Toronto Through My Lens

Leader Lane

Leader Lane is a short street in downtown Toronto. The street was part of the former city of York, Upper Canada, and runs from Wellington Street East to King Street East, crossing Colborne Street. The street was named Leader Lane after the Toronto Leader, a newspaper whose offices were located there from 1852 to 1878.

King Street East and Leader Lane, circa 1920

Leader Lane was the site of York’s first jail and hanging yard. The original jail, a log building constructed in 1796 at the corner of Colborne Street, has long since been demolished. Several buildings, many over 100 years old, remain on Leader Lane.

Walking north from Wellington Street East…

Some of the buildings have different street addresses but face Leader Lane on one of their sides:

The East Thirty-Six Restaurant, 36 Wellington Street East

P.J. O’Brien Irish Pub & Restaurant, 39 Colborne Street

Tom Jones Steakhouse, 17 Leader Lane

The legendary Tom Jones Steak House is one of Toronto’s oldest and most famous award-winning Steakhouses. The structure is a rare surviving late-19th century three-storey commercial building. It housed the first Grand and Toy store, and for the past 50 years has been the location of the Steak House. The building was constructed in 1830 when the street was called Berezy Street.

This building always catches my eye when I pass through the area because its placement is so awkward and unusual – a lonely, standalone structure surrounded by high-rises and the King Edward Hotel.

Somewhere on Leader Lane

1 Comment

  1. David

    I love this street and the buildings on it. It is so easy to miss though. This whole area of old Toronto gives you an idea how life was back in the day. On a warm summer day, there is nothing like walking around here. Or take lots of pictures (Marvin)

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