The Beach neighbourhood is Toronto’s top sandy destination for a bit of sunbathing, some beach volleyball or maybe just a stroll on the boardwalk. The area features four beaches – Balmy, Scaroboro, Kew and Woodbine – which means there’s plenty of room to find a secluded spot. And, yes, despite what you may hear the water is actually safe to swim in. Cafes, yoga studios and clothing stores dot the stretch on Queen and there’s plenty of local spots to beat the heat during a summer afternoon including ice cream parlour Ed’s Real Scoop or fresh juice at the Wholesome Market.
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. 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.