This triangle of highly desirable homes sits on the outskirts of what was once Toronto’s cottage country. Centered between two of the city’s hottest nabes, The Beaches and Leslieville, the original combination of quaint cottagey semis and stately detacheds create a vibe that is elegantly chill. This charming haven is close enough to Queen Street for residents to hook their little red wagons to the excitement of nearby shops and restaurants, yet just far enough away to remain peaceful and secluded.
One of Toronto’s tiny neighbourhood “triangles”, the Beach Triangle sits where Queen East, Kingston Road and Woodbine Avenue intersect. Once part of Toronto’s cottage country, the neighbourhood slowly morphed into a city area. However, in its earliest days much of the land was owned by one man, a Mr. Small, stretching from Coxwell Avenue to Woodbine and from the lake to Danforth.
Small lived at King and Berkeley, but had a summer home close to the Beach Triangle where he also had a sawmill and farm. The area of the Triangle was sold off to Joseph Duggan, along Queen Street from Eastern Avenue to Woodbine in about 1870. This lot of land was the site of Duggan’s summer home and he also kept his horses here. Shortly after his purchase, Duggan rented part of his property to two businessmen who proceeded to build a racetrack. Although it wasn’t long before the two were in financial trouble, Duggan took advantage of their investment and continued the business developing what became the Woodbine Racetrack.
The track attracted thousands and became a major social event for Torontonians enjoying the racing season. This resulted in a local building boom in the area. The popularity of racing led to the establishment of the Ontario Jockey Club by local sports and business people. This group managed operation of the track which triggered further growth including The Woodbine Hotel at Coxwell and Queen. With the ongoing attraction of the races, businesses thrived providing services and accommodations for both race enthusiasts and the horses.
Toronto streetcars were the main mode of transportation for the thousands who thronged to the track. Built by the Toronto and Scarboro Electric Railroad Co. the streetcar line travelled from the intersection of Kingston and Queen, through “Norway” to East Toronto, eventually reaching Scarborough.
When Duggan passed away, his daughter and son-in-law, J.J. Dixon sold the track to the Jockey Club. Dixon was the businessman responsible for creating the Beach Triangle when he started building in the area around 1906-1907. The homes offered an opportunity for locals looking for property in this hotspot. Builders created a pocket of lovely homes conveniently located on what was still the “outskirts” of the city. This led to further business opportunities on Queen Street.
The area was designed with tree-lined streets uniquely configured within the triangle. Today the success of his plans can be seen in the beauty of streets such as Rainsford Road. You’ll see Dixon’s well-thought out pattern using a line of quaint homes with lovely front yards and little parkettes between the road and homes. These elegantly placed green areas and charming homes were methodically planned and mapped out by Dixon, who managed to create an utterly unique area to Toronto’s east end. The result is a neighbourhood where stately homes, semis and smaller detached homes intermingle in a perfectly natural way with lovely parkettes and shady, mature trees.
The Beach Triangle’s unique plan attracted formidable homeowners and businessmen from the city who were quick to establish one of the city’s first citizen’s associations. They aptly named the area the Beach Triangle. The group was founded to oppose the Main Treatment sewage processing plant and the racetrack which they believed would ruin their quiet lifestyle. Other fights included residents’ transportation rights along Queen Street and Kingston Road as well as improvements to sewers, the water supply, and local roads. While the racetrack remained for many decades, the association did have many wins that helped preserve the area as a quiet, elite neighbourhood. As a result, the Beach Triangle stands on its own as one of Toronto’s most desirable micro niches.
There’s no denying the convenience of the Beach Triangle where locals can hop the Queen Street East streetcar or ride the bus north to Woodbine subway station on the Bloor-Danforth line. It’s a short drive into the city centre, and the Don Valley Parkway can easily be reached within a few minutes as well. The green parkettes found within the triangle in hand with nearby parks such as Jeff Sloan Playground, makes it a perfect place for families and dog owners. Popular east end parks include Orchard Park, Woodbine Park and of course the beachfront area. Woodbine Park is home to several festivals throughout the year at its vibrant cultural centre. There’s no need to go much further west than Leslieville or east to The Beaches to find everything you need almost at your doorstep.
As home to one of Toronto’s oldest citizen’s associations, the Beach Triangle continues to maintain its strong sense of community. Attractive to the same group of residents as The Beaches proper, the area is home to a diverse selection of people including families, young professionals, and some retirees.
The Best Part
There’s no denying the streets of The Beach Triangle offer solitude, a sense of community and the type of prime real estate many home buyers long to get their hands on. It doesn’t hurt the area sits smack dab in the middle of Leslieville to the west and The Beaches to the east allowing locals to take in the amenities without having to live directly in the traffic and onslaught of tourists.
The Worst Part
While The Beaches is a popular tourist attraction, the truth is, in-the-know Torontonians recognize it as the uncool mom of the city’s far hipper and trendier hotspots. Because of this you might find yourself feeling a little uncool as well when you’re out and about.
The Real Estate
As mentioned, this is one of Toronto’s most well thought out neighbourhoods. The foresight of Dixon to incorporate green spaces and trees along the area’s side streets has created a statelier feel to even the smaller homes. Maintenance of these green spaces as well as pride of ownership provides plenty of curb appeal along the streets. As well, the larger homes are a rare find in the east end. These original “manors” don’t stick out like sore thumbs as some rebuilds tend to on other east end streets. Because of the unique beauty of the streets here, homes in the area tend to sell well above the $1 million mark.
There aren’t any schools located directly in The Beach Triangle.
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