To some, the Beaches are a favourite sandy destination in Toronto where you come to get your summer sunbathing accomplished, in between a couple games of beach volleyball and casual strolls down the boardwalk. Count me in this devoted bunch. For others, this neighbourhood — located east of downtown within the Old City of Toronto — isn’t just a breezy or cheerfully brisk getaway situated inside the range of metropolitan limits, but home itself!
The Real Estate Scoop
Also known simply as just the Beach, the quarter lives up to its namesake in looking every bit as much like a lakeside resort town as it feels like one. And as it relates to the cottage-like properties which populate its side streets, both large-scale and semi-detached Edwardian, Victorian and new-style houses are favoured. Incidentally, in recent years, denser housing stemming from new development has prompted local residents to not only protest the altering of the community’s traditional aesthetic, but even seek heritage designations for specific at-risk thoroughfares. Before I forget to mention it, a few row-houses and low-rise apartment buildings can additionally be found throughout the Beaches. And yes, condos have made their way here as well, but in numbers well below the city average. That said, some experts suggest this stat be taken with a grain of salt due to the small sample size. Finally, by my last count, the Beach currently offers over twenty assorted elementary, secondary and private schools, as well as daycare services.
The Beaches comprise the heart of Queen Street East’s commercial district. The area is subsequently characterized by a large number of colourful speciality stores. Due to their independent nature, these shops frequently change tenants, in effect causing the streetscape to alter year after year, often times in an extreme manner. Amazing dining and drinking establishments obviously run the gamut here, too.
As for the neighbourhood’s eponymous beach itself, it’s a single uninterrupted stretch of shoreline — incorporating Balmy Beach, Scarboro Beach, Kew Beach and Woodbine Beach — bounded by the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, which itself has been featured in numerous films and television programs. The aforementioned boardwalk runs parallel to most of its length, although a portion of the Martin Goodman Trail bike path also does. For their part, Woodbine Beach and Kew-Balmy Beach have been certified not only for cleanliness, but swimming.
The Beaches even offers an extensive park system along the waterfront, including Kew Gardens — a social hub that hosts many annual events. It is the only park that extends up to Queen Street.
The Neighbourhood in Photos