The Beach

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.

History of The Beach

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.

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Mars Beach Diner
Mars - Beaches is a moderately priced casual restaurant located by Queen St. and Woodbine Ave. in the Beaches area of East Toronto. Mars specializes in breakfast cuisine and features a patio, brunch, family dining in a casual atmosphere Mars - Beaches is also wheelchair accessible.
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Life is Sweet
Life Is Sweet is the right place for anybody with a sweet tooth, providing a menu of cupcakes, squares, scones and cookies for your pleasure. It’s also been known to host wedding receptions and corporate events.
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Delhi Bistro
Delhi Bistro is your modern-day gateway to unlock the treasured recipes of North Indian cuisine. The well-lit and airy dining room is decorated with traditional candle houses and has a friendly, inviting ambience. The chef conjures up delicacies that are reminiscent of India's royal era - rare and flavoursome recipes, succulent meaty delights, savoury and crispy appetizers, juicy kebabs right off the tandoori (clay, slow-fire, charcoal-based oven), rich, creamy curries, fragrant rice and chewy breads.
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Green Basil Restaurant
The pan-Asian eatery in the Beach has a menu of gourmet dishes from China, Thailand and Malaysia. The chefs draw from family recipes and use fresh local ingredients and traditional spices. The 60-seat restaurant has a black and white modern décor with clean white walls with floral design. Items includes red and green curries, noodle dishes like pad Thai or spicy noodles, beef, chicken, pork and seafood meals, and skewers of meat or tofu made with traditional Malaysian spices.
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Yumei Sushi
Yumei Sushi is known for its fresh, high-quality fish. The restaurant operates under the direction of executive chef Young Lee, who has been in the business since 1979. Unlike many sushi restaurants in the city, Yumei serves mostly authentic Japanese dishes – you won’t find any “sushi pizza” on their menu. Favourites include the sashimi dinner, “Chef’s Choice Special Sushi,” which changes seasonally, and the extensive Maki menu. The tempura and noodle dishes are also popular choices. Take out is available, but the dining room provides a quiet, peaceful ambiance.
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Thai House Cuisine
Thai House Cuisine, an authentic Thai restaurant, was established in 1999 by Chanya Laohmatvanich (an entrepreneur from Thailand with extensive experience in preparing Thai cuisine) and Oody Wanyam (a Thai chef). Open for lunch or dinner and see why they have developed a reputation for our warm friendly service and delicious authentic Thai food providing take-out, delivery, and catering.
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Green Eggplant Restaurant
Green Eggplant is a newer restaurant in The Beach; it’s an upscale family restaurant with good well-portioned meals and a large kids menu. They specialize in fresh fish, aged steaks, big salads, grilled sandwiches, home style cooking from scratch and home made dessert. The restaurant is fast becoming a favourite in the area, perhaps best described as Mediterranean, with dine in and take out options!
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Cinamon Indian Bistro
Set in an exquisite location in The Beach, “Cinamon Indian Bistro” provides the most authentic Indian dining experience. Decorated with a Cinnamon theme, the restaurant provides the perfect setting for a relaxing lunch or a romantic dinner. The rich and scrumptious Indian cuisine gets the best of seasons, flavours and colours, thanks to the delicate and careful mix of such spices. Chef Ali, the well-known Head, and his team make sure that you get to experience the finest and most authentic Indian cuisine enriched with all the delicate Indian flavours and fragrances right here in Toronto.
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The Burger’s Priest
The Burger’s Priest call themselves a classic American cheeseburger joint, serving up the self-proclaimed “best burger in the city.” Beef is ground in-house with a custom blend of ultra premium beef multiple times daily with always fresh, never frozen beef. Cooking their cheeseburgers on a flat top griddle not on a charcoal broiler with a belief in purity and simplicity.
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Pantry Park
A 1.4-hecatre park near Lake Shore Boulevard East and Woodbine Avenue that feature a multi-purpose sports field.
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Glen Stewart Park
A 7.8 hectare wooded ravine park near Kingston Road and Main Street that features a walking trail through the ravine.
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Ivan Forest Gardens
A small park on Queen Street east of Woodbine Avenue that features a mature tree canopy and ornamental fountains.
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Woodbine Beach
Arguably the most popular beach in city limits, Woodbine stretches for three kilometres of sand and waves. There are multiple volleyball courts, a skate park and even an Olympic swimming pool – yes, there’s a swimming pool at the beach. Expect many games of beach volleyball, Frisbee and badminton popping up along the beach, and even more fun happening in the water. Ashbridge’s Bay at Woodbine Beach is the top spot for fireworks displays on holidays like Victoria Day and Canada Day.
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Ashbridges Bay
The park is named after Sarah Ashbridge, a Quaker widow and United Empire Loyalist from Philadelphia who settled here in 1793 and obtained a Crown land grant for a farm in 1799. Ashbridge’s Bay originally extended from Cherry Street to Woodbine Avenue but lake filling for industrial uses has claimed most of the marshlands. The 35 hectares of waterfront park includes public boat launch ramps. Pedestrian and bicycle trails are located on the Martin Goodman Trail and, complementing its expansive beaches, is the Woodbine Beach boardwalk. For the sports-minded there are three slow-pitch softball diamonds and a rugby pitch at Ashbridges Bay North. There is plenty of parking and the lot accommodates larger vehicles.
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Beaches Park
This century-old beach is another popular spot, jam-packed on warm weekends with swimmers, sunbathers, dog-walkers and buskers. There’s a snack bar and concession area, but the beach is close enough to Queen St. East that lunch can be found at one of many restaurants or cafes in the area.
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Balmy Beach
Situated between Silver Birch Avenue and Kew Gardens, this beach connects to the east side of Woodbine beach, separated by an off-leash, fenced in dog-park. Along this beach you will find the boardwalk and the Martin Goodman trail; a great bike path for any age. The beach itself is soft sand with pebbles close to the shore that spread out deeper into the water. The beachfront snack bar and seasonal ice rink are in between Kew Gardens Park and the boardwalk. Further down the beach, the well-known Balmy Beach Club sits, along with its volleyball posts, at the foot of Beech Avenue.
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Kew Gardens Park
Kew Gardens is considered, by many, as the hub of the quaint Beach community in Toronto. Bordered by Queen St E to the North, Lake Ontario to the South, Waverley Rd to the West and Lee Ave to the East, Kew Gardens offers something for everyone. The park began as a private 20 acre farm owned by Joseph Williams in the 1850s, but was later transformed into a tourist destination before being purchased by the city in 1907 when it was turned into the public park you see today.  Joseph Williams' house still stands today as the Gardener's Cottage. The area in front of the gazebo is used for many events throughout the year including the Beaches International Jazz Festival and Arts & Crafts Shows in the Summer as well as Christmas tree & menorah lighting ceremonies and Family Day celebrations in the Winter.  The North East corner of Kew Gardens is also home to the Beaches Public Library. The large playground offers children of all ages a choice of swings, teeter-totters, play equipment, sand boxes, play houses and more.  There is also a splash pad staffed by City of Toronto Lifeguards. Further South, there is large open area which plays home to a community baseball diamond where you can find recreational softball leagues playing through Summer evenings.  Further South, just before the boardwalk, there is a lawn bowling club and an ice rink which doubles as a lacrosse box in the Summer and is home to the Beaches Lacrosse Club.  To the West are a group of tennis courts which have public hours, but are primarily for members. And at the foot of Kew Gardens lies the boardwalk, beach and Lake Ontario! Christmas Tree Lighting, Minora Lighting, Christmas Tree Sales raising money for the Beaches Lions Club, Beaches International Jazz Festival, Arts & Crafts Shows, etc.
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Cassels Avenue Playground
Cassels Avenue Playground is hidden gem of the Upper Beach.  Located near Woodbine & Gerrard, it is bound by Golfview Ave to the West, Brookside Dr to the East, Beachview Cres to the North and Burgess Ave to the South. The playground is a hub of the community during Summer months, with features such as an off-leash dog area, playground and splash pad. There are three entrances to Cassels Ave Playground.  The South entrance, off Burgess Ave, is the low point of the park.  This results in the most gradual and therefore easiest way to gain access with little ones.  The West entrance, off Golfview Ave, is fairly gradual, but has enough of a slope that most parents have toddlers hop out of the stroller and walk up the hill when leaving.  The North entrance is heavily sloped and features stairs.  It also doubles as a moderate toboggan hill in Winter months! The playground area features three slides, a climbing apparatus, sandbox and a teeter-totter.  The little yellow slide has a small set of stairs leading up, while the two larger slides have ladder style approaches.  The swings (2 for small kids, 2 for larger kids) are in a separate frame a few meters away. Many homes on the bordering streets feature small gates offering them direct access to the park. The lends itself to neighbours congregating in the park after work and on weekends.  It is not uncommon for unofficial fireworks shows to be organized during holidays. Definitely a cornerstone of this portion of the Upper Beach and a great feature to know about for anyone shopping for a house in the area.
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Notre Dame Catholic Secondary School
In 1941 the Congregation of Notre Dame founded Notre Dame High School to provide excellence in education for young Catholic woman. Up until recently, the Sisters of the Congregation have been teaching at the school throughout its long history. Notre Dame High School is a school community formed by Catholic beliefs and traditions. The school community believes that all students can succeed. Inspired by Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys’ vision, they educate young women to assume leadership in their families, the Church, and in the global community. The curriculum offers comprehensive programs in math, science, physical education, arts and technology that will prepare students for college, university or the work field.
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St. John Catholic Elementary School
St. John is a Roman Catholic School serving Junior Kindergarten to Grade Eight. They are a Catholic School community dedicated to providing a faith-centered school environment that will encourage students to reach their full potential academically and socially and who understand the gospel message of social justice and peace. Students bring individual abilities, needs, attitudes, interests and learning styles to the learning process and a significant number of enrichment and extra-curricular activities are offered both inside and outside school. St. John strives for a very positive school culture in which students with differing strengths and needs feel comfortable. On a daily basis, the message of the Gospel is lived out by their Christian values.
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Neil McNeil Catholic Secondary School
Neil McNeil High School, founded in 1958 by members of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost, the Spiritans, is a publicly-funded Catholic boys' school dedicated to the education of young men. Through its religious education program, chaplaincy, school liturgies and retreats, a distinct Christian dimension is evident. In other ways, Neil's programs and co-curricular activities create an environment where students can grow in faith and Christian values. These values are reflected in Neil's commitment to providing a safe and secure environment where learning can take place. Since the intention is to keep Neil a small school, they are able to know their students who are in need of special considerations and needs.
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Adam Beck Junior Public School
Adam Beck is certified by the TDSB as a GOLD EcoSchool. Being an EcoSchool requires commitment from the whole school community to implement environmental initiatives that help reduce the school’s environmental impact. Adam Beck Public School is an 80-year-old school located in the "Upper Beach" area of Toronto. The school has an enrolment of over 450 students. Adam Beck is a dual track school offering both the English stream (JK-Grade 6) and the French stream (Senior Kindergarten - Grade 6) programs. The Adam Beck Community Centre is attached to the school; this allows for shared use of space between Toronto Parks and Recreation and the Adam Beck School Community.
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Malvern Collegiate Institute
Malvern is one of Toronto’s oldest high schools serving the Beach community for over 110 years. They offer a wide range of programs in a non-semester format. Core French and Spanish, as well as an extensive Extended/Immersion French program is offered. Malvern also offers extensive extra-curricular programs in visual arts, drama, music and athletics. The school is well known for their athletic and academic achievements, with numerous championship teams and prestigious scholarship winners. Educational tours and exchanges foster community relationships, both local and abroad.
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Kimberley Junior Public School
Originally Mary Street School, Kimberley Junior Public School is situated at the corner of Main and Swanwick Streets in East Toronto. October 18th, 1997 marked the school's centennial celebration. They are a small community school that promotes caring for, and support of, all individuals in their "family". Kimberley shares its facilities with Beaches Alternative School, which has four first-floor classrooms. The present building is comprised of two floors with a gym/auditorium which is shared by both schools. They also have two portables which are used by teachers as they need extra space. Kimberley also has an expanded Gym and a new Library Resource Centre.
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St. Denis Catholic Elementary School
St. Denis Catholic School opened its doors in September 1966. The school is named after the first bishop of Paris and patron saint of France, St. Denis, who was martyred for the faith on Montmatre, the mount of the martyrs. St. Denis has earned a well deserved reputation in the community offering a balanced core program combining the teaching of the gospel values, arts, language, math, science and technology and self and society. The school is committed to strong literacy and math programs to provide students with the tools and understanding for life long learning. St. Denis continues to develop and promote initiatives to ensure a high level of success for students in literacy and numeracy which include direct instruction in phonics, grammar, spelling and reading strategies as well as reading and writing buddies and daily reading; a primary grade book bag program which promotes shared reading; the use of the arts and computer technology to enhance reading and writing skills; increased direct instruction time in math.
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Boardwalk Montessori School
The vision of Boardwalk Montessori School is of a school that provides and maintains a reputation of excellence for the education of children ages 21 months through age six. An education of excellence means for each child: that their individual needs are recognized and a programme is provided that will help each child reach his/her full potential. Developing strong work habits, developing respect for themselves, others and the greater world along with independence, confidence and nurturing a love of learning and curiosity of the world around them. Boardwalk Montessori School employs dedicated staff striving to create an environment that encourages staff loyalty and longevity in our employment. Each teacher is required to sign a yearly contract. Their teachers are expected to be Montessori trained and they employ 2 Montessori trained teachers in each Casa classroom.
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Norway Junior Public School
Norway Junior Public School is one of the oldest schools in the Toronto District School Board. As the first school to be built in the "Beach," its history can be traced back to a rural schoolhouse built in 1848. The current building was opened in April 1977. Since its earliest days, Norway has been serving the educational needs of the area which is known for its strong sense of family and community. Today the school serves students from Junior Kindergarten to Grade 6. The school's enrolment was 305 students in October 2012. Norway also has various Special Education programs and supports, including: Resource, Withdrawal, Home School Program, and Intensive Support (Communications).
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Bowmore Road Junior and Senior Public School
Bowmore Road P.S. is a large, dynamic kindergarten to grade 8 learning community of approximately 690 students and over 70 staff members. The school is located in the Upper Beaches, and it is the combination of the twinning of two former schools in 1989. Students receive bussing until grade 5, although most junior school students walk to school. Bowmore offers special education programs for students in the Gifted and the Learning Disability programs until Grade 6. The range of special programs expand for students once they reach grade 7, and the school is also a TDSB site for Extended French for grade 7 and 8 students. It is a wheelchair accessible site, and supports students with a range of mobility challenges. The range of options available to support student interests, and needs at Bowmore help to make the school a wonderful, dynamic learning environment for families!
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Kew Beach Junior Public School
Kew Beach Junior Public School (or "Kew" to Beachers) is the only school in the Beach that fronts onto Queen St E.  While the school dates back to 1889, making it one of Toronto's oldest schools, the current building has been open since 1963.  Grades ranging from JK to grade 6. Kew's grounds feature two baseball diamonds facing Queen St E and a large playground in the side yard, to the East.  Kew also benefits from Pantry Park to the South, which is a large sports field used for rugby & soccer and that features a running track. Kew Beach School ensures effective curriculum delivery in all subject areas and strives to ensure that strategies are in place so that all students are successful. They focus on strengthening reading, writing and math skills through the use of effective questioning techniques that encourage higher level thinking.  Kew School uses information technology to enhance teaching, learning and communication skills. Focusing on Character Development, they encourage students to set high standards for behaviour and to make decisions that are empowering so that they have the knowledge, skills and values they need to become responsible citizens.
Balmy Beach Community School
Balmy Beach is a community school in the Beach area, just minutes from Lake Ontario. The original school on this site, Pine Avenue School, was built in 1906. The school had 4 rooms on 2 floors and opened with 3 teachers and a principal in 1907. Over the years, many additions were built, the new building was completed in September 1975. Balmy Beach serves just under 400 students in a JK to 6 setting. The majority of the students are from English as first language homes. They presently have JK/SK and classes from Grade 1 to Grade 6. The school houses a Day Care and Community Centre. The school shares several rooms including the gym with the Parks and Recreation Community Centre.
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Williamson Road Junior Public School
Williamson Road Public School is in the Beaches area of Toronto. The building dates from 1913, with the third floor open in 1919. From 1961 to 1965, Williamson Road was a Junior/Senior school (JK - Gr. 8), but since the opening of Glen Ames Senior School in 1965, Williamson Road has been a Junior School (JK-Gr.6). The school's enrolment is approximately 520 students and offers both English and early French Immersion program as well as special education support through MART teacher and a Home School Program. The building houses a school-age Day Care and shares gym and pool facilities, parking lot and caretaking staff with Glen Ames Senior School and the Beaches Recreation Centre.
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Beaches Recreation Centre
In the heart of the Beach community sits the Beaches Recreation Centre. The brick-layered building boasts a large amount of programs appropriate for children, youth and adults alike. With its fitness centre, swimming facility, gymnasium and multi-purpose rooms, one can take part in many offerings. The recreation centre also offers standard first aid courses as well as a recertification first aid course.
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Alliance Cinemas
The Beach Alliance Atlantis movie theatre is at Queen St. and Coxwell. It was built in 1994 on the site of the former Greenwood Racetrack. Unlike some of the other big theatres the beaches cinema is almost never busy it’s a great place to go see things opening weekend when it's sold out in other places. They also have a great patio out front so you can arrive early and have a coffee with friends on a nice day. They also feature cheap movie ticket nights.
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Martin Goodman Trail
Running along Toronto’s waterfront, the 36-kilometre Martin Goodman Trail traverses a multitude of highly-developed environments. Its western end starts just west of the Humber River at the Palace Pier condominium complex.
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Balmy Beach Club
The Balmy Beach Club, a non-profit organization has served Toronto, the Beach community and its amateur athlete members for 100 years. The Club land was deeded to the residents of the Beach by Sir Adam Wilson and the Balmy Beach Club was incorporated in 1903. Construction of the Club House was soon underway and it opened for its members in 1905. Although the Balmy Beach Club was primarily made up of two sections, lawn bowling and paddling, the scope of its activities has varied somewhat over the years. From these two sections, three officers were appointed forming the Board of Directors of the Balmy Beach Club. Lawn bowling remained just that, but the canoe club took under its jurisdiction the operations of the rugby club, the hockey club, the squash club, and other sports such as football, harriers, volleyball, basketball, deck tennis, surf boarding, tennis and anything that the members wanted to take part in.
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Balmy Beach Canoe Club
The Balmy Beach Club, a non-profit organization, has served Toronto, the Beach community and its amateur athlete members for 100 years. It is dedicated to promoting the sport of sprint canoe and kayak racing in the Beach community. The Club’s goal is to provide a safe and enjoyable, recreational and/or competitive environment, for members of all ages and abilities. Programs are designed to develop both the physical and mental strength of individual members while encouraging team and Club spirit.

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