Ledbury is a neighbourhood in transition. The first generation of Ledbury families have been gradually moving out of the neighbourhood and young urban professional families are moving in. The ripple effect in this change in demographics can be seen in the flurry of building activity currently taking place in this neighbourhood as the original housing stock is gradually being replaced with expensive custom built homes. The local parks have also undergone recent improvements and Avenue Road has emerged as one of Toronto's finest shopping districts.
Ledbury was a small farming community up until the early 1900's when the first houses in this neighbourhood were built along Bedford Park and Woburn Avenues, on the site of the old Lawrence farm.
The Ledbury area north of Woburn Avenue had been the former hobby farm of Alfred St.Germain, the successful publisher of the old Toronto Evening Journal. The St. Germain property was subdivided in 1922 by the Melrose Realty Company under the name Melrose Park.
Melrose Realty president H.A. Clark selected the street names for the Melrose Park subdivision. St. Germain was chosen for obvious reasons, while Old Orchard Grove recalls the St. Germain apple orchard. Deloraine, Melrose, Marmion, and Falkirk are street names adopted from the works of Sir Walter Scott, of whom Clark was an avid fan.
Ledbury's residential development was not fully complete until the 1950's when Ledbury school and Ledbury Park were added to this neighbourhood.
Ledbury is checkered with an abundance of real estate signs reflecting the large amount of new home construction taking place within this neighbourhood.
Ledbury's original housing stock dates from the 1910's to the 1950's. These houses include tudor style bungalows on prime thirty to fifty foot wide lots. Ledbury's bungalows are rapidly being replaced by new homes. The original Ledbury houses also include small pockets of two-storey detached and semi-detached homes.
The custom built new homes in this neighbourhood range in size from approximately two thousand to four thousand square feet. These homes generally include lavish interior custom finishings.
The exteriors are generally brick, stone or stucco and feature many decorative accents such as large bay windows, juliet balconies, professional landscaping, interlock driveways and elaborate front porches decorated by doric columns, and fanciful wrought iron railings.
Avenue Road is one of Toronto's most popular shopping districts. There is a tremendous mix of shopping here including gourmet food shops, two large video stores, gift shops, fashion stores, home design and furnishing shops, a discount supermarket, pharmacies, children's stores, sports stores, beauty salons, antique shops, professional offices and a large variety of restaurants.
The Bathurst Street shopping district is much different in tone than Avenue Road. This shopping district includes Jewish food and gift shops, delicatessens, restaurants, and a handful of popular bakeries that serve up freshly baked Montreal style bagels.
Ledbury Park, located in the centre of this neighbourhood, has recently been redesigned and has earned a Canadian Architect Award of Excellence for its innovative approach to neighbourhood park planning. The focal point of this park is a rectangular shaped reflecting pool and skating rink that is linked to a swimming pool, and a water play area designed specifically for young children. There are also a number of smaller children's playgrounds contained within the Ledbury neighbourhood.
The Armour Heights Community Centre, located at 2141 Avenue Road has dance and fitness programs for adults and a myriad of programs for toddlers and preschoolers. The Armour Heights Public Library is located inside the community centre.
The Morris Winchevsky Centre located at 585 Cranbrooke is a secular Jewish organization that has a children's sunday school and a senior's club as well as hosting a variety of educational and cultural events. The ultra-modern Barbara Frum Public Library at 20 Covington Road has a wide range of facilities including a 150 seat auditorium.
Ledbury residents are well served by public transit. The Bathurst bus connects passengers to the Bloor-Danforth subway line, while the Avenue Road bus connects passengers to the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line. The Lawrence station on the Yonge subway line is a good exercise walk from this neighbourhood.
Ledbury residents can drive downtown in approximately twenty-five minutes via Avenue Road. The Avenue Road on-ramp to Highway 401 is located just beyond the northern boundary of this neighbourhood. Highway 401 links up with a network of major highways leading into and out of the greater Toronto area.