The Beaches is known for its old-time charm, hippy style ease and laid-back atmosphere. Its small-town vintage vibe invites you to take a walk on the boardwalk, soak up the sun or saunter amongst its eclectic stores and array of bars and restaurants. Its seaside feel has not given way to the tacky touristy shops one finds in other “coastal” towns. Instead the Beaches maintains a sense of quirky elegance and sophistication making it the place to live for the high-income families that call it home.
Located in the east-central district of downtown spanning from Coxwell to Victoria Park, The Beaches was once known as the Old City of Toronto. With its colourful history, it’s been a destination for families seeking summer time amusements and activities since the late 1700’s. Although this bustling district used to be heavily wooded well into the 1900s, those who owned the land and homes scattered throughout the area often opened their own “amusement” areas to the public.
By the late 1870’s much of the waterfront was owned by Adam Wilson. He set aside land to create Balmy Beach for use as a recreational area for residents. This led to further expansion of park land including the still popular Kew Beach and Victoria Park.
With the extension of the streetcar and boat services, Balmy Beach became the summer play area for Torontonians looking to cool down in the summer. By 1902, controversy over how to handle the waterfront land led to a successful petition to declare the stretch of land as a recreational area to be preserved in 1903. This in turn led to the formation of The Balmy Beach Park Commission which demolished squatter buildings that had popped up throughout the area while providing upgrades to protect the area.
Improvements to the park, which officially opened in June of 1904, were organized by a boat club formed in 1903 which ended up running the park jointly with the commission. The Balmy Beach Canoe Club still exists today, and part of their legacy includes making the area a year-round destination introducing activities including skating, curling and hockey to enjoy in the winter months.
By 1932 the area featured the newly extended boardwalk, and tiny boutiques and coffee shops started to pop up. Today locals call it “Beach Village” or “The Beach” despite the fact there are four beaches spanning the area: Woodbine Beach, Cherry Beach, Bluffer’s Beach, and Kew-Balmy Beach.
The Beaches is located just 15 minutes east of downtown running from Coxwell East to Victoria Park. Streetcars run along Queen Street East adding to that historical feel even with the updated cars!
Deeper into the neighbourhoods, buses snake their way along the streets adding to the convenience of public transit options to get around town. Kew Gardens is minutes away from the boardwalk where you can find festivals, craft shows and the annual International Jazz Festival which attracts thousands of people every summer. And let’s not forget Woofstock to appeal to the many dog lovers in the area!
Whether you enjoy people watching, outdoor concerts, playing volleyball on the sand or rollerblading on the boardwalk, the inviting Lake Ontario beachfront has many attractions for everyone! Stay tuned for upcoming events at The Beaches
As a local you’ll get to know the local shops and shop owners, adding to the small-town feel. Everything you need is within walking distance including quirky shops, restaurants, bars, coffee shops and live outdoor concerts.
The Beaches real estate is in a very sought-after area and has a very active real estate market. There’s a changing of the guards as younger families buy up the homes of those who have lived in the beaches all their lives. Young professionals and higher income earners make up the majority of the home owners who are drawn to the charm and laid-back atmosphere of life near the beach while still enjoying the convenience of living in the city.
The Best Part
The sense of history spotted not only in the homes on its shady side streets, but also in iconic buildings such as Kew Beach Fire Hall and the Fox Theatre help maintain the authentic feel to this part of the city. The fact that it’s located on the shore of Lake Ontario makes this the place to enjoy outdoor living with year-round attractions to suit everyone’s needs.
The Worst Part
Every wonderful reason you’ve chosen to live in The Beaches is the same reason half of Toronto, tourists and their dogs will choose to visit your neighbourhood – frequently and en masse. You’ll have to share the streets, shops, parking, TTC and services with all these people, especially in the summer months.
The Real Estate
You can still find Vintage style cottages, Edwardian style homes, row houses, low rise and modern style homes lining the streets which add to the charm and authenticism of The Beaches’ real estate. The shady, mature trees in hand with well-manicured lawns add to the draw of the hood. No cookie cutter homes here. Instead there’s something for everyone from those looking for a larger home to bring up their growing families, to couples who want to live in a charming downsized space to help save the environment.
Despite the addition of some, (but not too many) condo offerings, the commitment to maintain the house dense neighbourhood is still guaranteed. However, because of its popularity and higher quality of living, the area tends to see fewer listings popping up which means most if not all listings are met with aggressive bidding wars so expect to pay more for your tiny slice of heaven.
High performance ratings for most of the schools in The Beaches are yet one more reason this is a high demand area for professionals with kids. There’s plenty of schools and a strong sense of community with parent participation contributing to the success of the schools in the area including:
Kew Beach Junior Public School
101 Kippendavie Ave
JK to Grade 6
St. John Catholic School
780 Kingston Road
Kindergarten to Grade 8
Balmy Beach Community School
14 Pine Ave
JK to Grade 6
Glen Ames Senior Public School
18 Williamson Road
Grades 7 and 8
Are you thinking about calling The Beaches your new home?
Contact us today, and we can get started on finding you a home in this one-of-a-kind Toronto neighbourhood