On a sleepy street lined with residential homes in Toronto, there is a quirky garden that never fails to attract attention. After her husband died of an untimely death, Shirley Sumaiser started to decorate her garden with dolls in an effort to quell her grief. As the years passed, Shirley’s doll collection grew so large that it filled virtually every square inch of her fenced-in front yard.
Shirley’s house, located in Leslieville, is known as the Leslieville Doll House. The residents of Leslieville take great pride in Shirley’s unusual garden. Onlookers can spot dolls of pop culture icons such as Mr. Potato Head, the Cat in the Hat, the Incredible Hulk, and the Little Mermaid. It is clear that Shirley has a sweet tooth, as there is a likeness of virtually every flavor of M&M on display.
The doll garden also features a few weathered baby dolls, some with missing limbs, that could easily inspire a series of nightmarish horror movies. Thankfully, most of the dolls in Shirley’s front yard are sweet, smiling figures that will instantly lift your spirits. If you stroll past the Leslieville Doll House during the holiday season, you can expect to see illuminated snowmen, candy canes, and several jolly Santas. Even on a regular night, the Leslieville Doll House is illuminated by a series of colorful lights.
Visitors are welcome to take photos in front of the Leslieville Doll House and to survey Shirley’s extensive doll collection from a respectful distance. The interior of the Leslieville Doll House does not feature any special displays and is off-limits. The residents of Leslieville request that visitors behave as they would in their own neighborhood. Pretending to be possessed by one of the Leslieville Doll House’s spookier baby dolls is not an acceptable reason for unruly behavior.
37 Bertmount Avenue