This post was prompted by a recent attempt to brand Leslieville/Riverdale/Riverside as: The Lower East Side. The Lower East Side (LES) in NYC does in fact share many similarities with our East End. Much like Leslieville and Riverside, the Lower East side was once a working class community that is now experiencing significant growth (gentrification) with new boutiques, renovated properties, and new developments. Many of Manhattan’s young and affluent are now calling The Lower East Side home. Our East End, although at a similar stage of gentrification in 2012 shares a different place in history. Many globally recognized landmarks occupy the LES while our little piece of the world is less known on a global scale, but adored locally (although Leslieville got a mention in the New York times last year)! Not to say that we’re not as good or inferior but we’re simply different. We have our own brand, voice, community, and our own history.
During my years in Real Estate I’ve seen Toronto Real Estate prices rise, fall, and rise again. I’ve witnessed Real Estate professionals convince their clients to make purchasing decisions based on the “Hey, this is only $650/sqft, they’d sell this same space in NYC for $1200/sqft”. Well, guess what: Toronto is not New York City, it’s not Dubai, it’s not anything but good old Toronto a.k.a. The T. (dot). You cannot make a purchasing decision based on the value of real estate in other Cities that are completely different from Toronto. Leslieville, Riverside, High Park, King West, The Core, Willowdale and others all have strong brands, rather than try to be like NYC, let’s embrace what we already have and shout it out loud!
World Class? No, not yet. Our Transit needs to be beefed up our local Councillors need to be tougher on Developers. Not tougher in a “You can’t build here sort of way” but tougher in a “If you’re going to build here, show us something freaking amazing” sort of way. We can then start the path towards becoming a World class City.
Now let’s forget about this, East End is The Lower East Side nonsense and let Toronto be Toronto. Love our City? I’d love to know why, comment below!