The Beaches is one of the most in-demand neighbourhoods in all of Toronto due to its prime waterfront location right off Lake Ontario. Located on the eastern border of Toronto, The Beaches is a lively waterfront community with beautiful housing options that provide its residents a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of city life. While The Beaches is removed from the busy downtown core, it still has great access to transportation via Lakeshore Boulevard, so if you wanted to, you could be in Downtown Toronto in under a half an hour. There are also bus or streetcar routes along Queen Street, Kingston Road, Gerrard Street, Victoria Park Avenue, Main Street, and Woodbine Avenue, which connect The Beaches to the rest of the city. The proximity to the water, amazing shopping options along Queen Street East, and the strong selection of schools makes The Beaches an extremely attractive landing spot for singles, families, young professionals, people entering retirement and really anyone looking for a home in Toronto.
Where is The Beaches?
The Beaches sits between Coxwell Avenue and Victoria Park Avenue with Kingston Road serving as the neighbourhood’s northern border and Lake Ontario serving as the neighbourhood’s southern boundary. The Beaches, as the name suggests, is characterized by its selection of great beaches. The four beaches in the area from west to east are Woodbine Beach, Kew Beach, Balmy Beach, and Silver Birch Beach. These beaches are all incredibly popular in the summer months when people from the city are looking to escape the heat. Sitting on the eastern most part of Toronto, The Beaches has easy access to Scarborough and its many attractions including Scarborough Bluffs, The Scarborough Town Centre, and the Toronto Zoo.
A Brief History of the Beaches
The area along Lake Ontario that would come to be known as “The Beaches” was originally settled by the Ashbridge Family in 1793. The Ashbridge Family immigrated to Canada from Philadelphia and helped establish a small farming settlement along the water with a few other prominent families in the late 18th century. By the late 1800s, The Beaches area was subdivided, and some residential and commercial development had begun, turning the neighbourhood into a popular summer destination for people coming from the city. In the 1920s, Toronto expanded eastward, and The Beaches was folded into the city limits allowing for year-round development in the area. The public boardwalk and other major facilities were opened in 1932 and around this same time there was a major uptick in residential development in the neighbourhood.
The Types of Homes in The Beaches
Most of the residential area in The Beaches is made up of houses, although you can also find a scattering of low-rise apartment buildings that provide a more affordable option for people looking to rent in the area. While most of the housing stock was built in the 1920s and 1930s, some of the older beach cottages from the late 1800s still stand having been remodeled and modernized with the latest amenities. The houses in The Beaches are mostly semi-detached and large-scale Victoria, Edwardian, and new style houses with modest lot sizes. Due to the extreme popularity of the area, in recent years, there has been construction of densely packed row houses in the neighbourhood to expand the housing selection.
Making the Move to The Beaches
The Beaches is an alluring destination for all kinds of people. More and more young professionals are working from home and looking to move to areas outside of the densely packed city center. The Beaches provides a picturesque neighbourhood close to the water that has a good mix of excitement and relaxation. Young families will be drawn to The Beaches because of the parks, recreational activities, and strong school system. The Beaches is even a great area for people looking to retire but who do not want to leave the city outright. Demand for property in The Beaches is always extremely high and that demand is reflected in the housing costs, which are some of the highest in the city. If you are looking to sell your home in The Beaches area and capitalize on the competitive market, now is the time. Even in a beautiful neighbourhood like the Beaches, home staging is key to a successful home sale. Whether you are moving to a new home, staging your current house for sale, or just looking to declutter your garage, self-storage can be a great solution.
Right now, Storwell Self Storage is offering my clients an exclusive offer of 4 weeks of free self-storage at any of their locations. Storwell has locations across the GTA in Mississauga, Etobicoke, and one location in Scarborough on Markham Road and the 401, which is just a short drive north of The Beaches. If you need self-storage for your next move, you can call or visit a Storwell facility in person to demo a unit.
Storwell Self Storage
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Things to do in The Beaches
The Beaches is a lively area with plenty of events and activities to keep you entertained. On the corner of Beech Avenue and Queen Street East is the historic Fox Theatre. This venue was built in 1914 and is North America’s oldest continuously operated movie theatre. The Fox Theatre has been a champion of independent cinema for over 100 years.
Each July, The Beaches is taken over by the Beaches International Jazz Festival. The month-long event takes place along Queen Street East and is one of the largest free jazz festivals in Canada with nearly one million people attending each year.
One of the main advantages of living in The Beaches neighbourhood is being close to the water. The Ashbridge Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) helps to get as many people in the community out on the water as possible. The ABYC is one of Toronto’s premier sailing clubs that provides programs for novice and experienced sailors alike.
Parks and Recreation in The Beaches
The main attraction to The Beaches is obviously the beach itself. The beachfront spans nearly three kilometers along Lake Ontario and is a perfect place to spend a hot summer day. On the western edge of The Beaches, you have Woodbine Beach, which is the largest of the four beaches in the area. Woodbine Beach Park is located right off the water and has a children’s play structure, an Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool, and several beach volleyball courts. Woodbine Beach Park is also the launching point of Martin Goodman Trail, which follows the boardwalk along the entire length of the beach. Woodbine Beach Park is also home to the Beach Community Edible Gardens which grows food for local food banks and pollinators. Visitors to the gardens are free to grab a snack from the public snacking garden bed.
As you head east along the boardwalk you will reach Kew Beach and Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens is a large park just inland that has a well-maintained baseball diamond, a basketball court, an outdoor artificial ice rink, and 10 tennis courts which belong to the Kew Gardens Tennis Club. Continuing east and you will reach Balmy Beach and Silver Birch Beach, which are the smaller beaches in the area but get quite busy in the summer months.
While the beaches are the focal point of the neighbourhood, if you venture just north of Lake Ontario, you will find Glen Stewart Park nestled between Glen Manor Drive and Beech Avenue. Glen Stewart Park is a large heavily wooded area situated around the Glen Stewart Ravine. Due to the large densely packed trees, Glen Stewart Park provides a vastly different atmosphere from the parks closer to the waterfront.
The Best Schools in The Beaches
Along with the beautiful views of the lake, another major factor drawing families to The Beaches is the excellent school system. The Toronto District School Board and the Toronto Catholic District School Board both operate several schools in The Beaches area. Malvern Collegiate Institute located just north of Kingston Road is the main secondary school in the area. Malvern received extremely high grades in the Fraser Institute’s Annual Report Card for 2020 being ranked in the top 70 of all secondary schools in Ontario out of nearly 800 different schools.
As for elementary schools, there are a lot of great options in The Beaches, but two schools stand out. Courcelette Public School and Balmy Beach Community School received strong marks from the Fraser Institute, both ranking in the top 100 elementary schools in all of Ontario out of over 3000 schools. The Beaches has several more excellent elementary schools including:
- John Catholic School
- Kew Beach Junior Public School
- Williamson Road Junior Public School
- Kimberly Junior Public School
- Avalon Children’s Montessori School
The Best Restaurants in The Beaches
The Beaches have an eclectic selection of dining options from all over the world that reflects the culturally diverse community in the area. The Garden Gate Restaurant, affectionately referred to as “The Goof” by locals, is one of the oldest restaurants in The Beaches neighbourhood, opening all the way back in 1952. The Goof is a neighbourhood staple has been serving up classic Chinese eats and American fare for nearly 70 years.
Right across the street from the Goof is Remarkable Bean, a local coffee shop that is serving up coffee, tea, and baked goods. Remarkable Bean sells its own brand of coffee and tea that is also available for shipping Canada-wide.
The go-to brunch spot in The Beaches neighbourhood is The Beacher Café on Maclean Avenue. The café has a large outdoor patio that is a perfect place to enjoy a meal with family and friends. For delicious sushi, sashimi, and tempura you can head over to Hammersmith Avenue and visit Yumei Sushi Japanese Restaurant, which has been serving The Beaches community for over twenty years. After dinner, if you have some room left for dessert, you can go to Isabella’s on Hambly Avenue and try one of their world famous mochi donuts.
Moving to The Beaches
The Beaches is one of the most unique neighbourhoods in all of Toronto. Where else can you wake up in the morning and be on the beach in a matter of minutes? With its proximity to the waterfront, excellent selection of schools, and welcoming community The Beaches has become one of the most desired neighbourhoods for singles and families alike. If you are looking for a beautiful and exciting neighbourhood on the water, make the move to The Beaches today.