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, 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.
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 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.
Ed. Note: A long standing debate has ensued over the proper name for this neighbourhood. Some refer to it as The Beach, others as the Beaches. To be politically correct use The Beach, otherwise both are acceptable.
Source: Your Guide to Toronto Neighbourhoods copyright Maple Tree Publishing Inc.
On any given day during the warmer months Queen Street East in The Beach is bustling with shoppers and people taking advantage of the relaxed, down to earth atmosphere. The Beach’s main drag (Queen Street East) is lined with patios from the many cafes and restaurants. A good selection of boutiques and shops are available for the discerning shopper. The Beach is a great place to spend the day exploring its’ numerous parks and The Boardwalk. Animal lovers enjoy shops such as Bark N Fitz and Three Dog Bakery. Touch of Love doggy day spa is also located in The Beach.
There is a wide selection of restaurants in The Beach to chose from including the casual The Green Eggplant to the more upscale Amuse Bistro.