The Beach is Toronto’s extraordinary neighbourhood by the water, feeling more like a small town community with its 3-km boardwalk, volleyball nets, and eclectic shops and restaurants along Queen Street. Also referred to as “The Beaches” and “Beach Village” (a name always under debate), most everyone can agree it’s a hot destination for large events like the Beaches International Jazz Festival, fireworks at Ashbridge’s Bay or simpler pleasures like a picnic or workout in the park.
Concerts at Kew Gardens, craft shows, running and cycling trails, the Beach is a great place to call home where majestic nineteenth century houses line the streets and there’s breathtaking views in your own backyard. Catch-up with neighbours at local cafes and pubs, or grab a cone at the popular and mouth-watering Ed’s Real Scoop (mmm…Burnt Marshmallow Ice Cream). Here are five hidden gems in this resort town neighbourhood.
1. Movie night in the park.
Summertime in the neighbourhood is pretty fantastic, chocked full of outdoor activities and festivals. Catch a flick under the stars every Wednesday beginning at dusk. A perfect date night or bring the kids to Kew Gardens or Ivan Forrest Gardens for a variety of family-friendly outdoor screenings.
2. The oldest movie theatre.
In the mood for a good old fashion picture? The Fox Theatre on Queen East at Beech Ave. is the longest running cinema in Canada. Opened in 1914 and originally named the “The Pastime,” the single-screen theatre was one of three cinemas in the area. It was renamed the Fox Theatre in 1937 and later renovated and restored to its original glory.
3. A doggie’s playground.
It’s a dogs playground over in the Beach with several off-leash areas and pet-centric businesses. Kew Gardens has a fenced-in park (and complimentary poop bags!) while Woodbine Beach and other smaller community parks offer similar spaces for pups to roam and owners to chat.
4. Art deco architecture.
Want to catch a glimpse of gorgeous art deco architecture from the 1940s? The R.C. Harris Water Filtration Plant at Queen and Victoria Park is a cathedral-like building reflecting significant architecture of the time period and still functions today as a water treatment plant for about 35 percent of the city’s water supply. The grounds are open to the public and rare inside tours are available. Take a peek inside.
5. Surfs up!
Yes, you can surf (and swim!) in Lake Ontario. Bringing a California vibe to the waterfront, you can learn to surf at various locations including SUPGirlz for paddle boarding, workshops and private lessons. Try it out before the…sorry…cold weather hits.
What are your hidden gems in the Beach neighbourhood? We want to know!
Photo via Beach BIA, Instagram