The Beach looks and feels more like a lakeside resort town, than a big city neighbourhood. 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 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.
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. Its also a popular spot for beach volleyball. 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. The Beach Branch of the Toronto Public Library is right next to Kew Gardens, off Queen Street.
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 1800s, when many of The Beach properties were subdivided. At that time, large parcels of land were set aside for local parks.
Woodbine, Kew Gardens, Scarboro, Balmy Beach and Victoria Park collectively became Toronto's playgrounds by the lake. These amusement parks also attracted many summer cottagers to the area.
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.
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. There is also a reference to the historic Kew Beach one of four historic Beach amusement parks that will be commemorated on the new “The Beach” street signs that will gradually be installed along Queen Street East.
The new street signs coincide with a big push by the business improvement area in The Beach to attract tourists as well as Toronto residents from across the city to this playground by the lake.
To be sure there are an endless amount of things to see and do in The Beach ranging from a stroll along the boardwalk to building sand castles by the lake, or simply enjoying the vast and eclectic number of shops, cafes and restaurants.
There are bus or streetcar routes along Queen Street, Kingston Road, Gerrard Street, Victoria Park Avenue, Main Street, and Woodbine Avenue. All these surface routes connect to Toronto's rapid transit lines and subway stations.
Motorists have the convenience of being located close to the Don Valley Expressway, the Gardiner Expressway, and Lake Shore Boulevard.
By the 1920s, 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 1800s and the early 1900s, have been modernized and are still standing today. However, the majority of The Beach homes were built during the 1920s and 1930s.
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 townhomes. Also included in this mix will be a handful of low-rise condominium apartment buildings.
Public Schools Located Nearby are:
Kew Beach Junior Public School
Norway Junior Public School
Beaches Alternative Junior School
Malvern Collegiate Institute
Adam Beck Junior Public School
Balmy Beach Community School
Williamson Road Junior Public School
Catholic Schools Located Nearby are:
Pre-schools Located Nearby are:
Avalon Children’s Montessori School