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Gerrard & Carlaw Gerrard & Leslie Gerrard & Greenwood
Queen & Carlaw Leslieville Queen & Greenwood
Lakeshore & Carlaw Lakeshore & Leslie Lakeshore & Greenwood


Storefronts on Queen Street East in Leslieville.

Leslieville is a study in constrasts. Although much of Queen Street East between the Don River and the Beaches is rather run-down and shabby after years of industrial abuse, gentrification is making definite inroads here. New and restored buildings are interspersed among the less well-maintained buildings. On the same block, you can find trendy boutiques and old automotive shops.

Jimi Hendrix picture on the wall of a guitar store.

This neighborhood was home to Alexander Muir, first principal of Leslieville Public School. In 1867, inspired by a falling leaf in Leslie Nursery, he wrote the following patriotic song. It earned Muir second place in a patriotic song contest run by the Caledonian Society of Montréal.

The Maple Leaf Forever

In Days of yore,
From Britain's shore
Wolfe the dauntless hero came
And planted firm Britannia's flag
On Canada's fair domain.
Here may it wave,
Our boast, our pride
And joined in love together,
The thistle, shamrock, rose entwined,
The Maple Leaf Forever.

The Maple Leaf
Our Emblem Dear,
The Maple Leaf Forever.
God save our Queen and heaven bless,
The Maple Leaf Forever.

At Queenston Heights and Lundy's Lane
Our brave fathers side by side
For freedom's home and loved ones dear,
Firmly stood and nobly died.
And so their rights which they maintained,
We swear to yeild them never.
Our watchword ever more shall be
The Maple Leaf Forever


Our fair Dominion now extends
From Cape Race to Nootka Sound
May peace forever be our lot
And plenty a store abound
And may those ties of love be ours
Which discord cannot sever
And flourish green for freedom's home
The Maple Leaf Forever


On merry England's far-famed land
May kind Heaven sweetly smile;
God bless Old Scotland evermore,
And Ireland's Emerald Isle!
Then swell the song, both loud and long,
Till rocks and forest quiver,
God save our Queen, and Heaven bless
The Maple Leaf forever!


Corner store at Queen Street East and Coady Avenue.

At the corner of Memory Lane and Laing Street stands a maple tree near a cottage purported to be Muir's home. According to an aprocryphal legend, this tree was the inspiration for "The Maple Leaf Forever". Although some people in English Canada wanted this song to be Canada's national anthem, it was considered too British to represent this country's diverse origins.

In 1980, parliament proclaimed "O Canada" as Canada's official national anthem. "O Canada" was written almost a hundred years earlier by Calixa Lavallée, with words by Adolphe-Basile Routhier, and gradually became popular with Canadians throughout the country.

View down a side street.

In 1965, almost a century after "The Maple Leaf Forever" was written, Canada adopted a new flag with a red maple leaf proudly and prominently placed in its center. The maple leaf was first proposed as a symbol of Canada back in 1824. The colors red and white were adopted as Canada's national colors in 1921 by royal proclamation. (Prior to 1965, there was no official national flag. Instead, the "Canadian Red Ensign", in various forms, was used.)

"The flag is the symbol of the nation's unity, for it, beyond any doubt, represents all the citizens of Canada without distinction of race, language, belief or opinion."
Honourable Maurice Bourget, Speaker of the Senate, February 15, 1965.

Leslieville street sign.