About the Neighbourhood
- The Beach looks and feels more like a lakeside resort town. In the summertime, thousands of Torontonians and tourists flock to The Beach to walk on The Boardwalk, exercise along the Martin Goodman Trail, relax by the water, or shop and dine at the colourful stores and restaurants along Queen Street.
- The beach itself is a single uninterrupted stretch of sandy shoreline bounded by the R. C. Harris Water Treatment Plant (locally known as the water works).
- A few years back a debate took place along among local Beach residents as to what the actual name of their neighbourhood should be. Local residents agreed on one thing; they wanted some clarity and consistency on this issue. A vote was held to either go with The Beach name or the Beaches. Both were commonly used however The Beach won out in a close vote. On May 21st the first new street sign was unveiled at the corner of Queen Street East and Lee Avenue proudly proclaiming The Beach. The artwork for this attractive blue and white street sign appropriately includes seagulls in flight.
- The Beach was first settled by the Ashbridge family who came to Canada from Philadelphia, in 1793. Ashbridge’s Bay Park is named after these pioneers. The Ashbridges, and a handful of other families, farmed this district until the latter part of the 1800’s, when many of The Beach properties were subdivided. At that time, large parcels of land were set aside for local parks.
- Woodbine, Kew Gardens, Scarborough, Balmy Beach and Victoria Park collectively became Toronto’s playgrounds by the lake. These amusement parks also attracted many summer cottagers to the area.
- By the 1920’s, the City of Toronto was expanding eastward and The Beach was subdivided for year round residential development. Over the years The Beach has emerged as one of Toronto’s most popular neighbourhoods.
- The Beach has the greatest variety of architectural house styles of any Toronto neighbourhood. The charm of these homes is accentuated by the tree-lined streets that wind their way down to the lake.
- Many of the original frame Beach cottages built in the latter half of the 1800’s and the early 1900’s, have been modernized and are still standing today. However, the majority of The Beach homes were built during the 1920’s and 1930’s.
- The former Greenwood racetrack site located at the foot of Woodbine Avenue is now the site of a large new home development known as The Beach. This large collection of heritage inspired custom built homes will include detached and semi-detached houses, and town homes. Also included in this mix will be a handful of low-rise condominium apartment buildings.
- Adam Beck Jr., 400 Scarborough Rd., (416) 393-1682 (Public School)
- Balmy Beach Jr., 14 Pine Ave., (416) 393-15 (Public School)
- Beaches Alternative, JK-Gr.4, 50 Swanwick Ave., (416) 393-1451 (Public School)
- Glen Ames Sr., 18 Williamson Rd., (416) 393-1800 (Public School)
- Kew Beach Jr., 101 Kippendavie Ave., (416) 393-1810 (Public School)
- Kimberley Jr., 50 Swanwick Ave., (416) 393-1450 (Public School)
- Norway Jr., 55 Corley Ave., (416) 393-1700 (Public School)
- Williamson Road Jr., 24 Williamson Road., (416) 393-1740 (Public School)
- Malvern Collegiate Institute, 55 Malvern Ave., (416) 393-1480 (Public High School)
- St.Dennis, 67 Balsam Ave., (416) 393-5310 (Separate School)
- St. John, 780 Kingston Rd., (416) 393-5220 (Separate School)
- Notre Dame, 12 Malvern Ave., (416) 393-5501 (Separate High School)
- The Beaches’ most famous landmark is The Boardwalk. The Boardwalk is skirted by the Martin Goodman Trail which spans the city’s waterfront from The Beach to the Humber River.
- Ashbridge’s Bay Park is a good spot for family picnics and windsurfing.
- Glen Stewart Park off Queen Street has a picturesque ravine and nature trail.
- Donald Summerville Pool at the foot of Woodbine Avenue overlooks the lake and includes an Olympic size pool, a diving pool and a children’s pool.
- Kew Gardens has one of Toronto’s most active tennis programs with 10 flood lit courts. This park also has a baseball diamond, an artificial ice rink, a children’s playground, a wading pool and a concert bandstand.
- Queen Street is the most commercial of The Beach shopping districts. Many of these stores and restaurants have a beach motif that caters to the tourist trade.
- The shops on Kingston Road also have a beach flavour; however they attract a more local clientele than the stores on Queen Street.
- The social centre of The Beach neighbourhood is Kew Gardens, which hosts many annual events including a Christmas tree and Menorah lighting festival, a Jazz festival, and an Arts and Crafts show.
- Kew Gardens, at the foot of Lee Avenue. This park includes a large children’s playground and wading pool in the north-west corner.
- In the winter, there’s the outdoor ice-skating rink. The Beaches Library, one of three Toronto Carnegie libraries, is located in the north east corner.
- Leuty Lifeguard Station, on the beach at the foot of Leuty Avenue. This Beach landmark was built in the 1920s.
- R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, Queen Street at the foot of Victoria Park: Built in the 1930s, this beautiful Art Deco building is Toronto’s largest water treatment facility and has been designated a national historic civil engineering site. It’s been featured in a number of films and TV shows.
- The Kew Williams House, also known as the Kew Gardener’s cottage, is located at 30 Lee Avenue and is one of the most photographed buildings in the Beach. It was originally owned by the owner of Kew Gardens.
- The Beaches International Jazz Festival, Kew Gardens, is a free open-air event mainly showcasing Canadian jazz that takes place the last weekend of July each year, drawing over 800,000 visitors.
- The Toronto Beaches Lions Easter Parade takes place Easter Sunday along Queen Street, from Victoria Park Avenue to Woodbine Avenue.
- Bloomsday Toronto. A one-day celebration of James Joyce’s novel Ulysses, occurring on (of course!) June 16th each year.
- There are fireworks at Ashbridges Bay on Victoria Day (the Monday proceeding May 25) and Canada Day.
- The Beaches community is served by several locally distributed newspapers including the Beach Metro Community News and the Beach-Riverdale Mirror
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