LESLIEVILLE PLAYGROUND CRAWL

Remember when you were in your 20’s and perhaps did a pub crawl or two?  Stopping at various drinking establishments, grabbing $1 pizza along the way and stumbling home?

Well this is basically the same except it’s during the day – the morning to be precise (that time of day when you used to sleep off a hang over from said pub crawl), you drink coffee instead of alcohol, and the $1 pizza is now a buttery croissant or a fancy panini.

Oh and it involves children and playgrounds.

Leslieville is set up well for some fantastic food and coffee that keeps you busy and amazing playgrounds within walking distance of said coffee and food.

BONUS:  if you do this ‘crawl’ on a Wednesday you can make an air-con pit stop at the Saulter branch of the library for Storytime at 10:30.

First:  get mama set up with coffee and a croissant

BONJOUR BRIOCHE

Located at Degrassi & Queen on the NW side, this Leslieville/Riverside café institution serves up the best croissants in the city.

You can grab a coffee and croissant from Tuesday to Friday for $3.50.  I often get a couple pain au chocolat for the kids (because we are fancy like that.  Also because they work as excellent bribes and distraction tools) and a sandwich for me for later.

They used to be cash only but they have finally entered the 21st century and now take card!  Hooray!

812 Queen Street East

NOW OFF TO PLAY!

McCleary Playground

This is a small playground on the corder on McCleary and Queen – just a three minute walk from Bonjour Brioche.

Although my son might be getting to big for this one, he still enjoys playing in the natural elements and my daughter loves the slide that isn’t too scary. They both love playing in the sand.

ADDRESS:

75 McGee Street (at Queen and McGee)

HOW TO GET HERE:

We park off of Queen Street and walk around.

Streetcars:  501, 301, 502 and 503 stop nearby

SURFACE:

A mix of grass, woodchips and sand.

BATHROOMS & WATER FOUNTAIN:

No bathroom but the Queen Saulter library is close by.

Yes to the water fountain.

Degrassi Street Park

When I first moved to Toronto, I could not pass this street without singing the opening lines of Degrassi Junior High (you know – “wake up in the morning, feeling shy and lonely, gee I gotta go to school”).

Now I can almost  take the kids to this fantastic little playground without singing.

Tucked away at Degrassi and Dundas, this modern playground is great for my climbing son, my sand-loving daughter and their shade-seeking mama.

It’s gated (hooray for contained playgrounds!), has a big grassy area for picnics and has lots of shade for those hot days.

ADDRESS:

125 Degrassi Street

HOW TO GET HERE:

It’s a short walk up from Bonjour Brioche but if you are coming just to this park with a car – there is plenty of street parking around it.

SURFACE:

Woodchips and grass

BATHROOMS AND WATER FOUNTAIN:

Neither

Morse Street Playground

This is a new one for me!  It’s new because it’s recently been refurbished and we all like brand new playgrounds!

This is a bit further than my other two on the list but makes for a nice walk (11 minutes to be exact) from Bonjour Brioche.  It’s tucked away south of Eastern and north of Lakeshore on a one way street.  So if driving you need to approach it through the back alley that runs between Logan and Morse.

It’s great because it’s (a) new and (b) has lots of options for different aged kids.  There are swings, lots of things to climb, slides PLUS a gentle splash pad (I say gentle in that it’s good for little toddlers), a wading pool and an awesome sand pit that has water so your kids can get good and dirty.

There is also a little path so beginner scooters or bikers can practise their skills.  AND the picnic tables have umbrellas which means shade! I do love that shade!

ADDRESS:

76 Morse Street

HOW TO GET HERE:

It’s tricky to find to find at first – it’s behind a bit of an industrial area and busy Eastern.  But once you find it, it’s very quiet and a great way to spend a morning.  There is lots of free street parking on Morse.

SURFACE:

Woodchips and grass

BATHROOMS AND WATER FOUNTAIN:

Yes to both.

Joel Weeks Park

This is a very small and quiet playground tucked behind Queen Street and Broadview.

I like it because there is a really nice shaded area for a picnic, wide sidewalks for the kids to practise scooting, and a spray pad that is gentle – perfect for little kids.

ADDRESS:

10 Thompson Street

HOW TO GET HERE:

Set among a neighbourhood of townhouses between Dundas, Broadview and Queen.

We park on the street for free but it is accessible by the 501, 503, 301 and 304 streetcar.

SURFACE:

Woodchips and cement for the splash pad.

BATHROOMS AND WATER FOUNTAIN:

It has a water fountain but no bathrooms.

PLACES TO EAT ALONG THE WAY

Merchants of Green Coffee

Tucked behind Joel Weeks park north of Queen and west of Broadview is the AMAZING coffee shop that has incredible incredible incredible beans. And all Fair Trade!

ADDRESS:

2 Matilda Street

Dark Horse Espresso

Just one of many of this coffee shop in the city, has really bold coffee, GREAT iced Americano’s and have flavourful salads to go (thanks to FEAST), yummy grilled sandwiches, and baked goods (on Sundays they have a a local lady who makes the most insanely delicious cinnamon buns).

ADDRESS:

630 Queen Street East

St. John’s Bakery

Near Joel Weeks on Broadview is this wonderful bakery that <if> you happen to be in the neighbourhood you should check out!

Beautiful traditional French breads, scones, cookies, and the BEST hot cross buns at Easter.  They have hot coffee as well.

It’s a non-profit bakery that supports their mission of helping marginalized communities.

ADDRESS:

153 Broadview Ave

The Cannonball

Across the street from Dark Horse is this cozy cafe that has great coffee and incredibly delicious bagel sandwiches.

ADDRESS:

641 Queen East

White Lily Diner

If you need a sugar-filled pick me-up between playgrounds, the White Lily Diner offers DELICIOUS fresh-made donuts that change flavour daily. And they are sooooooooooo good.

ADDRESS:

678 Queen East

Tabule on Queen

Next door to Bonjour Brioche is this restaurant that has three other locations in the city.

I simply order food via Ritual and grab it on the way to the next playground.  Haloumi salad and Arnabeet (fried cauliflower that is AMAZEBALLS) are great for on the go.

ADDRESS:

810 Queen East

Brick Street Bakery

Hidden around the corner at Logan and Queen, this bakery makes incredible baked goods (including sausage rolls and pasties – which my kids love) and SCRUMPTIOUS made-to-order sandwiches (my fav is their turkey complete with stuffing and cranberry sauce).

ADDRESS:

255 Logan Ave

Leslieville Pumps

Also on the corner of Queen and Carlaw is this adorable, retro gas station that serves AMAZEBALLS BBQ.

Yes.

A gas station that serves BBQ.

I love the owners here.  They got their inspiration in one of my favourite places (Whistler) and brought the idea back to Toronto.  And the food is AWESOME.

So is their drip coffee!

ADDRESS:

929 Queen Street East

The Food Dudes Pantry

This is one of my most favourite places to grab lunch while my kids play at Morse Park.  It’s located in the industrial area on Carlaw south of Eastern.

Open at noon, this place gets a long line at 12:05.  There is a fantastic selection of healthy and super flavourful food (and unhealthy and super flavourful macaroni and cheese).  If you bring your own container you get a discount!

ADDRESS:

24 Carlaw Ave

District 28

Another fantastic, healthy<ish> option near Morse Park (and again in an industrial area) is District 28.  Serving bowls full of veggies and protein, made-to-order sandwiches as well as great coffee.

ADDRESS:

28 Logan Ave

There are more playgrounds in Leslieville and much more coffee and cafés – you really can’t go wrong!

I hope this inspires you to spend a whole day exploring Leslieville.  From coffee to playgrounds to cookies – I promise it’s delicious.  And if you do last the whole day then you definitely deserve a glass of wine at Chez Nous!

Happy adventures,

Sarah

By |2019-08-08T17:41:17-05:00August 8th, 2019|City Wonderland, Playground Survival|0 Comments

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