Perhaps because of its location, far from much-hyped and highly publicized West Queen West and Ossington, Leslieville has been quietly gentrifying into a colorful and exciting strip of interior design shops, hip eateries, funky boutiques, and independent cafés that is often labeled by trend-spotters (much to the disdain of locals) as Toronto's Brooklyn. Interior design shops stand out, but the vibe has more of a community feel due to a tight-knit collection of shop owners with regular customers. And like the nearby Beach neighborhood, the sidewalks are often filled with baby strollers and dog walkers.

It's quaint at times, with dusty antiques shops, old-fashioned ice cream parlors, and the occasional old-school appliance shop thrown into the mix, but the offerings lean more toward local designer boutiques, cute bakeries, organic butcher shops, cheese emporia, homey diners, chic eateries, and, in keeping with the chilled-out vibe of the area, an unusually large selection of independent coffee shops.

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