucette
Auditorium and balcony in La Plaza Theatre, Toronto, October 27, 1947
735 Queen Street East, March 2, 2021 Photo by Joanne Doucette
Popcorn machine in La Plaza Theatre, Toronto, October 27, 1947, Archives of Ontario
737 Queen Street East, March 2, 2021 Photo by Joanne Doucette

For more about the history of this Riverside legend go to:



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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