Location: Queen Street East, between Coxwell Avenue and Victoria Park Avenue
Transit: Queen Station, then streetcar eastbound
The Beach, or “Beaches” as many locals call it, is a charming, laid-back neighbourhood with a relaxed small-town vibe. Just 15 minutes east of downtown Toronto, the area has two main attractions: the beach and Queen Street, with its eclectic mix of shops, sidewalk cafés, pubs and restaurants.
The inviting Lake Ontario beachfront features acres of soft sand, shady parks that are ideal for a picnic, bike and rollerblade paths and a 3-km boardwalk. All are beautifully maintained and very popular with the locals. Come people-watch while you soak up the atmosphere. Or work up a sweat along the paths or at one of the many beach volleyball courts. Cool off in the lake or at the Olympic-size swimming pool (entry is free), before taking a few minutes to stroll up to the main street along Queen Street East.
If ever a street was made for idly sauntering, it’s Queen Street in the Beaches. Reflecting the diversity and easy-going attitudes of the neigbourhood, the bustling thoroughfare is lined with quaint and quirky stores, and a cool collection of bars and restaurants. Nestled between Queen Street and the beach is Kew Gardens, a large public park which is home to the neighbourhood’s many festivals, craft shows, concerts and exhibitions, including the annual Beaches International Jazz Festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every July.
At the eastern end of the neighbourhood, you’ll find the R.C. Harris Filtration Plant – one of the best examples of Art Deco industrial architecture in Toronto.